This birch wood tea trolley was designed by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto all the way back in 1936. It debuted at the at the Paris World’s Fair in 1937. Aalto designed this cart for residential use. He placed it in the living room of the Villa Mairea (1937-1939). It is based on an earlier serving cart designed for the Paimio tuberculosis sanatorium in Paimio, Finland Proper (1933), for which he first developed the closed-loop laminated birch frame. The large white wheels have black rubber treads and the trolly top is available in ceramic tile, black linoleum or white laminate.
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Stein van Rossem’s London Tower Apartment in Antwerp is a deliberate and beautiful fusion of contrast. Comprised of rarely specified dark-coloured fixtures with a white-based palette, this apartment is sharp. The materiality and clean lines of the form work create clearly defined surfaces, spatial arrangements and flanking architectural moments. Brussels-based and with a completed portfolio of works throughout Europe, the Stein van Rossem studio is one of a consistent and strong minimalist authority. Although their work displays an obvious controlled restraint, there exists a delicateness to the connections and junctions between materials. There exists an almost obsessive thoughtfulness, which is by no means unappreciated. This London Tower Apartment is a beautiful muse for minimalism and pragmatism combining.
In his 2014 Resort womenswear collection, London-based fashion designer J.W. Anderson takes an interesting step away from the classic styles that propelled him to debut at London’s Fashion Week only at 27. Because of his interest in stage costume, this is the first collection of J.W. Anderson which I have noticed, that exudes more character in the typical details. The usual silhouette of the collars, waistlines and sleeves are distorted, twisting and cutting away while their proportions are slightly emphasized to allow the fluidity of these gestures in the details. Though his designs seem somewhat conservative when one thinks of stage costume, I love this collection because with the minimal use of color and more controlled manipulation of where the fabric folds or stops. Compared to his previous collections, this feels like a more mature, well thought-out execution on the whole.
The San Paolo Parish by Fuksas Architetto, completed in 2009, is a carefully articulated play with volumes. In concept, the main space is a box suspended within a box. It’s a play of intersecting regulated shapes, strategically placed, with emphasis on the void. The relief between volumes is therefore where the natural light enters the structure, allowing for shards of light to move through the spaces over time. Light enters both horizontally and vertically through the space. Emphasising the play with nature and built elements. Located in Foligno, Italy, the San Paolo Parish was initially conceived for a competition, which was won in 2001. The jury cited that the design was a sign of innovation that met the latest international research, becoming a symbol of rebirth for the city after the earthquake. Also therefore capturing the essence of what the spiritual and meditative space is intended to embody. This project features the use of pure geometries and natural day-lighting that create a spiritual connection with the heaven. Comprised predominantly of concrete, glass and metal, the series of regulated shapes that comprise the San Paolo Parish complex is beautiful. The lines are consistent, beautifully executed and each element is carefully curated....
Japanese company Muji has recently unveiled MJBTS-1, a new wall-mounted Bluetooth speaker. This good-looking piece is a redesign of the classic CD-player by Naoto Fukusawa. While adhering to the same minimalist aesthetic as the original, the new product is much more timely, as far as technology is concerned. It can be controlled by any Bluetooth-enabled device, like smartphone or a tablet, as well as a traditional remote. A built-in FM radio is another technological perk of the piece. Designers purposely kept the shape of the MJBTS-1 similar to its predecessor, which took its inspiration from a humble kitchen fan. Perhaps not as metaphoric as the original design with its rotating CD, the unit still hints on that same idea. And just like Fukusawa’s classic it can be turned on and off by pulling the cord.
Belgian interior architect Luc Ramael, who’s no frills design work of furniture and lighting objects spans over thirty years. He designed this wonderful Biluna floor lamp in 2008 for Italian interior lighting brand, Prandina. The lamp, which has been produced in three versions – F5, F7 and F9 – all of varying sizes, comprises painted polypropylene outer diffuser, opal white thermoformed methacrylate inner diffuser, electronic ballast, and a transparent methacrylate support ring. The smooth, simple form, appearing almost as if it were hovering above the floor, along with the size options to accommodate different spaces, makes Ramael’s design an incredibly attractive interior feature. Biluna is available in matt sand, matt or glossy white and matt or glossy black. It is also available with a foot controlled power cord dimmer. Stunning.
Danish design office, Kollision, who specialise in interaction design, recently introduced me to their truly remarkable kinetic media sculpture, Spine. Spine is an interactive installation based on twenty glowing cubes and an atmospheric sound composition. Each cube is moved precisely in fluid motions by two computer-controlled motors. The movements of the cubes as well as the sound composition react to nearby visitors by working together as one coherent expression in dialogue with the surroundings – a fifty meter long spine floating in space continually displaying new movements, light scenes and sounds. Spine was displayed between November 15th and December 15th 2012 at Godsbanen in Aarhus, Denmark, during the Media Architecture Biennale 2012. Did any of you see this in person? What I find particularly striking about Spine, beyond the basic geometric shapes, is the different atmospheres it can create for passers by. I only wish I was one of them. To better appreciate this installation, please watch the video to see the lighting and sound effects in action.
Designed by Industrial designer Matthew Pauk, the Tripot has ultimately improved a few experiences that one might have with regular teapots. One, it has 2 rounded legs closer to the spout and 1 leg at the back towards the handle, enabling it to be supported while you grip its ergonomically-designed handle and pour without having to lift the heavy pot. Two, the space between the 3 legs allows for a small tea-warming candle to sit right under it so you can have warm tea without having to plug the Tripot in anywhere. Three, the spout has been developed to pour the maximum amount of liquid in a controlled efficiency so that could mean either that you will be enjoying your beverage sooner or that there will have no backsplash while you pour. Or both. The curves and shape of the Tripot are especially pleasing and the images of its production process are beautifully presented. What I find most appealing about this product is that its overall minimalistic appearance was not only designed with all these improvements in mind, but also that the designer approaches it with a sense of humor, describing it as a animalistic design language which gives Tripot its character,...
The most important thing is the nature of the item, its essence. This is the way Jean Nouvel describes his project Flying Surface, because he thinks of this piece more as luminous object rather than a luminaire, looking for the essence of light. Flying Surface has been developed for the illumination company, Troll in 2006, and it is essentially made with a stretched fabric and produces a floating-like surface when its inside light is switched on. I think that this is perhaps the most minimalist lighting design that can be made. What can be more simple than a surface of light without anything else?
One of Apple’s finest minds Tony Fadell is the force behind Nest, a new thermostat manufacturer. The device is a sleeker and smarter alternative to a traditional wall eyesore most people are used to. Nest learns your heating and cooling preferences and adjusts accordingly. It is also wi-fi enabled and can be controlled directly from your computer or smartphone. Technology should be about more than newest, loudest, prettiest. It should make a difference. We take what’s familiar and look at it in a new light. Our team focuses on making technology that’s simple, fresh and helpful. This ability to adapt is also reflected in the design of the device. A true chameleon, Nest blends into any wall and reflects any colour. Apple influences are strong in the shape of the piece. And it seems that Steve Jobs’ war on buttons has gained a new mighty little soldier… Watch the video to see Nest in action.
Italian product designer Emanuele Cecini has recently completed the concept design of the Wi-Fi stereo and docking station, Woozik. The system consists of a stereo, a remote control and two small speakers, supported by a plywood outer casing with a natural ash finish, which also acts as a stand. Compatible with the Apple iPhone, iPod, and iPad, Woozik can also be used via Wi-Fi or bluetooth connection through one’s computer. Primarily thought for home use, the system can be controlled with the remote, but also through the buttons on the stereo itself. The design of Woozik has a beautiful simplicity to it. There is an Apple-style resemblance, yet it manages to achieve its own identity. Although I can’t vouch for the sound quality, Woozik certainly looks an impressive concept.
Elica is a table lamp designed by Brian Sironi, for the Italian manufacturer Martinelli Luce, and received one of last year’s iF product design Gold Award. Elica is composed of a metal body and an aluminium arm that are white painted. There are no switches because the lighting is controlled by the arm rotation, so the result is a very simple and smart design. It uses LED light sources and is available in two sizes.