Minimalissimo


Carl MH Barenbrug

Back to purity, back to simplicity.

The KEEKO Watch is an everyday basic wristwatch with interchangeable bands designed by Elmar van Zyl in Melbourne, Australia. KEEKO aim to produce quality, timeless and minimal designs with a strong focus on traditional objects which have stood the test of time. We spoke to Elmar about the brand and his beautifully basic wirstwatch: Designed as the very essence of the watch; stock standard, brutally simple — void of all complication. I wanted to create a meaningful object which would never date, a timeless piece of design which could be passed down for generations. I think when we’re faced with instability and uncertainty we find comfort in the objects which form the core of our identity, a classic example being the wristwatch. The KEEKO Watch is available in three variants: brushed steel, black & white, and double black, along with six different coloured wristbands. The watch feels significant and solid, the body is precision machined stainless steel, topped off with a chamfered sapphire crystal lens. With such an impressive introductory design, I am excited to see how the KEEKO brand evolves. Outstanding work.


Arnhem based Dutch designer Jet de Bruijn creates beautiful interior products with clean lines manufactured from pure materials, under the label jet. Her latest design is the minimal, modular and elegant lamp, Tammel, comprised of a slim stainless steel frame and oak/walnut socket. The Tammel lighting range is a reference to her childhood — Tammel being the name of the farm where she grew up. This is where her predilection for craftsmanship and the application of wood and steel originates. The lamp, which can can used as a table or wall lamp, is available in a variety cable colours, including white, red, yellow, and black. An incredibly simple concept, but beautifully executed. Photography courtesy of Joyce Croonen.


Born in Eindhoven, Dutch abstract painter Arjan Janssen is the creator of incredibly striking, minimal canvases. With a background in art and philosophy, Janssen’s abstract work, with reduced elements, is always vertically oriented, keeping it grounded. He writes: I try to achieve this by the way I work with the material. You can see and feel the working process in the lines and in the paint. In the composition there are always elements which pull the work downwards. His arrangements, often muted and dark, alongside the balanced geometric elements placed upon the canvas, gives the viewer a sense of mystery. My art moves between being withdrawn into myself and being outwardly directed. A tension that requires a delicate balance. Beautiful work.


Kai — @wk.ai — is a Malaysian born architectural intern, currently working in Tokyo, Japan. Today we speak to Kai and gain an insight into his wonderfully captured Instagram collection, which primarily focuses on minimalism in architecture. What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? My collection is about decontextualising architecture and challenges the boundary between buildings and abstraction. Architecture become axiomatic objects in my photos, which turn our attention from judging the structural quality to the appreciation of atmosphere and pure feelings. To me the album is also a dictionary of architectural language that awaits new and broader implementation. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? I spend most of my weekends hunting for architecture and visiting art galleries in Tokyo. It is a very admirable and inspiring city as it is so recognisable and successful in interpreting modern culture with their own dialect, which many cities are still in search of. But my stay in Tokyo triggers my aspiration, as an urbanite, for tranquility; that is why my photos tends to be isolated from its context. When and how do you decide to take a photo? I’ve been travelling around Europe. Taking photographs is a way of...


I was recently introduced to Taiwan based design studio, Chi and Chi. The studio has a strong minimalist aesthetic, designing everyday objects with content and purpose, and with simple functions in their essential forms. A standout design? This striking Polygon watch. The Polygon watch is a modern and unique timepiece with special geometric features in shape. The elements on the watch are designed with simple geometrical forms consistently and unlike the usual round contours of regular watches. The 24-cut case and dial present the time in a distinctive aesthetic way, which enriches the sense of touch as well as the sense of sight. Featuring a 316L stainless steel case housing a precise Japanese movement and a durable genuine calf-leather strap, the Polygon timepiece is a unisex watch available in three colour combinations — silver/grey, gold/black, and gold/brown. I particularly like the grey. Absolutely beautiful.


Sophia Molen — @sophiamolen — is a Dutch fashion blogger originally from Amsterdam. Having previously studied in Bio-Medical Sciences, Sophia now runs a number of successful blogs including Blog and The City and Minimal Blogs. With a strong focus on minimalist fashion, we take a closer look at Sophia’s beautifully captured Instagram, selecting some of our favourite photographs, and discovering how she has come to create such a striking and stylish collection. What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? The philosophy of Taoism is a great inspiration to keep things simple. I find harmony and peace in minimalism. And you know what? I do even find spontaneity in simplicity. I guess because of the truth lying in harmony. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? To be honest, being surrounded by people tends to decrease my creativity. Being surrounded by things associated with my dreams, positively influences my creativity. Yet something as simple as light, might have a magnificent effect on me as well. When and how do you decide to take a photo? I don’t really randomly take photographs. Mostly trying to be in the moment, I often don’t even consider capturing it. However, during planned photoshoots for my blog, I’m searching...


Berlin based store, SIMON&ME, has an approach to design that strips away superfluous embellishments, emphasising the very core of a product and unveiling their minimalist signature. Their latest product is an expansion of the beautifully simple, copper bracelet, this week announcing the design of a sleek silver version. This quality, hand-crafted bracelet is designed and developed from scratch in Berlin and is the perfect minimalist accessory I’ve been looking for. The silver bracelet is also nicely wrapped in white paper, presented in carefully embossed SIMON&ME packaging, and will be rolled out early next year to stockists. Simple and striking jewellery — the ideal gift. Photography courtesy of SIMON&ME.


Dutchman Cees Braakman was head of the Pastoe design team from 1945 to 1978 and was responsible for the development of the first modern furniture line. It was in 1958 that Braakman designed a chair that was to be entirely fabricated from steel wire — the SM05. One of the first of its kind. The classic, minimalistic design of the SM05 is accompanied by the KM stool series, all of which have been adapted to fit current sensibilities and brought back into production. Its wire design gives the KM & SM05 a spatial effect and the cushion and the shape of the backrest ensure a comfortable sitting experience. The KM stool, with its aesthetic and timeless design, is available in three heights: table (45cm), kitchen (63 cm) and bar (70cm). A quite incredible collection that deserves to be continually celebrated.


London based illustrator and designer, Thomas Danthony recently collaborated with Black Dragon press to create a beautifully minimalist series focused on Brutalism architecture in London. Inspired by their concrete beauty, Danthony has illustrated three of London’s most iconic buildings in all their Brutalist glory for a series of limited edition prints. The release consists of three six-colour A2 hand-pulled screenprints depicting the Royal College of Physicians, the National Theatre, and Trellick Tower, as well as an A4 concertina booklet featuring commentary from architect, critic and “Fuck Yeah Brutalism” curator, Michael Abrahamson. The series is available for purchase together or individually. Danthony successfully captures the essence of each of these Brutalist builds, beautifully highlighting their use of concrete.


Oscar Diaz is a London based design studio working in the field of product design. Plain and playful, their designs take inspiration from everyday objects, which by a simple twist become something unexpected and beautiful. Oscar Diaz did exactly this with the Loop bottle opener, designed for American brand, FIELD. Loop is a bottle opener comprised of stainless steel designed as a tool and simplified to its essence, finished in a satin electropolish, and will open bottles for as long as you’re drinking them. A minimal, but perfectly functional and robust bottle opener with a timeless design. Photography courtesy of FIELD.


We love our minimalistic storage solutions and when Thing Industries, a newly established creative studio, recently introduced the Indoor Stoop, it became a must-feature. Indoor Stoop is a high-functioning stoop for seating and storage. Featuring three soft-close drawers with peg board surfaces, the design works well in bedroom or living room corners for storage of clothes, books, or other household accessories. It could even be used as an extra seat or step-ladder. I like that. Measuring 19 inches wide x 24 inches high and 24 inches deep, the Indoor Stoop is not only a well designed, highly functional piece of furniture, it has a striking and sleek aesthetic.


Berlin based interior design studio Applied Object, founded by Dirk Rittberger in 2012, is dedicated to promoting furniture and objects conceived and created by various designers. With an eye on innovative and lightweight materials Applied Object aim to make furniture suited to mobile lifestyles known to blur the boundaries between home and work. Such furniture is the long board and short board wall shelves, which boast a beautifully minimalistic, functional and timeless design, suitable for almost every apartment, studio or house. This elegant wall shelf, made from a single folded sheet of aluminium composite, has been designed to hold books and CDs as well as crockery. Measuring 188 x 7 x 24cm and 94 x 7 x 24cm, the shelves are available to order through Berlin based store LOCAL. Photography courtesy of Simon Freund.