Danish electronics giant Bang & Olufsen need little introduction. Consistently producing timeless design with high quality materials, B&O have recently released these incredibly beautiful BeoPlay H6 headphones. A pair I have been fortunate enough to test hours on end over the past week. Firstly, the design of the BeoPlay H6 is hugely impressive, striking the right balance of classic and modern design influences, resulting in a simple, elegant, and extremely comfortable pair of headphones. The design itself was conceived by Jakob Wagner, and with a choice of black or natural leather, it is a perfect match for the style-conscious consumer who refuses to compromise quality in sound, design or craftsmanship. The natural, stitched cow leather cover and soft lambskin ear pads, which I am currently using, should age gracefully with use. My favourite design features however, (aside from being the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn) are the detachable audio cable and the ports in both speakers. This not only allows you to decide which side to insert the cable, it also allows you to share your audio with others. For such high-end headphones, there is high expectations for the BeoPlay H6 when it comes to sound quality. Perhaps...
Carl MH Barenbrug
Back to purity, back to simplicity.
Swedish label Tangent Garment Care stands for cleanliness with a conscience. Organic, biologically degradable, free of synthetic additives, deep cleaning and mild, their products treat your clothes (even the most sensitive natural fabrics such as silk and wool) with the attention and care that they deserve. Aside being great products, the branding is something rather special too. Simple, pure design by Swedish independent brand agency, Essen International. Tangent GC’s branding was developed by Essen’s Creative Director, Carl Johan Näs, who has also designed their new plastic series, which is due for release in October of this year. From the clean, descriptive labelling, to the beautiful, fitting typography, every one of Tangent GC’s products impress.
I was recently introduced to the small, independent bicycle company, tokyobike, founded in the quiet Tokyo suburb of Yanaka. The name was derived from the design of the bikes. Much like how the mountain bike was designed for the mountains, the tokyobike was designed for Tokyo. Based on the concept of ‘Tokyo Slow’ the bikes are designed to be light to ride with an emphasis on comfort over speed. The bike is simply a way to enjoy your city, as much about the journey as the destination. There are four types available in the tokyobike range; CS, Bisou, Single Speed, and Sport – all of which have a stunning minimal design in a wide variety of colours. From the simple Cro-Mo Steel frames, to the comfortable seats and handlebars, this is everything I want in a city bike. I am particularly tempted by the black SS and the all black Sport. There are international stores in London, Berlin, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney.
Recently I have been on a search for a beautiful new minimal backpack to serve my everyday needs, but at a reasonable price. A search that is not as easy as you may think. Of course, I have come across many bag designs over the years, many of which however, have been discontinued. Just yesterday, I discovered Derbyshire based accessories brand, C6. Their range of accessories includes this beautiful and protective minimal backpack, ideal for laptops and various tablets. Available in two sizes; Large (37cm x 50cm x 25cm) and Small (32cm x 45cm x 25cm), the backpack is also available in two colours; Black and Olive. The large black version is particularly appealing and currently tops my wish-list. Further backpack suggestions are always welcome.
Math done simply. Designed in the Swiss style, Sumhold is a calculator that instantly calculates and stores numbers with a fiercely reductive interface and simple swipe gesture. This is the result of a beautifully developed iPhone app by Chad Voss, an independent interaction designer from Seattle. Sumhold, featuring an attractive minimalist design, makes complex calculations and number storage simple. Sumhold is made for those everyday calculations (e.g. groceries and budgets) when you need to do simple arithmetic while keeping track of previous calculations and results. Unlike most basic calculators, Sumhold keeps a running tally of your current calculation at the top and, when calculations become complex, automatically inserts parentheses to keep everything clearly readable. There is no need for an “=” button because it calculates as you type. When a calculation is complete and you need to store the result for later, you simply drag it down toward the keypad into Sumhold’s scratch-line to make a temporary button. Having downloaded this app myself, I must say that it is a joy to use. Incredibly simple both in aesthetic and function. Currently available on the iTunes store.
South Korea based industrial designer Kim Seongjin, a recent graduate from Hongik University, has designed a digital camera that pays homage to Dieter Rams. Rams’s work in the 1950′s and 60′s for German consumer products giant, Braun, has proved to be hugely inspirational over the years and so Seongjin has designed this simple, minimal, and incredibly beautiful digital camera concept. One that I would love to see produced. As a designer, understanding the design DNA of a particular company is important, and as a tribute to Braun, I wanted to create a new generation product with Braun’s design DNA of the 1950′s. If you are not familiar with the work of Dieter Rams during his time at Braun, there is a fantastic purchasable collection over at das programm.
Cake is a cutting edge New York City studio pushing the boundaries of apparel and objects. This is certainly the case for Cake’s rather unconventional Anti Vase. Beautifully designed, it comprises solid steel, measures only 3 x 5 inches and is unlike anything ever seen as it questions not only the purpose of a vase but the perception of death. Typically vases hold water to prolong the death of a cut flower, however the Anti Vase accepts the flower’s death and celebrates its beauty. It is an interesting concept, which I am sure you will either really appreciate or not at all. I think the contrast of the black and angular vase against the rose in particular makes for a very powerful composition.
Based in Canberra, Australia, Brian Corr is a sculptor and artist who’s pure and aesthetically simple works I would like to highlight today. Working primarily with glass and the elements of light and shadow, volume and void, he creates architectonic sculpture and large-scale installations, which serve as reflections and interpretations of his own experience. Corr writes: My hope is that these works provide an opportunity for contemplation or meditation; a moment of heightened awareness of the nature and wonder of ourselves and the world in which we exist. It is Brian Corr’s Constructions and Architectural Installation works that have impressed me most, with their simple forms and manipulation of light and shadow. Wonderful. Images by Rob Little.
Minimalist Japanese design has been celebrated on a number of occasions on Minimalissimo, and today I am delighted to share with you product designer Kana Nakanishi‘s wonderful W1200xD380xH480 Finnish birch wood bench. Named simply after its dimensions, the seat’s U-shaped back rest doubles as its legs, sitting diagonally through the base. The design is minimal, but the strong contrast of the structure also gives the impression of a sculpture. It can also function as a small partition in a room and public space because of the large backboard. Without compromising the basic functionality of a bench, Nakanishi has produced a beautifully simple piece of furniture. Although the name may not be particularly catchy, I love this design.
Sara Mellone is an Art and Design graduate at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf. Her graduation project, presented in February 2013, is an award winning furniture series called The Simple Things. The project comprises pieces of furniture, including a strong, but lightweight bench and two stools made from 2.5 mm sheets of aluminium that have each been folded four times. The simple shape of the double fold creates enough strength to build a bench that is three times longer then the stool. The white powder-coated version of the folded stool is very durable, therefore it is well protected from fingerprints and scratches. It is reminiscent of simple folded paper and this demonstrates where the inspiration came from. The pieces do not require any assembly and there are no off-cuts. Sara’s approach to design focuses on the simplicity and longevity of the product, by using materials that work in harmony with the design. Though all her products are minimalistic, she always keeps the poetic character of a piece, maintaining the sense of narrative and expression. This is a very impressive graduation project and I really enjoy the powder-coated stool, particularly. I will certainly be keeping an eye on Sara Mellone’s...
I was recently introduced to the Melbourne based wristwatch shop of Stock, and what a beautiful collection I found. The simple designs derive from years of collecting watches and finding the right balance of function, size and precision Swiss movements. Stock has been developed through an iterative process of intense prototyping and field testing in-house. The result is the S001 Stock Watch series, a reliable daily wearer. Each watch case is precision machined to its slim profile and then hand finished. This makes the bezel extremely thin allowing the dial to be the focal point. Combined with the Italian leather strap and custom designed slim buckle, the S001 Stock watch has been engineered for comfort. Currently, there are three S001 colour variants, all of which are equally attractive in their simplicity.
I have recently been admiring the work of Italian industrial designer Marco Guazzini, who has made it his life’s work to create a selection of designs that provoke an uplifting mood through a simplistic approach. Originally from the beautiful city of Florence, Guazzini now lives and works in Milan developing a hugely impressive portfolio of furniture, lighting and household accessories. One particular design caught my eye, however. That is Yo. A beautifully simple magazine rack made completely of lime stone. A sculptural object which appears as a “Y” letter with a hole in the centre. The magazines find their place between the two side wings, sitting at 90 degree angles, and rolled up into the hole, which provides a physical and visual lightness to the piece. The name “Yo” is derived from its iconic shape, and takes inspiration from the typical verbal expression. Produced by Italian stone manufacturer Pimar, Yo is a design I particularly enjoy because of the contrast of function and sculptural elements, which in fact can be found in many of Guazzini’s works.