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.
Carl MH Barenbrug
Back to purity, back to simplicity.
French artist Nathalie Dérouet lives and works in Douarnenez, north-western France. From her ceramics workshop, she creates a range of exceptional porcelain pieces, including unique bowls, vases, pots and various containers, all of which embrace open space. Highlighting a few favourites from Dérouet’s many ceramic creations, it’s clear the inspiration behind these pieces are taken from Chinese and Japanese ceramics, countries where refinement and sophistication are present in many everyday objects, reflecting tradition and modernity. It’s the purity and simplicity of these extremely thin designs that appeal to me most. The smooth surfaces and uniqueness of each piece makes for certain wish-listing.
Polish product designer Jan Kochański, based in Warsaw, has created this beautiful, minimalist and chic collection of outdoor rocking benches called Swing, each piece comprising bent steel and metal sheets. Designed for the Polish furniture brand, Delivié, the Swing collection’s inspiration derives from childhood activities. There is something special in rocking and swinging that gives us the feeling of calmness and joy. A rocking bench allows you to recall that feeling and simply enjoy the time, whether that be alone or as a couple. Aside from this, these benches are incredibly attractive. The slim curved frames and smooth glossy seats are likely to provide an elegance to your outdoor space. And as far as a benches go, they appear quite comfortable too.
I recently discovered the wonderful collection of lighting designs from Milan based, Omikron Design. The Italian company has a primary objective to produce objects that enhance the illuminated spaces through light and outstanding design. Well, today I would like to introduce you to a particular lighting structure that does just that – Duo. The wall mounted Duo increases the functional characteristics of the cube. The structure is limited to the pure essence, enclosing the light sources and electronics with basic architectural geometry. Comprised of aluminium, Duo has a matt finish and is available in a variety of colours including black, white, silver and bronze. Understated elegance.
New York based industrial designer and artist William Lee recently presented his latest offering at NY Design Week. This is Switch, a limited edition, minimalist lamp that engages interaction through its own function. The desk/bedside lamp draws inspiration from two places; a typical on/off switch on the wall, coupled with Lee’s interest for art direction, visual balance, and structure. Stripped down to its bare essentials, Switch is made entirely of an acrylic construction with 60 LEDs hidden underneath. Lee explains: In off mode, it faces down in an unassuming flat position. When toggled on, Switch brings an illuminating surprise and takes on another shape by its new orientation. The weighted base grounds the form, leaving a minimal cantilever in its architectural essence. What’s unique about Switch is its rechargeable power and detachable cable. In an age of digital technology where everyday objects communicate or work seamlessly, a portable lamp was appropriate where it can be placed virtually anywhere that light is needed in or outdoors, untethered and free. It’s a combination of Switch’s mobility and exquisite style that impresses so much. I have no doubt that this will be in high demand. Beautiful work.
Last month we featured the talented Bern-based Studio Zimoun and their wonderful sound sculptures. The studio’s latest offering is no exception. Introducing thier first permanent installation, Zimoun closely collaborated with architect Hannes Zweifel, producing a large, towering mechanical sound sculpture inside a beautiful abandoned toluene tank from 1951, located in Dottikon, Switzerland. The installation presents a complex kinetic sound sculpture, this time with 329 DC-motors and cotton balls arranged meticulously throughout the interior fabric of the space, producing a stunningly stark appearance and hypnotic hum. I’m happy this is a permanent installation, as it gives me time to get out there and see it for myself. Great work. → Watch the Toluene Tank installation video
I have long been a reader of Thisispaper Magazine, and when in late 2012 they decided to expand to the analogue world, selling a range of stunning and simplistic products, I for one, was thrilled to explore the designs. Initially launching a series of bags and rucksacks, Thisispaper Shop also recently introduced a beautiful range of kitchenware. It is however, one of their bag designs that I find to be something our Minimalissimo readers will appreciate most. The Natural Irma Bag is incredibly basic with a light linen material. Measuring 25 x 42cm, the bottom is made of nubuck leather. Other leather elements are made of vegetable-tanned natural leather. The lining is 100% cotton and features two small interior pockets and a thick cotton string. Beauty, we believe, lies in the simple objects we use everyday, without even acknowledging it.
Aether Apparel is a Los Angeles based outdoor clothing brand, offering performance sportswear with a refined modern aesthetic by utilising technical fabrics in a more sophisticated form. It is one particular piece of Aether sportswear that I would like to introduce to you today. It is the Union Bicycle Jacket – a 3-layer, soft-shell stretch fabric, waterproof. Union is designed to meet the unique needs of urban cyclists and is perfect for commutes around the city and post-ride wear. Loaded with bike-friendly features, it combines all-around protection from the elements with a clean, tailored style. The Union jacket offers a number of important features. For instance, weatherproof pit zip vents, an interior audio valve pocket, and a dual-access back pocket. All these packed into a lightweight jacket that looks just as sharp off the bike as it does on it. Perhaps the most important feature of the Union jacket is its JRC Reflex reflective strips when riding at night. This innovative material reflects bright white when lit by a pair of headlights, but remains matte black under normal lighting conditions.
Having previously been featured on Minimalissimo, thrilling us with his exceptional sound installations, Swiss artist Zimoun has returned with three new terrific pieces. It is one in particular that I would like to share with you however – 198 prepared DC-motors, wire isolated, cardboard boxes. Curated by CAN Neuchatel, this installation not only offers a beautiful minimalist aesthetic, but it also embodies some of the purest elements of contemporary culture – constant speed, constant noise and constant motion. In an obsessive display of simple and functional materials, these works articulate a tension between the orderly patterns of Modernism and the chaotic forces of life. Carrying an emotional depth, the acoustic hum of natural phenomena in Zimoun’s minimalist constructions, effortlessly reverberates. → Watch the 198 DC-motors video
Toronto based visual artist, Kal Mansur, specialises in solid acrylic sculpture. It is Mansur’s minimalist styled Pixels collection that I am delighted to share with you today. The Pixels bring to mind scaled-down architectural models. Empty spaces, walls and blocks are suggested, subtly visible through the semi-opaque acrylic. There is no point of entry, sealed completely on all six sides. The viewer gets just a hint of the interior as available light creates shadows, exposing voids. Created in 2010 and 2011, each piece is made up of solid acrylic, beautifully hand carved, featuring straight painted lines. All measuring 16 x 16 x 3 inches, it is certainly the dark canvas sculptures that I find most striking, particularly that entitled, Secrets.
Last week, we featured a stunning collection of leather bags by TSATSAS, and I have recently been introduced to another of equal beauty – this time by the Polish clothing accessories brand Slava Varsovia. Slava Varsovia aim to highlight the significance of traditional craftsmanship. Hand-made by local artisans, Slava accessories are designed with passion that rises from a tradition with a modern edge, down to the tiniest detail. Designed by Anna Szydlowska, the Slava accessories features a number of beautifully crafted leather bags, designed with a notable simplicity and very subtle brand logo. The series includes several meticulously crafted shoulder and oversized bags, totes and elegant clutch bags of varying sizes and colours. Photography by Zuza Krajewska
The German label TSATSAS, newly established by Esther Schulze-Tsatsas and Dimitrios Tsatsas, produce elegant, contemporary and luxurious bag designs. TSATSAS bags are handcrafted in Germany, and created through a combination of materials including Calfskin leather and Lamb Nappa leather for the lining. Understated and practical, the TSASTAS collection includes Xela, a simple and striking take on the sports sack that includes multiple straps as a subtle design detail. Lucid, a well structured and elegant tote, and Niche, a small zipped tote with a handle/strap combination, all of which ultimately embody a sophistication and skill that can only serve to make each item improve with time. TSATSAS have achieved a perfect balance between function, aesthetics and execution. Stunning collection.