Mum & Co is a small family run fashion brand, designing exquisite and heartwarming handmade leather goods. Recently established, Mum & Co produce a range of minimalist backpacks and cases, each using natural leather, for that touchy-feely vibe, which suits this brand so very well. The shapes, colours, textures and detail of each of piece are simply wonderful. For instance, Backpack I is similar to those once used by London couriers. Fastened on with an adjustable-length vintage leather strap, it also has an outer pocket for keys and various other accessories. Adjustable straps allow for a precise fit and measures 270 x 430 x 120 mm. This one, I would love for myself. Backpack II in natural and black exudes elegance. It is designed to replace the classic handbag for something more comfortable, regardless of what you may be wearing. The interior also has a soft cotton lining, magnetic buckles and measures 290 x 400 x 60 mm. I have no doubt this brand will go from strength to strength, and I’ll be keeping an eye on any new designs.
Carl MH Barenbrug
Back to purity, back to simplicity.
Jonny Lu, a London based designer specialising in print and interactive design as well as art direction, is behind this beautiful packaging for Victoria Beckham’s newly launched online shop. It features her Ready To Wear line, which itself includes a number of minimalist pieces. Produced by Progress, the packaging features three piece shoulder boxes with flush lids, which are made from a high gloss white base and inner, with a contrasting raw kraft paper sheet lid. The branding is a gloss white foil block with a universal size over the range. This package design certainly has an understated elegance to it and perhaps a surprising colour choice, but I personally think it works very well.
New York based multidisciplinary designer, Joe Doucet is the creator behind the simple, but certainly attractive little wireless Prism Speaker – the result of his first collaboration with the French producer of design, Lexon. As one product of Lexon’s Prism collection, which includes a clock and clock radio, the Prism Speaker measures only 8 x 8 x 8cm. It also features integrated touch controls, an in-built rechargeable battery lasting up to four hours, and an LED battery level indicator. For optimal acoustics, the speaker is reminiscent of a cube sinking into the surface upon which it rests. Prism is available in black, aluminium, and white.
Italian furniture design studio Kristalia recently introduced me to one of their latest products – The Thin-K table, which will be presented at the next international trade fair in Milan. The incredibly slim Thin-K is the result of a collaborative project between Kristalia and the great Luciano Bertoncini. One of the primary features of Thin-K is of course how thin it is. Measuring a mere 6mm thickness, its structural frame is comprised of Anodised aluminium. The legs and top can be finished in a number ways, including aluminium with white, sand grey and black lacquer. The table is also available in genuine wood veneer with brush-effect, a technique that highlights the natural grain of the wood. Stunning.
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.
Fabian Bürgy is a Swiss born sculptor and independent digital creative, who’s diverse and artistic practice includes sculpture, installation and digital imaging. His work explores the aesthetic of things through random encounters of materials, misplaced situations and spatial relationships. It is a series of Bürgy’s incredible installations and digital creations that I would like to share with you here. He creates conceptual situations and small interventions, which are inspired by a wide range of mundane objects and appearances. All of which are characterised by a slightly violent and disturbing process of transformation, misplacement and dysfunction of things. Bürgy takes specific thoughts and develops conflicts with precise and absolutely minimalistic means – constantly exploring the point where known things become something else, where metamorphosis is reached. Personal favourite has to be the lonely and misplaced black cloud floating in space. Wonderful.
Brazilian photographer and architecture student Vinícius Vitoriano Barbosa, based in São Paulo, has recently created a minimalist photographic paper series titled, Less is More. The whole concept of the project can be summarised in this phrase by legendary abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann: The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. Vitoriano explains that the goal was to find an object as simple as possible that was capable of creating diversity, textures, shadow and light: the essence of photography. The chosen object to achieve this, was paper. Through this simple and commonplace industrialised material, were framed compositions of organic shapes that recall nature. What I particularly like about this project is that it gives the viewer a chance to be in touch with the essence of photography, rather than distract them with the trivial. Vitoriano has produced something really quite beautiful with this series. Less is indeed more.
Purpose Inc., a furniture and housewares company based in Utah, have designed this wonderfully minimalist take on an iconic symbol that is the rocking chair. They call it Rokur. Perfect for that moment of relaxation and reflection, this attractive chair design, particularly impressive from the side, has an ease and simplicity about it that features thin straight lines where possible. According to Purpose Inc.: The design was an attempt to capture the look and feel of relaxation. By removing extraneous patterns and ornate fillers, we created a chair that is as beautiful as it is functional. Rokur, featured here in Brazilian cherry, is also offered with seat and/or back cushions, but you wouldn’t want those, right?
Milan based Italian designer Henry Timi has built some incredible minimalist furniture over recent years, designing simple and pure shapes, refusing excess and the unnecessary. I would like to share with you today a small selection of seating furniture that reflects these qualities, but many more can be found on the Henry Timi website. Timi explains his design philosophy: I summarise and I develop objects with a minimalist vision. I just think of pure products – purity as the beauty. I promote the simplicity as the depth and the refinement to give value to objects and persons. I make things simpler in order to be better. These pieces may not exude comfort exactly, but what I do appreciate is their quiet elegance, clean lines and detail.
Brooklyn based Oak Studios create websites and applications. Last week, Oak released their first iOS app, Blue. The app provides 36-hour weather forecasts relevant to your location in a fast, fun and of course minimal interface. Simply swipe up to see each hour represented in a beautiful, colourful gradient visual – regardless of where you are in the world. The hourly colours are generated based on three variables: temperature, humidity, and sunrise/sunset times for your current location. Temperatures are shown in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. I have seen a few impressive weather apps with a minimalist interface, such as Solar, which is not dissimilar to Blue. Which of them offers a better user experience? I’m going to download them and find out for myself.
Manifiesto Futura, an independent multidisciplinary design studio based in Monterrey, Mexico, have recently added to their impressive design portfolio with this minimalist identity and packaging for the tequila based alcoholic drink, Tiqo. Tiqo is apparently a drink for a quiet moonlit night gathering at the beach, which is echoed by the circular forms in the sleek geometric logotype. Even with the stark colour palette of the bottle, it still has a strong presence and would unlikely go unnoticed on a supermarket shelf. It’s always refreshing to see such design simplicity in alcohol packaging.
Dutch artist Ine Vermee, based in Tilburg, has created a minimal and tranquil series of colour planes carried out in enamel on steelplate, adopting a colour sample by the well-known American architect Richard Meier (Thirty Colours 2004) and beautifully demonstrating there is not simply one kind of white. 15 Meier Whites is currently being exhibited at the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck Remagen, Germany until March 3, 2013. Vermee writes: In this exhibition my work functions as a transition between the architecture of Richard Meier and the artworks in the Arp Museum. Here the main focus is how the colours and nuances of colour relate to each other, how they emerge in successions and gradations. If you happen to visit this exhibition, be sure to share your thoughts.