Minimalissimo


Jillian Japka

True design needs no ornamentation.

Layers of White is a penthouse apartment located high above the city of Tel Aviv. Designed by the Tel Aviv architecture studio Pitsou Kedem, this large home is a meditative escape from the busy streets below. The house is divided into two wings: one holds the kitchen and dining spaces, and the other the bedrooms and bathrooms. Both wings feature sitting rooms and spacious exterior terraces. Oversized windows adorn nearly every wall, offering natural light and spectacular views in every room. This home’s monochromatic color scheme incorporates texture in unique ways. Smooth plaster is juxtaposed with an embossed polygonal brick patten. Soft fabric curtains hang loosely over the bedroom windows. On the terrace, a concave wall allows space for stacks of container plants. Lighting is also integrated in uncommon ways. In the kitchen, long bar lights dangle above the countertops, while in the living room, clusters of sculptural light fixtures adhere to the ceiling. The textures and lighting create the dynamic layers of white in the home’s namesake. It’s amazing how one hue can feel so rich and varied. A white palette has never felt so colorful. Photography by Amit Geron.


The Australian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale is complete, just in time for the opening of the 56th Biennale in May of this year. The International Art Exhibit, taking place once every two years, has been held in Venice’s Giardini della Biennale, or the Biennale Gardens, since 1895. It is traditional for architects to design their home country’s pavilion as a unique identifier for their nation. The gardens include works by architecture greats such as Carlo Scarpa, Gerrit Rietveld, and Alvar Aalto. Australia’s Pavilion was in major need of an update: the country had been using the same temporary structure since 1988. Designed by Melbourne-based firm Denton Corker Marshall, the new pavilion’s dark square mass looms powerfully over its bordering canal. The facade is made from large slabs of black granite which protrude at points, allowing natural light to enter the windowless interior. The entrance floats on a concrete terrace, accessed by a dark steel ramp. On the canal side, the structure cantilevers slightly; this subtle gesture both embraces and respects the distinct environment. The interior is a clean, white box: the perfect canvas for various art exhibits. Australia’s sculpture-like pavilion is sure to be a hit at this Biennale and many...


This unassuming family home in Finland is designed by OOPEAA, or Office for Peripheral Architecture. OOPEAA strives for an architecture that finds its inspiration in the state of being in-between – between urban and rural, but always in relationship to both; between a deep respect for tradition and an appreciation of the contemporary. House Riihi is the perfect example of OOPEAA’s mission. House Riihi is reminiscent of a traditional Finnish cottage, stationed alone in an often snowy field in the small village of Alajärvi. The home is comprised of three buildings: the main house, a garage, and a lofted studio. The pale wood structure sits low to the ground and is arranged around an inner garden. This arrangement is inspired by Finnish farms, where cottages were positioned around a central courtyard. With this composition, the garden is protected from the harsh climate and becomes a peaceful refuge all year long. The interior is clad from floor to ceiling in natural and white-painted spruce. The light colors allow House Riihi to feel airy and bright, as well as warm and cozy. Minimal furnishings, some matching the spruce of the walls, create an atmosphere of openness where the home’s architecture can really shine. House Riihi is...


This Nendo designed chocolate shop is located in a small storefront plot in Tokyo’s Ginza District. The illustrious Nendo created this shop for the Belgian chocolatiers BbyB, who describe their treats as “haute couture chocolate.” It is only fitting that the BbyB Ginza store be held to the same high standard as the products sold in it. The long and narrow shop is cut in half by a central glass case equipped with rows of drawers to hold the chocolate bars. This glass case lets the colorful packaging of BbyB’s product to take center stage. Nendo designed each flavor to be displayed in its own glass case, with the drawers of the product installed directly behind. This warrants the user to browse the sweets at ease, opening each drawer in search of the perfect treat. The chocolate bar design, printed in white, is displayed on the walls behind the glass case. White marble floor tiles and recessed lighting allow the physicality of the store to melt away, so the customer is only focused on the delicious chocolates in front of them. A cafe is located in the back of the shop and follows a similar design as the front. The glass display case becomes...


Sarah Oppenheimer is challenging the distinction between art and architecture with a unique collection of windows and wall openings. Using wall incisions and glass as her mediums, Oppenheimer blurs the line between room and painting. From 2012 to present, Oppenheimer’s work has been featured in the PPOW Gallery in New York City, as well as in Kunsthaus Baselland and Von Bartha Garage in Switzerland. While each piece is unique in its form and location, they all bear striking similarities. Glass and black aluminum jut from the walls in a playful geometry. Each opening looks different from various angles and distances. These pieces play with the mind as they distort the structural components of the room and challenge our perception of size and space. The use of glass and cut-outs invites the user to interact with the work by looking out a window or passing through a doorway. In this sense Oppenheimer’s series is firmly rooted in architecture, as we rarely get the chance to interact with art in this way. Yet it is impossible not to relate the aesthetic of these pieces to the oversized cubist paintings of artists past and present. These gorgeous designs are architecture, painting, and sculpture all at once; a combination...


Index Ventures is a creative capital venture company based in San Francisco. When the office needed a major expansion, Garcia Tamjidi Architecture Design stepped in with a straightforward design focused on natural light. Incorporating natural light into the workplace is a desire for any creative team, however most office designs allow for very few windows. Garcia Tamjidi solved this problem by introducing new skylights in key areas of the office. The entry, cafe, and boardroom are located in the center of the office and designed to make the most out of the sunlight. The rest of the office seamlessly flows from the entrance, with large sheets of glass and gray walls forming barriers as needed. Exposed brick walls and wood beams add a touch of charm from the original structure. The furnishings are simple, functional, and white. A gorgeous sculpture hangs from one of the skylights, bringing a bit of the surreal into the office. Index Ventures is certainly not your typical workspace: it is a space for true inspiration and collaboration. Photography by Joe Fletcher.


The small and secluded Bolton Residence is located in Eastern Quebec. Designed by the Canadian based firm Naturehumaine, this elegant home focuses on nature and simplicity. The structural form takes its shape from the traditional barns in the region, yet this vernacular is interpreted in a distinctly modern way. Two large rectangles, positioned one on top of the other, form the structure of the home. The top rectangle cantilevers slightly out from the lower, allowing the house to feel as if it is floating along the mountainside. A dark exterior distinguishes the structure from its often snowy landscape. On the interior, long and narrow windows wrap the living room, flooding the home with stunning views of its mountainous setting. The fireplace is uniquely positioned in a media cabinet, which also provides storage. Accents of wood and black create a dynamic interior, bringing depth and light to the small space. This color scheme continues in the bedroom and in the dark tile of the bathroom. Bolton Residence may be small, but it is not short on style. Photography by Adrien Williams and David Dworkind.


Prazeres, or Pleasures, rests on an unassuming street in the Alcântara district of Portugal. From the exterior, this home looks very similar to its traditionally designed neighbors. On the interior, however, José Adrião Arquitectos transformed the home into a bright and airy paradise. For many years this building was allowed to fall into disrepair. When renovations began its interior was in danger of collapsing, forcing the architects to replace the floors with three slabs of concrete. The new floors divide the building into two main areas: a functional core, for utilities and bathrooms, and open space for the living areas. One of my favorite features of Prazeres is the rooftop terrace. This space is smartly designed as an extension of the interior living spaces, forming a casual environment that can be used all year long. Overall, Prazeres is a gorgeous renovated structure that any family would be happy to call home. Photography by Fernando Guerra FG + SG.


New House is situated on a street of traditional row homes in Hampstead, London. Designed by London based firm Guard Tillman Pollock, this modern white home focuses on privacy and clean lines. The front façade projects slightly out towards the street and is wrapped with sheer white fabric. This fabric conceals the home from the busy street while flooding the interior with filtered natural light. The boxy composition of the exterior continues inside. Monotone walls and beams are stitched together to form the various rooms. The floor plan has an open, airy quality due to double height spaces and a plethora of large windows and skylights. The white and gray palette is the perfect backdrop for the simple mid-century furnishings. I love how this unique home both stands out and blends in with its Victorian neighbors. The size and scale of New House is consistent with the other structures on its street, yet within these boundaries a truly creative and beautiful home emerged.


3 Vaults is a refurbished apartment located in Turin, Italy. Designed by r3 Architetti, this small one-bedroom is the perfect home and occasional holiday rental. The three vaults the name refers to are the living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Each room has its own distinct styling, yet all three are tied together beautifully. A diagonally shaped hallway connects the various rooms. Wood paneling mingles against reinforced concrete and smooth white plaster. The home borders on an industrial aesthetic, yet more refined details allow it to feel cozy and polished. The furniture follows a similar theme: old and new pieces are artfully mixed and matched. The original ceiling remains from the building’s 1905 construction. Each unique space in 3 Vaults feels sculptural. The angles of the design and the chosen materials come together to create a modern and fashionable home.


Austrian firm Innauer-Matt Architekten designed Haus Für Julia Und Björn on a woody plot in Egg, Austria. The site is narrow and set on a slight hill with an idyllic view of a small village. The ground floor entrance opens up to the living room, a space which spans the whole first floor of the building. The open floor plan allows for a continuous flow of family activities: cooking, dining, and living. The bedrooms and study are located above and make use of the unique spaces created by the steeply sloped roof. Throughout the home, cut-outs in walls provide nooks for sitting areas or study spaces. The interior makes use of a few carefully chosen materials. Local spruce wall panels and flooring give the rooms a light and cosy feel while connecting the home with the natural environment. Light gray walls and big windows intersect with the exposed wood. Accents of black and white bring a clean and modern look to each room. The facade is covered with a wooden lattice structure. This structure offers weather protection as well as an interesting aesthetic. I love the way this house plays with the traditional home archetype. From afar it looks conventional, but up close it is a the...


This modern, monochromatic home in Copenhagen was designed by Sofie and Frank Christensen Egelund of the design brand Vipp. The townhouse was built in 1898 and renovated by the Egelunds several years ago. Five narrow levels hold enough living space for the couple and their four children. The neutral palette and classic furniture pieces tie each level together; every room is brimming with the Egelunds’ elegant design choices. Creative uses of lighting and texture allow the monochromatic spaces to feel dynamic instead of stark. Each furniture and decor piece was carefully chosen to match the home’s Scandinavian style. Custom shelving and built-in storage keep the large family neat and organized. Copenhagen Townhouse manages sleek minimalism with loads of personality.