Minimalissimo


Jorge San Luis

Keep It Simple, Stupid!

The new headquarters of the Benéfico Social Padre Rubinos Institution is an impressive building financed by the Amancio Ortega Foundation and developed by Elsa Urquijo Architects. Opened last week and located in A Coruña, Spain, the building features the following facilities for people in a social emergency situation: hostel/refuge for transient people with no resources or home; redidence for the elderly and day centre with charitable nature; infants’ school for children born in families in a precarious financial situation; and the Padre Rubinos social headquarters. In total, a size of more than 15.000m2, the architects explain: It is a building that renounces the academic composition of the facade and turns it in a front porch that surrounds and defines the square. This invites us to move in that protected porch, discovering the different spaces that are linked to it, creating a frame in which life can flow and develop. A truly wonderful project with a predominantly white colour palette, where luminosity and horizontal lines produce a stable, calm and relaxing environment, and every detail is carefully considered.


Prism mirror table is a remarkable project developed by the Tokyo based designer Tokujin Yoshioka for Glas Italia, a historic manufacturer of glass furniture with a long standing tradition. The table is comprised of thick high-transparency mirror glass, and it was made possible using innovative cutting techniques. Yoshioka explains: With the cut technique on glass surface, it gives off clear and miraculous sparkling expressed by the refraction of light like a prism. This piece is a table like a shimmering sculpture reflecting the view of surroundings as if water surface be. This simple and poetic result was presented during the last Salone del Mobile in Milan.


Sostre is an urban canopy designed by the Spanish studio Fran Silvestre Arquitectos, that references traditional structures of mediterranean cultures to provide service to a restaurant with more space. When it is not in use, it gives service to the citizens as a meeting point, playground or a shade to stand, and not interfering with their transit because of its geometry with only two support points. Sostre is comprised of a solid surface material that covers a metallic structure, generating a minimalist and continuous block. In addition, Sostre has lighting, sound, air conditioning as well as a retractable shading device to produce a more intimate setting.


The brand and innovation firm Wolff Olins has developed this beautifully simple project for Infotech Enterprises, an Indian firm specialised in engineering and data services. Seeking a strategic change, the new brand Cyient was created to generate new customers, talent and even acquisitions, starting a new chapter after two decades. The new identity for Cyient is incredibly simple in its design, with a customised “E” with a dot for the logo and for the communication — a characteristic that will always make the brand identifiable, even without using the logo. Furthermore, this dot will be ever present and will reinforce all the visual elements of the brand — framing texts, images, graphics or videos. A simple yet powerful concept. You can also watch a video presentation of the brand.


Last year, the successful Spanish studio Lavernia & Cienfuegos designed the Etnia Shops, including the furniture and the image, for the brand Etnia Cosmetics, resulting in a remarkable project. The main goal was focused on establishing great efficieny, functionality and image, so the main characteristics of the shops are the modularity, the product presentation and the general appeal of the product. I love the combination of the white and the clear wood tones, giving the interior a feeling of warmth along with the carefully considered lighting. And all of these characteristics emphasise the products with their powerful colours. Fantastic work without doubt.


With the ever captivating World Cup in its final week, the Manchester based freelance designer Rick Hincks has developed this minimalist series of World Cup Posters, trying to collect great moments of the competition’s history. The work was based on these three simple rules: it must be a significant moment that happened during the run of play; the layouts are the same; and there are only two colours used — a colour of the club and white. I really like the nostalgic feeling of these posters and clearly remembering many of these moments, making you realise just how important your team’s performance was for you, even more intensely than watching the real images.


Hang Around & Toss Around is a wonderful set of wooden cooking tools and salad servers created by the Copenhagen design studio KiBiSi for the Danish brand Muuto. The kitchen utensils are made in white beech wood and they have an extrusion cut in the back to hang on the edge of pots or pans. A really simple design with a fantastic and useful alteration to make them more practical to use. On the designs, KiBiSi explain: The kitchen utensils combine form, function and craftsmanship, but in KiBiSi’s interpretation, they are precisely designed and crafted for an essential contemporary look and functional ergonomics.


I really have no words to express my fascination by Richard Serra‘s latest work — East-West/West-East — a permanent sculptural installation in Qatar’s desert, approximately 60 kilometers from Doha at the Brouq Nature Reserve. The installation is a set of four 50ft steel towers that connect the two seas and the two parts of this ancient landscape. Serra explains: The placement is not geometrical, it’s topological; they can only be placed where they are to achieve the curvature of the land. If one walks through the pieces; he will understand not only the rhythm of himself in relationship to the landscape but also the rhythm of himself in relationship to the height and the length of the pieces. Serra has developed this stunning installation, even though it is situated in the middle of the desert, and is quite possibly the largest scene where he has expressed his art work. Photography by Sally Crane.


On Thursday 12 June, the next FIFA World Cup in Brazil begins, and yes, even on Minimalissimo we have some beautiful design related to it, because I would like to introduce the wonderful website brazilfourteen.com. Brazil Fourteen is a website that shows all the matches of the tournament, allowing you to customize it with any of the participating teams national colors. You can also download a fixture list to be in synchronization with your calendar app along with a limited edition B2 poster, printed in silver on ebony colorplan. Brazil Foruteen is a project by the British design studio Karoshi and the dynamic website was developed by Paul Davis.


Up in the air is a striking occasional table for home and contract use, developed by Ramón Úbeda and Otto Canalda for the Spanish company Viccarbe. The white lacquered cylindrical table is also made from a patented environment-friendly resin that contains handmade fish replicas, therefore no need of additional decoration than themselves. The designers explain: Fish that aren’t fish. That seem to float in water that isn’t water. They seem to be suspended in air that isn’t air. Like a dream. A wonderful mixture between minimalism and poetry is the result of this charming project, that is available in different versions of fish compositions and table sizes.


Thaw sofa is one of the latest works launched by the Japanese design studio Junpei Tamaki Design during this year’s SaloneSatellite in Milan. It is a reference to images of thawed fluffy snow, producing a wonderful feeling of softness and comfort. The curved silhouette of Thaw is accompanied by a rounded oak detail that frames the whole piece — a continuous line to serve the seat, arm and backrest in one, resulting in a great formal simplicity. I particularly like how the wood is integrated so well on this kind of design, achieving a sense of quality and warmth. Photography by Takumi Ota


Aura mirror series is a beautiful project by the Norwegian designer Bjørn van den Berg, where the hemispherical shaped mirrors are converted into a whole reflecting object, not just a surface. The project is about tactility and sensibility. Aura’s format relates to fit into two open hands. When the object is exposed to light, the light is reflected differently from the flat mirror surface and the circular body; making you aware of your surroundings and the changes in light. The series consists of a wall and table mirror and they have been developed using solid aluminium, electroplated with copper, chrome or nickel, producing a wonderful finish.