Minimalissimo


Marina Esmeraldo

Less is yes.

Multi-medium, Los Angeles-based studio Building Block never cease to impress with their impeccable leather products — the recent Spring Summer 2015 additions to their elegant repertoire are proof of that. The Wu sisters work raw leather into common, everyday shapes and accentuate them with playful, unique details, clearing away conventional standards of luxury by magnifying what is essential and editing out excess. I particularly love the addition of footwear to their brand — the geometric leather sandals are perfect for the season.


Five is a stunningly beautiful, classically simple and tactile print by Barcelona-based studio Hey. Created as a New Year celebratory print for 2015, it comes in a range of different Pantone colours and pearlescent, coloured foil and is available in their online shop. Hey always search for the essence in their concepts and to make work that is immediately memorable, aided by their thoughtful and playful simplicity. Learn more about Hey’s process in our chat about methodology. Photography by Roc Canals.


NYC Design Week 2015 saw the Rhode Island School of Design alumni Farrah Sit and Anna Lynett Moss from Chiyome, both New York-based product designers, collaborate on a beautifully light and elegant furniture collection. Rooted in an analysis of planar relationships and with a nod to design elements borrowed from fashion, the collection is a study of weightlessness and balancing opposites — line vs volume, bright vs muted, transparent vs opaque. Both designers became friends in the NY design scene through a mutual deep admiration for each others’ work and share a focus on thoughtful, considered and sustainable design with community engagement – this collaboration was an opportunity to explore such design philosophy on a larger scale. The collection was exhibited during NYCxDesign2015 at Colony, a furniture showroom that celebrates and showcases the community of independent designers in New York City. Photography by Christopher Saunders.


Experiments in Natural Philosophy is Australian artist Todd Robinson‘s latest exhibition, having just wrapped up at the Galerie Pompom in Sydney, where large balloon sculptures combine a form of proto-engineering with weird yet wonderful studies in comparative materiality. This new body of work draws on an ongoing series of balloon inspired sculptures featured in his previous exhibitions, which feature balloons that droop and slump as the force of gravity appears to bear down upon them, presenting Robinson’s inquiry into sculptural presence, materiality and conditions of audience reception. In conceiving this body of work, Robinson references the history of science and Natural Philosophy, a predecessor of modern science that had yet to dismiss the concept of nature, rendering imaginary forces visible of which we are unaware, yet appear natural to conventional observation.


Minneapolis-based Louise Gray reinterprets the tradition of quilting through a discerning contemporary eye, seeking to enhance the living space for the modern, detail oriented, and socially conscious with their geometric, pastel-coloured quilts. The 100% cotton fabric quilts are carefully assembled and handcrafted in the U.S.A by local artisans and strive to be timeless pieces in both design and ethos. Louise Gray is the combined vision of sales director Alexandra Gray Bennett, who comes from a long family heritage of quilting, and Jocelin Johnson, a graphic designer experienced in art & creative direction. The brand revises the traditional quilting format, making it more relevant to a contemporary audience and offering their customers an opportunity to support the cut and sew industry of North America with each purchase.


Crafted by Canadian artist Karen Zalamea, Pierre/Paysage  (Stone/Landscape in French) is a collection of ten photographic images presenting transformed representations of space. Layers of acetate were cut into different geometric shapes, carefully positioned and lit to create different formal arrangements, alluding to abstract yet quite tangible architectonic, topographic and cartographic silhouettes – at once diaphanous and yet surprisingly solid. Zalamea’s work is involved in the material concerns of image-making practices, often incorporating intricate processes that fuse elements of drawing, sculpture, and performance in her photographic and video production. A stunning feat to coordinate so many disciplines into such sophisticated, minimalistic outputs.


A collaboration between London-based photographer Bruno Drummond and set designer Hattie Newman, Paper Mountains, recycles and decontextualizes the intricate paper sculptures created by Hattie for a project both had previously worked on, suddenly giving them new life. Generally speaking sets for photoshoots tend to be made as one offs — once the shoot is over the set might be stored, recycled or disposed of; an enormous amount of work goes into producing the sets yet the work of the designer might end up hidden from view. After realising how some of the elements of the set would make a great project in their own right, they set to create a series of formal studies, finding a fresh set of characteristics in the pieces. Some of the technical work that would normally be hidden, like the joining flaps of two paper mountains, were made visible. In some cases the pieces have been placed without reference to how they might stand in reality. For Drummond, the objects became suggestive of entirely different things than what they originally meant — beached ships or sea-creatures left stranded at the high tide mark.


Inspired by East Londoners’ pastel-hued hairstyles and boasting a 30-year heritage of traditional British manufacturing, accessories brand Ally Capellino‘s SS15 collection features a rose-tinted collection of rucksacks, satchels and bike-bags in ice cream shades and pastel hues, with every design constructed using waxed cotton and Italian veg-tanned leather. Photographed by Agnes Lloyd Platt with styling by Aurelia Donaldson, make-up by Sky Cripps-Jackson and hair colouring by Olivia Crighton of Glasshouse Salon, the lookbook materializes a beautifully simple idea brought to life by colour-blocking, elegant set design and flawless execution.


Currently based in New York, Ward Roberts is an Australian conceptual artist whose compelling and mysterious photographs draw on themes such as loneliness and isolation in the modern world. His perspective is contemporary and sophisticated, creating images that are full of emptiness and incredibly poignant. There is an innate energy at the core of his work that makes his compositions seem painterly and borne out of academic calculated patience. Despite the studied balance of his work, his preferred medium is analogue — I love how the grain massages the tone, the range of color, contrast, and organic qualities. Digital is for perfection. And you know, the world is not perfect and neither are the people in it.


Enthusiastically handcrafted in southern Germany, VOR‘s A1 Reinweiß shoes are the epitome of the company’s timeless, minimalist ethos – going through incredible effort to eliminate details and be identified more by its refined appearance than any impactful presentation. Passionate about perfectionism, premium substance and the finest possible execution, VOR believe that handcrafted items are an expression of the modern consumer’s demands regarding a product’s origins and are solely made of best genuine full grain leathers and premium leather linings, proudly creating pieces that are unique and have their own individual characteristics and natural beauty.


Born from the three-way collaboration between Tucson, Arizona-based apparel shops Bon Boutique and Desert Vintage and the sensitive eye of photographer Krysta Jabczenski, this Spring Summer 2015 lookbook is a fun, sunny photoshoot with stylish colour-blocked clothes and clean, simple surroundings. Bon is a small mother-and-daughter enterprise, with a love of things that are well designed and well made and a lovely curatorial eye for mixing the unexpected. Joining their wares with Desert Vintage’s tulle skirts, jewellery and sombreros, the lookbook manages to be soft and jovial, yet pared down and sophisticated. Shot in Barrio Viejo, Tucson, AZ, by Krysta Jabczenski.


Youjia Jin is a Chinese born London based fashion designer and fashion buyer specialising in womenswear. Inspired by anatomy, the designer’s impeccably tailored and purely coloured collections focus on menswear tailoring and the surreal body arts developed from anatomy. Due to my interest in human body structure, I’ve been exercising unisex pattern cutting on my womenswear collections in recent years. Youjia Jin has presented collections in London Fashion Week and Beijing Fashion Week, and been nominated One To Watch by Fashion Scout and more since graduating from the London College of Fashion, Centrail Saint Martins and the Beijing Institute of Fashion and Technology.