HANK is an extremely simple product with a very sophisticated concept. Designed and developed by Berlin-based llot llov, Hank is an adjustable harness that holds glass mirrors with a v-shaped rope and a single drill hole, helping abandoned mirrors regain their rightful place on the wall. The kit consists of a wooden knob, waxed cotton rope and small aluminium plates, and comes in two sizes that cover every size and shape of mirror — as clever as it is light, says llot lov. The studio develops furniture, products, light and interiors and organize manufacturing and dispatch of their own label. Their design is both functional and emotional. According to their philosophy, they are often playful, always visionary, and work conceptually to aesthetically improve our day-to-day world. Photography by Ender Suenni.
Less is yes.
You might be familiar with London-based photographer Bruno Drummond and set designer Gemma Tickle‘s work through their contribution to Printed Pages magazine’s spring 2014 edition, but the pair’s collaborations span many other playful projects. Very informed by a minimalist aesthetic, their collaborations often use graphic, formal arrangements, clean sharp angular lines, plain untextured surfaces, and as with Printed Pages, repeat the same elements again and again as a stylistic device. Continuing my on-going investigation about the process behind minimalistic work, Bruno shares with us that he wouldn’t necessarily describe their process as minimalist — It is often quiet elaborate, with ideas being discussed extensively but it does tend to result in a specific vision prior to shooting. A lot of the work is pre-visualised with ideas, materials, colours and lighting discussed in advance, although they always leave room for the unexpected, which isn’t surprising considering the joyful nature of their work. Unsurprisingly, their individual portfolios boast several other beautifully simple projects — head over to be further visually delighted!
Lucas Dias is a young Brazilian photographer and video-artist based in Barcelona who has recently opened the second show of his touring exhibition Cuerpos Urbanos (Urban Bodies). The series of double-exposures explores the limit between people and their surroundings — the skin of the body and the skin of the city — ultimately communicating the complexity of those relationships in an elegant, effortless manner. It is in the limit between body and landscape that the proposal for Urban Bodies is drawn. In an attempt of reenchantment with the world, diaphanous mirages are drawn, ethereal and subtle, provoking the observer’s eye. They reveal skins of transparent folds, and within the folds, invisible landscapes. With a background in Architecture studies, Lucas maintains the concept of ephemeral and diaphanous even in the exhibition design — the images were printed in large plates of transparent acetate, floating suspended in the air. Discussing the process behind his work, he reveals that Cuerpos Urbanos was the result of long and painful exploration, after many experiments and thoughts, confirming that a simple result is often the culmination of many iterations and hard work. Cuerpos Urbanos will be open at the aDa Gallery in Barcelona until the end of June...
Hey is a design studio working mostly in brand identity, illustration and editorial design. Small in size but very big in outreach, the Barcelona-based studio is much beloved internationally, with a marked a style based on simplicity and synthetis and a lovely use of color and geometry. Verónica, Ricardo and Mikel kindly received me for a brief chat about the process behind their very own brand of minimalist work. When you work with synthesis, ultimately you are seeking a concept, and for the most direct way of translating and communicating that graphically. Their poster work is prolific and one of their favorite ways to distill their graphic philosophy. Using the power of cogency — the capacity one has for remembering something visual — they create work that is immediately memorable. Hey always search for the essence in their concepts, and approach a problem with a methodical functionality that is refreshing and produces results that are so well-crafted they become endearing, like with their latest personal project, Every Hey — a daily Instagram feed where they illustrate characters from pop culture. Every illustration is created based on a modular grid system, without ornament, in an effort to optimize the eye in order for it to see better, a strategy they have applied time and again with their popular Monocle maps. The studio’s...
With a French name and a Catalan heart, Deux Souliers is a Barcelona-based footwear brand led by designer Nunu Solsona, who also shares the creative direction with Folch Studio. Deux Soulier advocates a slow fashion spirit and a contemporary craft ideology, prioritizing comfort, quality and responsible manufacturing (every shoe is handmade in Menorca, Spain). The Spring/Summer ’14 collection de-contextualizes classic shoe designs, featuring sandal-shaped and often unisex models with a sophisticated sport aesthetic, and materials like cowhide or clean cotton provide subtle texture to their neutral-toned color palette. Albert Folch, creative director of Folch Studio, shared with us a bit of insight into the process behind the brand’s aesthetics, which he described as reductionist in itself. Deux Souliers means Two Shoes in French – simple as that, a simplicity that is at the core of every byproduct of the brand – from beautifully crafted shoes to advertising campaigns, branding and online presence. The focus is the product, and every aesthetic decision revolves around featuring it in the most straightforward, best possible way. Nunu is also interested in maintaining open door sessions at their studio in order to maintain closeness with the client – in fact, it’s how I had the opportunity to experience first-hand the lovely ethos of the brand. Campaign photography by Teddy Iborra.
I have been an admirer of York-based graphic designer and writer Daniel Benneworth-Gray‘s for a while now — be it his beautifully simple, mathematical book covers or the captivating articles in his long-standing blog. His latest design work is particularly spare, balanced — there doesn’t seem to be a pixel out of place. His book covers show tremendous subtlety, power, and a welcome and refreshing pop of color. We caught up with Daniel recently and chatted with him a bit about his creative process. Being particularly fascinated by the way one achieves the delicate balance of minimalist compositions, I was very interested in how he achieved his particular brand of simple. My objective is always to find that perfect point just before minimalism becomes emptiness, where the aesthetic, mathematical purity of an idea resists clinical starkness. If I become too conscious of how I’m achieving that, or if I try to pursue it in a very precise way each time, I leave myself no room for chaos. Daniel says that as simple the end result may be, it belies a creative process of scribbles, mess and mistakes. I’ll work with pen on paper (or increasingly, the rather smashing Paper app) for a long time before going...
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and to many, so is art. In any case, the humble pocket has been elevated into the status of beautiful, spellbinding works of art through the lens of luxury still life photographers Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes, with styling by Sam Logan, commissioned for issue no. 9 of The Gentlewoman. It’s a straightfoward, simple enough concept, but the masterful use of light and shadows in highlighting the impeccable detailing of the garments portrayed gives the whole series – and especially the humble pocket – a mistifying, iconic sheen.
Founded in 2012 and based in New York City, Chiyome is a studio focused on creating exceptional products based on a key premise: what is essential? Their designs – shoulder bags, backpacks and pouches – are continually infused with a clean and minimalist perspective, manifested through sharp lines, subtle color relationships and smart proportions. HOVER, their Spring/Summer ’14 collection, is all about harmonizing dissonant materials, fusing high (leather, marble) and low (rubber, vinyl) into a sophisticated, luxurious blend. The brand is also committed to designing through social efforts and radical means, sourcing materials from minority-owned local businesses in order to strengthen the social fabric of NY and reduce their carbon footprint, intrinsecally bringing minimalism to all aspects of their practice.
The Other Guy Next Door, the debut collection of the young New York based menswear label Cilantro + Ginger, presents well-tailored clothes in fine fabrics and unique, monochromatic prints, infused with Chinese born designer Zhang Qingyun’s approach of simplicity, attention to detail, and a dry sense of humor. The Fall 2014 collection interprets the closet of an unfamiliar neighbor. He has perhaps four shirts in his wardrobe – clean, but rarely ironed. Every now and then you encounter him outside the corner store. He holds a plastic Thank You bag. He wears white, head-to-toe. You never say hello. The core concept of the brand is to capture the continuity of imperfect, everyday minutiae, seeking beauty in the mundane and searching out quality in profusion. This is reflected in the entirety of the label’s visual output, from Jiao Xiang’s pared down styling of the lookbook to a Tumblr feed filled with monochromes and softly-toned palettes. One of my favorite aspects of the brand is the artist collaboration launched alongside each collection, serving as the backbone of the brand’s artistic expression. Kicking off with photographer Ross Mantle and his A Map With Open Space series, the imagery complements the collection pieces as displayed in C+G’s...
UK practice John Morgan Studio recently undertook the redesign of the prestigious London publication ArtReview, art directing and developing the design of each issue and special editions since September 2013 in an elegant, clean fashion. For the Future Greats issue, an annual special edition that that declares the artists to watch out for over the coming year, Morgan commissioned these whited-out portraits by photographers Luke and Nik, creating an experimental and disquieting set of covers that immediately catch the eye.
Mexican branding firm Anagrama have designed the visual identity for the high-end pastry and confectionery shop Xoclad, located in the Mayan Riviera. In a place bustling with tourist activity, Xoclad needed to communicate the area’s strong Mayan culture in a classy way that could never be called cliché or tacky. The designs are based on a contemporary interpretation of antique mayan art and architecture ornamentation, with a bold monochromatic labyrinth-like pattern as the central element for all the visual elements of the brand. A pop of candy-toned green and pink complete the color palette, with just enough brightness to complement the sober, clean feeling of the brand and leave a mouth-watering desire to consume their products!
Created in New York City and inspired by Scandinavian esthetics, Kunst K is a contemporary apothecary concept that connects individualism, beauty and a unique creative vision. Scientifically developed over several years of extensive research to best suit individual skin regimes and to highlight the importance of vitamins, as a result each person has the freedom to custom blend their own formula. The concept was developed by makeup creative director Kiril Hristovski, who is also responsible for the design and branding of Kunst K. The line of products consists of two base creams, an eye cream, a mask, and five vitamins (A+D3, B, C, E and K) that are individually packed in breakable ampoules, which are to be mixed in with any of our four products. Easy, simple and personable – a refreshing and enticing concept, all wrapped up in bold and minimalist packaging.