REN is a beautiful laconic creation of Japanese studio Karimoku New Standard. Inspired by traditional Japanese seating, this chair has a square frame and a low backrest. Designers claim that this shape and the position of the back promote healthy posture. I love how well thought out the piece is. Each part of a wooden frame is assembled using the traditional Japanese woodwork technique tomegata sanmai tsugi, or Triple Tenon. This principle allows to achieve a sturdy construction without the use of toxic adhesives. REN comes in two different frame colours and offers three choices of upholstery – paper yarn, textile and leather.
The more you know, the less you need.
Multerim is a polished minimal timer app, recently released by Evan Gulyas. It is designed for the multitasker and is useful to someone who has to juggle several deadlines at a time. The sleek intuitive interface allows you to set and name multiple timers. It required a bit of a learning curve, but once you have figured out the principle, it is very easy to set up, name, adjust and start up to six different timers. The time is arranged vertically, the upper squares give you hours, the middle ones – minutes, and the bottom ones – seconds. Swipe any square to set up a timer, tap with two fingers to start it, tap and drag to give it a name. And to reset everything, just swipe across the screen with two fingers. A good-looking app with the clear purpose.
London based designer Benjamin Hubert in collaboration with Canadian woodworking firm Corelam created this beautiful table, called Ripple. Made entirely from 3 ply 0.8mm birch aircraft plywood, Ripple is quite possibly the world’s lightest timber table of its size. The piece is 2.5 metres long, 1 metre wide, and weighs just 9 kilograms. The impressive strength to weight ratio is achieved by corrugating plywood and using it as a main material in this project. Designer explains: Ripple is minimal in its design language, employing a simple knockdown construction. The top surface is corrugated plywood overlaid by a flat sheet, and the A-frame legs are a sandwich construction of two corrugated plywood layers. There is also an eco-friendly aspect to this design. Thanks to its clever construction, Ripple takes 70-80% less material than a standard timber table. Check out the video to see the making of the piece.
Copenhagen is a minimalist bluetooth loudspeaker created by the Danish studio design-people for the sound systems manufacturer Vifa. Simple to use and portable, the piece can work wirelessly or connect to your devices through a mini-jack or USB port. All the buttons and controls are carefully hidden to achieve the clean, uncluttered look. Here is how designers describe their approach: Nordic design addresses complex issues and turns them into simple and appealing solutions. Keynotes are respect for materials, details, and for the user experience. All details are toned down to the essentials with high finish and ease of use. The exquisite basics for anyone who values exclusive design just as much as authentic sound. I like the balance between the clean, sleek execution and the familiar shape, reminiscent of old radios from the 60s. Copenhagen comes in six colors – black, gray, yellow, red, blue and aquamarine.
It is not easy to romanticize veneer, but Netherlands based studio Oato succeeded by designing this minimalist coat stand, aptly called Peel. Created in collaboration with woodworking company Kuperus & Gardenier, the peace makes the best of the material - Finnish birch plywood. Here is how the designers describe their approach: We call our way of design a search for ‘the poetic side of industrial design’. Our goal is to reshape the everyday objects that surround us, by balancing emotion and industry. The Peel coat stand is definitely a harmonious equilibrium between aesthetics and utility. Inspired by the way veneer is created (carving thin strips of wood from a log) we returned the strips to a stem, from which small parts seemed to be peeled to create the coat hooks. I love the fact that the function here arises from the quality of the wood, and because of that, it looks spontaneous and, yes, very poetic.
Oki Sato, the creative force behind Nendo, recently teamed up with chopstick manufacturer Hashikura Matsukan to reinvent the ancient utensil and rethink the way we use it. The result was the collection of six beautiful designs, out of which we would like to point out two – rassen and kamiai. Both are marked by the same principle – combining a pair into a single entity. Nendo explains: Chopsticks ordinarily come in pairs, but the rassen chopsticks are a single unit. They’re separated into two for eating, then rejoined into one form when not in use. Unlike the rassen chopsticks, that intertwine via spiral rotation, kamiai utilize an external element. The chopsticks interlock thanks to the magnets placed at the base of each piece. Kamiai simply snap together when they are flipped and fitted to each other. The magnets are inserted towards the outside of each chopstick, so that the chopsticks don’t get locked accidentally while someone is using them to eat.
Magneto is a minimalist table lamp created by French studio Hekla. The piece is comprised of two parts – a metal base and an autonomous lighting source, made out of wood and fitted with an LED strip. Thanks to the magnetic component inside the wooden part, you can freely move the light, attach it at any angle and easily customize the direction of the light. I love how versatile the piece is. You can put it together in many different ways as a table lamp. You can also take it completely apart and attach the lighting component to any metal surface around the house. Very clever.
This beautiful collection of geometric jewelry has been created by Phoenix based designer Melanie Shelor. Called Laminar, which means smooth, layered flow, the collection includes series of earrings and rings, all crafted by hand from silver. Here is how Shelor describes her work: Laminar is a project I began in 2009 as an exploration into the assemblage of shape, color, and texture in the form of jewelry fabrication and objets d’art. While jewelry at times is meant to be a signifier, I prefer to see it as an intermediary between the person and her environment – a kind of pattern or rhythm that visually negotiates the discrepancy between the two. I love the unadorned simplicity of these pieces. As if drawn in a single line, they appear airy and effortless.
This beautiful vacation house has been built by Florian Busch Architects in Niseko, Japan. It is perched on a sloping lot overlooking Mount Yotei. Two blocks of the building are shifted in a perfect way to accommodate this challenging landscape. The structure is reinforced by a concrete shear wall and covered with light wood on the outside. The warmth of wood and coolness of concrete create an exciting textural dynamic in the interior. The lower level is comprised of bedrooms and private bathrooms, the upper one opens up to a living/dining area with the kitchen. The heated pool on the roof completes the design. Like the building itself, the interior is unadorned and simple. Well thought-out furniture pieces blend in nicely with the structural elements of the house. Nothing is there to distract from what this place is really about – stunning views of the mountain, serenity and peace.
This beautiful collection has been created by Netherlands based designer Benjamin Vermeulen. Called MAG (Magnetic Assisted Geometry), the line consists of three flat-packed pieces that can be assembled with magnets without the use of tools. The furniture, made from high-quality steel and wood, snaps together without any effort. Here is how designer describes his vision: My goal is to design for people. But that doesn’t necessarily mean mass production, I rather design something amazing than have something mass produced. Another goal of mine is to make simple designs that people instantly understand how to use. Another interesting aspect of this collection is the fact that it is customizable. The cabinet allows you to to select components based on the configuration you need. You can change front, select number of shelves, attach extra elements and so forth. And you can take everything apart in seconds for storage or transportation. A nice idea for a nomadic lifestyle.
These beautiful semi-wrinkle washi lamps have been designed by the famed Nendo for Taniguchi Aoya Washi, a traditional Japanese paper company. It is known for creating seamless washi paper, that looks and feels like plastic or glass. For this particular project, however, the technique has been modified in order to create a wrinkle effect. The designers explain: Adding devils tongue (konnyaku) to the mixture creates wrinkles that bring out the special characteristics of paper, but this process also conceals the fact that the forms are made with the traditional technique. After running into this problem, we decided to take the best of both worlds: to create lighting fixtures that are only half-formed with the wrinkle process. The wrinkles can be applied gradually so that the two different effects come together seamlessly. I love the delicate, almost fragile feel of these designs. The wrinkles look unintentional, as if they have happened by chance. A visual simplicity that took a lot of calculating and craftsmanship to achieve.
This beautifully minimal collection of cylindrical objects is a tableware set, created by Lisbon based designer Miguel Lopes. Titled +cinco, the line consists of five entities - a salad bowl, a bottle of olive oil, a bottle of vinegar, a set of condiments (salt shaker, pepper shaker and a third) with a support base and a set of containers for sauces. All pieces are tied together aesthetically by the similarity of their form. Lopes explains his concept: I opted to a shape that was the mother shape of the whole project: the circumference. This shape was chosen because it determines a cycle, a circuit, a development in progress, a line of cohesion, a materia which I wanted to use in the products that I have created, timeless, avant-garde and refined solid design undefined in time. I love the strong presence these piece have as a group and as each individual object. The +cinco collection is a participant in MUJI Award 04 International Design Competition in collaboration with André Hernâni Meca. Photography courtesy of Igor Alçada.