Minimalissimo


Natalia Repolovsky

The more you know, the less you need.

The House of the Infinite, recently completed by Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza, is more than a dwelling, it also an impressive piece of landscape architecture. Erected on the seashore, the building features a long horizontal plane, that merges with the sea view, appearing almost as a continuation of the horizon. The architect gives his poetic description of the concept: On a marvelous place like a piece of earthly paradise, at Cádiz, we have built an infinite plane facing the infinite sea, the most radical house we have ever made. At the very edge of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, where the sea unites the new and the old continent, emerges a stone platform. At the place where all the ships from the Mediterranean used to pass and still pass by as they head off into the Atlantic. To accentuate this dramatic idea, all the terrain has been moved as far back as the entrance wall separating the building from the street. Because the main entrance to the house is located on the roof platform, all public areas are concentrated on the upper level. It houses the living room, dining area, kitchen and a massive balcony. Bedroom suits are located on...


This small and minimalist timepiece by Korean studio Elevenplus encompasses 24 different timezones in its body. The trick is in the cylinder that allows you to view and switch between geographic locations in a single intuitive motion. Simply rotate the clock to put the desired timezone on top, and you will have the correct time. The designers explain: Let’s say someone living in New York wants to know the time in London. When it is 5:57 pm in New York, you can see that is is 10:57 pm in London if you roll the clock so that London appears on top. See the number on the clock to read the hour and the position of the minute hand to read the minutes. The hands of this world clock move independently from the rest of its body, so they quickly transition to any timezone. The piece comes in three colors: gray, blue and orange. Check out the video to see the clock in action.


This asymmetrical pen by London based studio Beyond Object, employs the intuitive desire of a human mind to align and organize things. The piece is composed of three sections. When not in use, the middle section is dislocated from the rest of the the body. To use it, twist this middle part until it aligns with the lower section. Designers explain: Simplicity, quality, function and innovation have been the central tenets during the design process throughout this project. The mechanism we designed for this pen is completely unique, yet intuitive and reliable. We wanted to transcend the classical twisting or clicking mechanisms by developing this precise and user friendly piece of engineering. The pen comes in two sizes and three finishes. Check out the video to see this design in action.


This minimal wristwatch, aptly called Moreless, has been created by Denny Liao and Karen Han of Los Angeles based design studio, Mean. The watch face is clear of any visual clutter, the time increments are displayed on the inner side wall of the timepiece. As you tilt your hand, your reading of the time becomes more precise. You see less when you look straight at the watch, you see more at an angle. Here is how the designers describe their concept: The project explores a simple way for a watch to display time based on the user’s level of curiosity. There are many ways to communicate time on a watch, but how specific does the information need to be? The answer varies depending on the occasion. In most cases, you might just want to get a rough idea of the time of the day. Or rather, when an important meeting is coming up, you might want the information shown on the watch to be very specific. Thus, we asked ourselves: can some of the information on the watch be kept out of sight when not needed, and only appear as it becomes relevant to the user? The end result is an extremely minimal watch...


Beam armchair is a minimalist design created by the Netherlands based studio Oato in collaboration with woodworking company Kuperus & Gardenier. The piece has been inspired by stacked beam structures used in many cultures. Designers explain their process: All the structural elements are squared, like wooden construction beams. All parts that involve sitting or touching are rounded and have different profiles accenting their own character and role. The price of the chair is quite approachable, especially considering the fact that it is mostly handmade. Another important achievement by the designers… The piece is made of oak with natural oil finish.


One of world’s most prolific studios, Nendo, recently unveiled another beautiful minimalist design. Snap Glasses are made from light, flexible polycarbonate resin and envisioned for those of us who need reading and computer spectacles. When folded, they snap onto the nose supports (hence the name), which allows them to stay in place and create a thin profile. Another fun element is the interchangeable arms, that detach at the temples, so you can enjoy different colour combinations. The available colours are black, red, beige, grey, matte brown, matte green, matte blue and matte dark grey. Snap Glasses are  exclusively available from Seibu department stores.


St. Petersburg based designer Lesha Galkin created this clever minimalist desk organizer, called Shkatulka (Russian for ‘keepsake box’). The piece unfolds to reveal the series of modular components, allowing you to hold your pencils, papers, paper clips, notepads and other desk essentials. Here is how Galkin reflects on this project: Caskets with a ‘secret’, special opening mechanism, were very popular in Russia from ancient times and were used for keeping valuables and important items. Storage kit Shkatulka has a secret too, as well as valuable contents. It is a set of various modules. You can change their combination depending on the functional needs. I like the versatility of this design. You can expand it, if the space allows, or keep it compact. I also love the combination of wood and marble. It was is a collaborative effort. The woodwork was made by Pavel Brick and Matthias Marte of Verstak, and Aleksandr Baharev of Formadimarmo carved the marble.


Duncan Shotton, a young British designer based in Japan, created this fun and simple timepiece, called Color O’Clock. The all-white disk features a window at its base which slowly shifts through all colors of the spectrum, greens, purples, blues, and everything in between. This changing element allows you to tell the time through hue and tone. I love that the clock itself blends with the wall, only leaving the hands and the colorful window visible. Shotton thinks that this method of reading time is more relaxed and intuitive. The clock base is made of plastic, the hands are made of matt steel. Check out the video to see the piece in action.


Barcelona based designer Adolfo Abejon created this simple and witty lamp, aptly called Slim. Constructed from an iron pipe, the piece resembles the shape of the traditional post-and-shade lamp. The familiar form is stripped down to its mere outline, making Slim a minimalist version of the timeless classic. Abejon explains: The lamps play a joke on themselves. This collection reminds the archetype of lamps composed of a lampshade, a central body and the base. The design keeps this idea by breaking the parts and keeping the important things: a pipe is enough to hold the bulb and the lampshade is used just to protect the bulb in case of falling down. The lamp comes in floor and table versions and in three colors: black, white and turquoise.


Pebble 2 is a minimalist smartphone wireless charger and bluetooth speaker by the French studio Orée. The piece is handcrafted from solid wood or marble and seamlessly blends with any workspace. The technology behind the product is quite intuitive and requires no learning curve. Simply place your smartphone on the Pebble 2 and your phone starts charging automatically and syncs instantly via bluetooth to the audio system built inside the Pebble. You can now enjoy the music or make hands-free phone calls. Here is how the designers describe their idea: Smartphones fit our mobile lifestlyle like a glove. Yet when we are at home or in the office, they just feel bulky: we’re never quite sure where we leave them, we scramble for the power cable to make sure they are charged up for our next errand and we cope with the poor sound quality of the built-in loudspeaker when we want to conveniently make hands-free calls or listen to music. We created Oree Pebble 2 so your smartphone elegantly fits your lifestyle at home or in the office. The device uses bluetooth and standard QI technology to wirelessly charge most Android devices. Because this technology is not yet embedded in iPhones, they...


This collection of simple leather sleeves for Apple devices has been created by the Dutch company Mujjo. All pieces are simple, slim and at the same time provide enough room to carry your iThing plus a few extras. The iPhone and iPad cases are folded from a single piece of leather in such a way that there is an integrated pocket for your papers, cards, earphones and other essentials. The Macbook sleeves feature felt for extra padding. They have a compartment inside to fit your stuff. Here is how designers explain their vision: We obsessively try to keep it as simple as possible, while trying to make each part as good as possible, every stitch, every button, they have all been intensively thought out. While it’s not easy to keep things simple, it does pay off to create a product that is perfect in a sense of simplicity to that extent that you cannot leave anything away without compromising it’s intention. I love the functionality of these pieces. While slimming the lines, designers did not strip away the comfort. I would appreciate more colors though.


Armada armchair has been created by Croatia-based designer Zoran Jedrejcic. The base of the piece is comprised of a steel frame covered in wood, and the seat features a thin steel layer covered in high quality leather. This combination gives Armada the structural integrity it needs while preserving the weightless appearance. I love how sculpturesque and beautifully balanced the piece looks. Additional elements, such as cushions, upholstery and back support, can be added to Armada via magnets. Different types of leather and wood are available. The chair can also be made to order and accommodate custom measurements.