Minimalissimo


Natalia Repolovsky

The more you know, the less you need.

Nostromo is a minimalist note taking app for iPhone, created by studio Coloramama. It allows you taking notes, making photos, incorporating existing images from your phone library, and creating sketches all in one interface. The navigation is fluid, intuitive, and requires zero learning curve. I love the cross-shaped control that lets you switch between the four functions. It is also pleasing that the app loads extremely fast on my phone. A slick, simplified tool for note taking that is delightful to the senses.


ZenPen is a minimalist web-based writing interface created by Tim Holman. The project is simple and intuitive. It involves no downloads, no sign-up and no learning curve. To get started, simply remove the default text from the web page and start writing your own words. The functions of ZenPen are rather basic. You can use bold, italics, URLs and quotation formatting by highlighting the text and selecting an option them from the box that appears above it. The unobtrusive menu in the upper left corner lets you toggle fullscreen, invert colors, set your target word count and save your text in three formats. ZenPen also seems to remember your text, so if you closed the page by mistake, you can come back to your work and continue where you left off. I would like to have more font options, but overall it is a great distraction free writing tool.


This minimalist lamp is a recent creation of the Japanese studio YOY, who’s work we previously featured. The piece, laconically titled Light, is a modern take on an old concept. It breathes new life into a familiar lampshade idea. Thanks to the cleverly shaped LED fixture, the lamp produces a lampshade-like projection on the wall. I love the humor of this lamp. The poll is shaped like a socket, creating an illusion of the invisible lightbulb. The piece comes in two forms, as a table and floor lamp. It has debuted at the 2014 Milano Salone.


Most minimalist lighting projects shun wires, treat them like an eyesore that should be hidden from view. Paris based designer Arik Levi embraced the enemy and made it a focal point of his pendant light collection Wireflow for the Spanish brand Vibia. These lights consist of thin extra long metal rods with the LED fixtures on its ends. These long wires can create various two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes. I love how sculpturesque these lamps are. Who would have thought that a simple thread of metal and a light could create such powerful presence in a room. The Wireflow collection has won the Wallpaper Design Award 2014 as the Best Line Work.


This serene spa and wellness centre has been built by David Chipperfield Architects. It occupies two floors of the historic hotel Cafe Royal in London, and creates a perfect balance between minimalist austerity and the old world elegance that surrounds it. This project is also an ode to some of the most exquisite textures. The spa features two carrara marble hammams, a Finish sauna in solid hemlock with domed ceiling, a stainless steel jacuzzi and solid marble private jacuzzis in the treatment rooms. I love how the idea of luxury has been approached in this design, by focusing on things that truly matter: open space, honest materials and the sense of simplicity and grace.


Clinq hanger by German-Latvian studio Flow Design is an idea so simple and logical, it is almost taunting. These magnetic hangers attach to any metal tube or surface without hooks. The user only needs to move the piece next to a metallic bar, and it snaps in place with a satisfying click. The magnets are strong enough for the hanger to support the weight of two kilos. Another neat thing about this design is that magnets naturally repel each other, creating even gaps between the hangers in the closet. And if you are not using some of the hangers, you can easily stack them on top of each other to save space. Clinq is handmade in the EU, using local resources, and comes in black, white and natural birch. Watch the video to see this hanger in action.


The Check mirror has been designed by Florian Kallus and Sebastian Schneider of studio Kaschkasch Cologne for Danish brand Menu. Minimal in its form, the piece is also conscious of the space it occupies. Thanks to the triangle on top, the mirror can securely fit in any corner and take advantage of areas that are often left unused. And if the mirror is balanced against a flat surface, the triangle-shaped frame can be used as a rail for hanging clothes. Designers explain: Our products are casual and voguish at the same time. Precise lines and geometrical shapes give them a distinct impression, which we like to combine with intriguing colour combinations for the additional Kaschkasch touch. We want each design to offer something extra, discovered by the user little by little. The curved metal frame comes in black, white or moss green. Check has been displayed at the Stockholm Furniture Fair earlier this year.


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.


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.