Minimalissimo


Natalia Repolovsky

The more you know, the less you need.

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.


Young Canadian designer Mark Parsons is the creative force behind this beautiful light object. Aptly called Silhouette, the piece repeats Edison’s classic in shape, but surpasses it greatly in function. Designer explains:  The objective was to create a lamp that can adapt from wall, ceiling, floor or task lighting, while being manufactured to be as inexpensive & environmentally friendly as possible. The name Silhouette sprung from a literal nod at the traditional form of the incandescent light bulb whose basic design and form had remained unchanged for over 100 years.  If you want to hang it from the ceiling (my favorite option), you can use a special adaptor that comes with the lamp. Silhouette is a concept piece so far, and I really hope it sees the light of production.


Heart of Gold is a new edition of the stunning concrete kitchen line we featured in one of our previous posts. Designed by Martin Steininger and Michael Paar, Heart of Gold adheres to the same minimalist principles as its predecessor. The seamless look is reinforced by several new elements – hidden water outlet in the sink, magnetic drawer partitions, ceramic hobs visible or hidden by an automatic panel. I love that in spite of its technological sophistication, the piece looks austere and uncluttered. All elements are modular and can fit together in various combinations. The kitchen can be made from three materials – grey or brown concrete, ceramic and natural stone.


Picto wall clock is a minimalist timepiece created by Steen Georg Christensen and Erling Andersen for Rosendahl. Inspired by the Picto watch, this piece features the same rotating dial principle as its predecessor. Hours are marked with a simple dot and minutes by a conventional moving hand. I love bold color combinations – light-grey and pink, dark-grey and lime. The clock also comes in two variations of black and white. There is no glass to catch reflections, leaving your view perfectly clear from any angle.


This tranquil space is an assisted reproduction clinic, completed by Barcelona based designer Susanna Cots. The owners wanted to avoid sterile coldness of a hospital and put their clients at ease with a warm, welcoming atmosphere. At the same time, the interior had to look and feel professional and trustworthy. Here is how designer explains her concept: We have designed a space aimed to creating connections through sensitivity and emotions. In the project, the materialization of this bond to life is very visual. On one hand, the reception-waiting room has been created as one piece so that clients feel accompanied all the time. On the other, the corridor that connects this area with the consulting rooms has been projected as a great wooden cube slightly illuminated –again, looking for the roots in nature- that symbolizes the transition to life. The corridor is not the only feature that bears a double meaning. Nearly every element of this interior is symbolic. Two large oak trees, greeting customers at the entrance, represent strength and family values. And the minimalist whiteness of the place symbolizes purity and new beginnings.


PA1 (an acronym for Proper Audio) is a minimal mountable aluminium bodied bluetooth speaker, made by Australian studio Proper. Designers tried to create a combination of laconic beauty and powerful sound. The result is being currently founded through Kickstarter. Here is how they describe it: PA1 connects wirelessly to virtually every smart phone, tablet and computer, regardless of operating system. We’ve selected a premium Bluetooth module, with close consideration to antenna placement ensuring clear, consistent pairing and audio streaming. PA1 also remembers up to 5 devices, so you’ll only ever need to pair the first time you turn it on. The On, Off, and Pairing commands are operated intuitively via a single button. The device is versatile, it can be moved from one room to another, mounted on a wall or placed on a shelf or desk. The interchangeable fabric covers are available in black and white.


P.A.C.O. is a minimalist bluetooth speaker created by Italian studio Digital Habit(s). This is a stand-alone piece, it can be placed on a desk, shelf or any other surface. Here is how designers describe it: P.A.C.O. is a digital loudspeaker manufactured in concrete and Fir Harmonic Board. The body, heavy and amorphous, enhances the deepness of bass and the harmonic wood gives warmth to the treble. Aside from the bluetooth controls, the speaker can be operated via hand gestures. For example you can place and hold your hand over one side of the sensor to change volume. And to stop the music, you can just cover the sensor with your hand. Simple and intuitive.


Creative minimalist minds at Tokyo based Naruse Inokuma Architects (Jun Inokuma & Yuri Naruse) came up with this unusual piece of tableware. One For All plate is a serving piece, designed for multiple dishes. Crafted from a single piece of wood, the elongated plate has differently sized indentations, allowing you to plan your salads, snacks, condiments etc. I love the fluidity of this piece. Designers purposely chose the natural wood shade in order to visually blend the plate with the table. This way the dinnerware disappears, and only the food remains in focus.