Minimalissimo


Niels-Peter Foppen

The details make the difference.

In collaboration with Nonino — a grappa brand with a 100-year history — the Dutch design bureau Scholten & Baijings has designed a grappa travel flask. Grappa is a distilled Italian alcoholic drink made from the left overs from winemaking. The travel flask is made of titanium with the latest production techniques. This high value material is not only strong and extremely light, but also corrosion resistant, which makes it ideal to transport and to store grappa. The top of the travel flask has a screwcap and a removable cup is positioned at the bottom. Perfect to enjoy a sip of grappa whilst on the road. Scholten & Baijings designed five different color series: dark blue, light blue, grey/green, yellow and red/pink. The flasks owe their color to a unique anodizing technique. Each color complements one of the five selected Nonino Grappa varieties. Although I’m not yet a particular fan of grappa myself, I really admire the appearance of the travel flask. I like the soft, clean lines and the material used. A personal favorite is the dark blue flask. Beautiful.


The Budnitz No.1 by Budnitz Bicycles is a stunning urban bicycle designed to last a lifetime. The model No.1 has a titanium cantilever frame engineered to absorb road shock while providing lateral stiffness for power and speed. I love the gentle curves! It gives the bicycle a classic appearance. The geometry makes the bicycle a relatively upright cycling position, which is ideal for navigating traffic during the high speed morning commute. Not only are the frame and fork comprised of titanium; also the seatpost, stem and handlebars are made of this high value material. Paul Budnitz, founder of Budnitz Bicycles, not only prefers this metal for its light weight and durability, but also because of its unique ride characteristics and renewable aesthetic. The carbon, maintenance-free, belt drive ensures a smooth, quieter, cycling experience. Budnitz — artist, designer, author, filmmaker & serial entrepreneur — wanted a bicycle that was fun to ride, elegant and timeless. Because he was not able to find a bicycle that matched his requirements, he decided to build his own. He even started a whole company to sell his vision of a perfect bicycle to others.


Trava is a lightweight, three season, single pole tent by Boreas Gear that is unlike any other tent you have seen. Boreas’ designers were inspired by the bridges of the Spanish neo-futuristic architect Santiago Calatrava. The striated supports of Calatrava’s bridges work both as function and aesthetic. Like the bridges, the packs by Boreas Gear use a reinforced ribcage patterning and the design team’s aim was to combine both ideas in the structure of the tent. I really like the clean lines of Calatrava’s work and how the team of Boreas applied a similar style in the design of their first tent. The two person tent really stands out from others with its bright white colour. The completely white fly and the full grayscale canopy and pole system really go well together. The rain fly has a window and offers a clear view to the surrounding nature. A separate footprint that provides full ground cover can add an extra element of protection under the vestibule space. Boreas Gear is a small independent outdoor gear company based in San Fransisco. The small collaborative has clear vision for the future of outdoor equipment. They see an opportunity for better products, designed from the ground up,...


Nendo has created a new minimalist stool, named Float, for Moroso with a stunning visual effect: the gentle curved seating appears to float in the air as two of the four legs have been cut off. A really nice twist for an otherwise simple stool stat consists of four steel, powder coated pipe legs and a rectangular plywood seating. That is what I really like about the designs by Nendo; they always try to give people a small “!” moment. Nendo’s aim was to create a varied, comfortable, seating experience. By utilising the structure of the cantilever, that only supports the back legs, a cushioned feel has been given, he explains. Float is available as a high stool or as a shorter foot stool. I imagine the high Float stool perfect for a kitchen bar. The shorter Float stool can be a handy side chair in your living room. Maybe you even transform this shorter stool into a side table when not in use as a stool. Photography by Akihiro Yoshida.


The Brick Lamp by HCWD Studio is a minimalist lamp that works very intuitively with a hand gesture. A warm toned light is activated when the lamp is raised and deactivated when laid flat. This clever switching mechanism is designed to work on all kinds of firm and horizontal surfaces. The side facets function as a natural handle and also direct the light when the lamp stands on its side. The lamps weight is engineered to make it stand stabilised. The objective is to capture the moment of light — being concealed and revealed. This unique lighting design would turn a quotidian routine into an enriching experience, providing an unexpected, fun quality to a daily object. The Brick Lamp is multi-functional and one can use the lamp wirelessly. A built-in battery allows the lamp to glow for up to five hours with a single charge. The housing of the Brick Lamp comes in three styles: concrete (light and dark), wood and metal (silver and black). My personal favorite is the metal (silver) edition with the matte finish on the facets and brush texture on the top surface.


The Knob Spice Grinder by Umbra Shift has a traditional look with a modern twist. The grinder consists of two parts: the grinder and a separate base. On top of the cylinder shaped grinder, one can see the grinders turning mechanism. This mechanism was inspired by an oven knob — an archetype for turning, the creators explain. The grinder includes an internal ceramic mechanism to finely grind spices. The separate base serves as a catch-all or pinch pot for freshly-ground spices. Ideal for cooking or presenting salt and pepper at the table. The grinder has a really nice aesthetic. The base and bowl are both made of beechwood and are available in natural, black and aqua finishes. My personal favorites are the natural and black finished grinders. The Knob Grinder is part of the inaugural collection of Umbra Shift, an extension of Umbra Studio focusing on contemporary collections, presented during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair last year. The mission of Umbra Shift is to rethink all manner of everyday items, in minimal design and for maximum effect.


Cologne based design studio Kaschkasch created a slim wallmounted, foldable desk named Fju. Folded down you have a small workspace with a smooth writing surface. When you are done you just place your belongings in the storage pockets under the desk and fold up. Now the storage pockets are revealed and the desk has transformed into a shelf. Within seconds you create some extra space when needed. Fju consists of two main components: a steel bracket, mounted to the wall, and the wooden body made of 8mm thick veneered oak plywood. Fju comes naturally finished or dyed with charcoal. Like Fju the products of design studio Kaschkasch, founded Florian Kallus and Sebastian Schneider, are characterized by precise lines and geometric shapes.


Fit Pack is a stylish, functional and minimalist gym/work bag designed and created by Aer from the San Fransico Bay Area. Fit Pack is a versatile backpack that you take with you to the office, gym and everywhere in between. We aim to create products that balance a clean, architectural aesthetic with smart functionality. The design is smart: distinct gym and work compartments keep your gear organized and protected. The front-load main compartment gives easy access to store your gym gear. A smaller separate compartment, lined with a moisture resistant polyester, gives space to store shoes or dirty clothes. But the 19L volume backpack has more to offer. The back compartment gives storage for office tools and accessories. The padded laptop pocket in the same compartment fits up to a 15″ MacBook Pro. Your personal items are always within reach with the quick access pocket on the top. The exterior is made of heathered polyester. This water repellent layer keeps your gear dry and protected. The stylish and minimalist appearance makes that the backpack is suitable for many occasions. Take it with you to the office and afterwards to the athletics track for a training. I think you can also...


Little Bishop is a clever, minimalist, ceiling hook specifically designed for cable hung pendant lights. Little Bishop, shaped and cast by hand, wears a lighting cable like a “cloak”. Smooth curved flowing channels in the hook guide the cable, locking itself down. The cable is a feature of the hook, eliminating the need of any knots or clamps. Little Bishop is available in three different post heights. Little Bishop is designed with eye for detail. The hook is unique in form and function. The hook is not a feature. Hanging seamless from the ceiling it just feels like it is part of the home. It is present but not overwhelming. The designer behind Little Bishop is Melbourne based Antony Richards from Hunter & Richards. Little Bishop was recently successfully funded on Kickstarter.


Gerard de Hoop, designer and interior architect from The Netherlands, has created a beautiful, minimalist, free standing bookshelf named Frames 2.0. My ambition is to make unique designs that carry the elements simplicity, surprise and versatility in them. Simplicity is mainly brought about by the use of basic geometric shapes. The bookshelf is a grid made of 12 wooden rectangle frames. De Hoop makes use of oak or American ash. When de frames are assembled the shelf has an inconsistent composition creating an interesting play of graphical lines. I love the negative space! The inset tracks give the opportunity to store books but you can also place a hanging planter and use Frames 2.0 as a room divider. Thanks to its clever design one can easily dissamble the bookshelf and store it into a pair of flat boxes. Ideal for transport.


We are now halfway through winter in the Northern Hemisphere and one needs quality apparel to face the elements. The Styrman is a waterproof topcoat by San Francisco based Mission Workshop. Their aim is to help you cover the most ground possible. The Styrman, made in Vancouver, British Columbia, is their take on the classic topcoat improved with all the advantages of modern technical outerwear. The jacket is constructed of c_change fabric developed by Schoeller from Switzerland. This membrane reacts to different prevailing conditions. It does not only take temperature into account but also humidity and body moisture. The waterproof-breathable membrane, with taped seams, gives full protection against rain, wind and snow. The storm hood is removable if you prefer. The wool exterior of this smart jacket gives a tailored appearance. The Styrman is available in charcoal or grey. A great jacket for daily commute and outdoor use!


Switzerland based studio Kind of Design launched earlier this year their debut collection of furniture, called M°1. The collection consists of a table, taboret, lamp and fruit bowl but I would like to highlight the chair: Chaise M°1. As seen from the front there is a nice contrast between the slim legs and solid backrest and seat. From the side one can see the graphic lines I like so much about the M°1. Look for instance at how the back chair legs are shaped. Like the other collection pieces the Chaise M°1 is made out of thermo lacquered aluminium. The chair is available in a set vibrant matte colours: white, black, red and yellow.