Minimalissimo


Niels-Peter Foppen

The details make the difference.

The German design label Studio Hausen has rethought a modern classic of design; the hanging shelf. The link shelf is stripped down to the essentials; a number of massive ash wood shelve boards and a set of black steel mounting brackets. I like the contrast of the natural wood and dark steel and the open structure of the shelf. The open character makes the shelf perfect to store and display acquired treasures. One can easily arrange, and expand, the elements of the shelf by himself adapted to his needs and space requirements and play with the many potential compositions. The link shelf was exclusively availabale in two variants through MONOQI and was a real hit.


The minimalist Nadia coat stand by Matsuso T is constructed from wooden poles with equall diameter. The coat stand has a neat look in addition to an expansive impression reminiscent of trees. This impression is even stronger when two or more stands are placed right next to each other, creating a little forest. The stand, aswell as the other pieces of the Nadia series, has been developed by focusing on a particular method, known as ‘kumiki’, which uses interlocking construction techniques. Many of the woodworking techniques used by Japanese carpenters originate  from Japanse shopwrights. The maritime industry has been a driving force behind the innovation of wood construction for centuries and with the Nadia series the creators wanted to give an affectionate nod towards the wooden vessels of times gone by.


The Sa, currently being funded through Kickstarter, is an innovative, minimalist, geometric umbrella that reimagines structure, form, and aesthetics, with improved efficiency. I love the modern appearance of the canopy design. Like origami the Sa uses planar tension to generate its form. The inner and outer canopies, made of highly recyclable waterproof plastic, expand and contract in unison to open and close the umbrella. As a result the Sa is lighter than a traditional umbrella since there is no need for an inner, metal, skeleton. The canopy design is great, but also have a look at the internalized mechanism to open and close the umbrella. One simply needs to rotate the bottom of the handle to open the Sa. The spring-loaded mechanism will open the umbrella. To close just pull on the handle. Magnets are embedded along the perimeter of the panels allowing an effortless tight closure of the umbrella after use. Since the umbrella finds its roots in origami the creators Justin Nagelberg and Matthew Waldman created the name “Sa” from a combination of Japanese words: “kasa”(umbrella), “same” (rain) and “sasu” (the verb used to describe holding an umbrella). The Sa is offered in cyan, yellow, magenta, black, grey and...


Copenhagen based multidisciplinary design studio Norm Architects created a beautiful, minimalist, grinder. The Bottle Grinder shares the shape of a bottle and is designed to intrigue your senses and leave you curious. The ceramic body, which is available in multiple natural Scandinavian colours, and wooden grinder top combine really well and give a strong impression at first sight. The Bottle Grinders look nothing like the grinders you’re used to. And that’s the whole plan. To create something noticeable and to change a well known thing into something brand new – as a way to encourage people to try new things. The grinder has a comfortable size and weight to handle. The upside down design secures that salt or pepper sprinkles out, when you grind only. One can easily adjust the coarseness by turning the top. A timeless, durable, kitchen tool with appealing design for you cooks out there!


The Mist Cabinet by Rachel Harding is a display cabinet that curates your view. The cabinet uses a minimalist construction to create a series of clear cast acrylic boxes that react to various viewing angles. Thanks to a special coating the opacity of each box flutters between transparent and translucent as you pass by, “creating an intriguing choreography of hidden and seen” as Harding describes. I wanted to re-invent the idea of the traditional display cabinet. Instead of simply falling into the background, this cabinet interacts with the objects inside, and encourages the user to take a second look. The advantages of acrylic glass is its capacity to refract and filter light and being light weight. Acrylic glass however can have a ‘cold’ appearance and will not fit in every interior. Rachel Harding works, in addition to her studio work as an in-house designer for Droog Design, creating in-house collections and design concepts. Harding seeks to surprise with her work drawing inspiration from unexpected materials and contexts.


Tokyo based Ito Bindary has a rich history and creates beautiful products since the establishment of the notebook bindery plant back in 1938. Since 2009 started the sales of self-produced Memo Blocks. It is their current collection of Memo Blocks I would like to share with you. The Memo Block has a base of thick paperboard made from recycled cardboard providing stability and heft. The base gives a nice contract with the paper sheets on top. The precision-cut edges and  smooth surface makes these blocks perfect for notetaking and sketching out ideas. Each Memo Block, containing 350 tear-off sheets, come in a range of colours and modular sizes (107x107mm, 150x107mm and 257x75mm). The smallest block is available in four colours including a bright red. The other sizes are available in white, grey and black. If you use the black paper sheets it shows your writing in silver when you use a pencil.


Let me present you the minimalist Classic watch by Melbourne based AÃRK Collective. What I like about the Classic watch are the little geometric details. The first hand, outlined by a dodecagon representing the hours, is simple but the minute hand, in which a small hexagon is integrated, stands out. The hexagon is also used as an outline for the independent second representing the seconds. The crown is triangle shaped. Perfectly balanced in design and function, this watch is a true representation of AÃRK. The band and outershell is made from durable plastic while an internal case made of stainless steel protects the Japanse Quartz movement. The finish on both the case and the band is matte satin which makes the Classic soft to touch and comfortable to wear. The Classic is available in multiple colours. Pick one that suits your taste, mood and outfit.


Los Angeles based West of West created, in cooperation with Chris Noell, an experimental surfboard; Aero. A board built around the streamlined image of speed. The classic outlines of a planing hull blend with an asymmetrical split tail. The top is minimal while the bottom is extensively contoured. Ridges and valleys emerge from the bottoms surface, forming a new topography that reacts to speed and flow in unique ways. It is the contrast between top and bottom, connected by the striking split tail that I particularly like. Notable is the fin missing at the bottom and I wonder how that influences the directional stability. I imagine it can take a while to tame the board before you can head out and conquer impressive barrels. Aero was built for and displayed at the Architecture and Design Museum of Los Angeles.


Australia-based creative duo Daniel Emma created two little desktop organizers for indispensable items like paper clips and pushpins; Cork Cone & Magnetic Tower. The cone, 90 x 130mm, and tower, 65 x 100mm,are made of natural cork. For those who want more contract in material and colour; the tower available in ash as well. I love the simplicity of the desktop organizers with their geometric shapes and natural materials and appearance. Originally both organizers were produced as part of the D.E. desk, a range of self produced desktop accessories. Now they are Daniel Emma’s contribution to Sebastian Wrong’s on-going WRONG FOR HAY collection commissioned by Hay.


P-11 is a minimalist, polygon shaped chair designed by Maxim Scherbakov. A beautiful chair for a modern interior. The main goal was to create a chair with complex polygonal shapes simple to manufacture without using any fasteners. The white lacquered metal frame gives a solid and reliable base for the plywood triangle shaped segments that form the seat and back. The plywood segments are glued together. Between each segment there is a narrow opening that continues to the armrests and legs. The lacquered metal gives a nice contrast with the plywood emphasising the lines cutting across seat and back. Maxim Scherbakov is one of the founders of Plan—S23, a St. Petersburg based design studio focusing on furniture, product and interior design.


London based creative Josiah Jones created a compartmentalised tray in order to create the perfect formation for any given meal. The tray has 20 individual magnetised compartments that can be mixed and matched together. Jones initiated this project during his graduation year at Chelsea College of Art & Design. He wanted to investigate the idea that food fuels creativity; including what you eat, where you eat it and how you eat it. Creative professionals were invited for a social ‘work’ lunch and they could choose their ideal lunchtime meals. Lunch in exchange for their time, ideas and advice. Initiate relationships within the design industry. I really like the way you can play with the compartments and section off the different foods. The execution is also very impressive — geometric shaped nylon components and subtle integrated tiny magnets to connect the components with each other. I hope this tray will be taken into production, as I would be very interested in purchasing one.


The Japanese architect Shigeru Ban created an innovative, minimalist and elegant floor lamp for FontanaArte, named Yumi. In Japanese, Yumi means “bow” and that is exactly what this floor lamp looks like. Delicate, the stem is only 10mm thick, and strong. A clean design and simple shape that blends into a lightweight structure. The slim shape was made possible by the use of LED lights, integrated in the black composite and carbon fibre coated structure. The base is made of black lacquered metal. All wiring is hidden within. I love that. I think a lamp with such a minimalist appearance fits in any environment. Would it fit in your interior? It is said Shigeru Ban is not interested in the newest materials and techniques in designsbut he is definitely innovative and need the newest tools to make his ideas come alive. The fact Ban was the first architect in Japan to construct a building out of paper illustrates his innovative thinking.