Minimalissimo


Niels-Peter Foppen

The details make the difference.

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.


In 1958 Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni designed the Babela Chair for the Milan Chamber of Commerce. The brothers created a light-weight chair with minimal clearance. One can easily move the chair, stack it and create long, straight, rows. The Italian contemporary furniture brand Tacchini adopted the 1950′s design in 2010. Unlike the original chair the frame is not made of iron but of Ash timber, available with a white, black, grey, walnut or natural finish. The seat features a removable cover and may be upholstered with fabric and leather. The Castiglioni brothers playfully explored new possibilities for form and created highly functional objects that are as aesthetically satisfying as they were practical. A timeless classic!


DesignByThem collaborated with Seaton Mckeon to create the Alfred magazine rack; a minimalist and convenient organizer for your magazines or books. The inspiration for Alfred came from the cartoon-like aesthetics and industrial functionality that is reminiscent of cranes and cherry pickers. Its design is focused on lasting durability and functionality. A central handle was added to make it easy to move the rack around the space. The magazine rack is made of powder coated aluminium and is available in four colors including yellow, black, white, and blue. There must be one that will match your interior. Photography by Grant Harvey.


This minimalist Piggy Bank is created by Selma Durand during her Master thesis of Industrial Design in ENSCI-Les Ateliers, Paris. Durand wanted to focus on the everyday situation where people collect pocket change without being aware of its value. In fact they usually put it in a pin tray where it stays untouched. Especially the cent coins are undervalued and one can use Piggy Bank to collect those. Piggy Bank, made of a ceramic outer container and a brass inner container, uses a clever hidden mechanism to weigh the pocket change as coins are stacking. Both containers level when the value of the coins is approximately 1 euro. I chose to focus on 1 euro because it is a standard unit which also corresponds to the price of a baguette, a coffee or a stamp. Being one stashing my pocket change in an old box, where it stays untouched, I really like the thought behind this minimalist piggy bank. Love the combination of materials too.


To inspire their audience with new ideas and materials, Menu collaborated with some of the worlds most talented designers. The Gridy Me mirror was designed by the Oslo based design studio Gridy by Lars Olav Dybdal and Wilhelm Grieg Teisner. Two parts. Easily assembled. One can position the mirror in portrait or landscape mode and then choose between a ‘normal’ mirror reflection glass or the opposite side in nostalgic, warm, copper tone. Whatever you decide, the lines of the smoked colour oak base will draw a unique landscape on each mirror. The dimensions make the Gridy Me mirror for a vanity mirror or as a decorative element in your bathroom or living area. The Norwegian designers, Dybdal and Grieg Teisner met during their study and together they aim to create streamlined design with a strong sense of personality and function. “Gridy” is a combination of their surnames.


Londen based design pratice DesignWright, founded by the brothers Jeremy & Adrian Wright, created a minimalist eye catching wrist watch named NUNO for Lexon. The NUNO wrist watch is a solid Quartz analog watch with a steel case and leather strap. The Wright brothers play with the expectations of a traditional watch; the traditional hands were replaced by two rotating discs. Two markers indicate the hours and minutes. The watch is completed with a simple steel case and leather strap. The NUNO wrist watch is suitable for both men and women. Currently there are four colour variants, all of which are equally attractive in their simplicity.