Minimalissimo


Niels-Peter Foppen

The details make the difference.

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.


Atelier Peekaboo recently created a minimalist ceramic piggy bank named Sur les toits. The English translation is “on top of the roofs” and refers to the place where they found inspiration for the shape of the design. One easily inserts the money in the slot on top of the piggy bank and incase one needs the money, there is no need to crack the ceramic; just angle the piggy bank and shake gently. The prototypes, ranging in colours and sizes, have been handcrafted by the Fribourg based ceramist Peter Fink. Atelier Peekaboo was founded in 2008 by two Swiss designers from Neuchâtel. Damien Ummel and Thierry Didot met during their studies at the École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL). The two decided to strenght forces and by permanently questioning the industrial designer’s role in a society surrounded by objects, they try to provide elements to respond to it.


New Zealand based Boskke tries to improve conventional gardening tools and products for contemporary urban lifestyles. Boskke is derived from the old English word ‘bosky’ which means ‘a small forest’ and that’s exactly what you can create! Their latest creation is the Boskke Cube; a minimalist self-watering planter you need to water only once a month. The body is actually one big water reservoir and a slow watering system allows water to feed up into the soil, keeping your plant healthy and watered for extended periods. The transparent polycarbonate body reveals the soil and roots and allows you to witness firsthand the growth of your ‘boskke’. Boskke cube is available in 3 sizes – small, 3 small and large – you suit your needs for your urban garden.


In February Noon Studio launched their latest iternation of the steel stool we have featured in the past. I did like the previous edition, the simple construction and use of honest materials, but I like the latest iternation even better. The founders of Noon Studio, Gautier Pelegron and Vincent Taiani, have worked on a few important details in the construction and decided to powder coat paint the high grade steel sheet. I love the contrast of the oiled European ash and the black steel. Pelegron and Taiani say the stool is influenced by traditional English craftsmanship and Provencal (southeastern France) rawness. The stool tries to express the direct simplicity found in real traditional antique Provencal furniture and the know-how of British craftsmanship which still holds today. The stool is not just a stool. One can easliy use it as a side or coffee table, book holder or shelving system.


Nendo have designed, for their own brand by | n, a new stationery collection. The collection consists of eleven minimalist items: the flip pen, contrast ruler, circle tags, link clips, rubber bands, outline tray, cross pen-stand, peel pen-case, hard cover memo-pad, edge note and the dot envelope. I would like to feature four items that caught my eye: Contrast ruler A minimalist ruler with marking fading from white to black, making the ruler easy to read on dark and light surfaces. Circle tag Normal sticky notes can be easily ripped off. The pie chart shaped notes however will stay in place for a long period of time thanks to an increased sticky surface and reduced number of corners. Link clip The link clips, made of high frictional paper, come connected and are detached one by one for use. Desktops keep tidy and they can be recycled along with the paper. Edge notes The edge notebooks have a colourful edge to help with filling. Filed with the spine outwards the books present a neat appearance, filed with the edges outwards the books are distinguishable by colour. Pages of the books are printed in a light cross pattern to provide enough guidance but less restrictive than lines....


Strike is an eye-catching collection of redesigned matchboxes in seven different dimensions and colours. Clara von Zweigbergk and Shane Schneck joined forces for Danish design house HAY to rethink the ordinary matchbox. They combined the original functionality of a matchbox with a colourful cardboard box. The striking area once was just functional now it is part of the design pattern on each box. The common matchbox is used almost exclusiving for advertising while the intricate red phosphorus pattern along the sides are secondary to the advert. Strike honors the activity of creating a flame. Strike is available in the colours fluorescent red, fluorescent yellow, fluorescent orange, turquoise, light blue, mint green and apricot. Strike was recently awarded with a Wallpaper Design Award 2014 for “Best Fireside”. The awards are an annual celebration of things that caught the magazines eye over the last year.


Lapka has introduced another clever health tracking accessory: the Breath Alcohol Monitor. The Lapka BAM is an accessory for your phone that allows you to track alcohol metabolism over time and compare and share your measurements with friends. Another piece where technology and aesthetics come together in harmony. Lapka BAM is a minimalist black ceramic cylinder, that uses inaudible sound waves to communicate wireless with a custom app on your smartphone. The use of the Lapka BAM is easy: hold it in your fist, take a deep breath and blow for four seconds. The edge of your hand becomes the mouthpiece. The BAM icon on your phone screen will fill up completely when finished. The design of the app is cleverly done: the more drunk one is, the simpler the appearance of the app becomes. One sees an indication of the current blood alcohol level along with a description of what that means in practical terms.


Ninebyfour is a minimalist LED ceiling lamp by the Amsterdam based studio Waarmakers. The LED light tubes do not generate any heat during use, allowing the creators to use atypical materials for the fixture: wood and cork. Every year thousands of trees are felled in the Amsterdam area. Usually the city trees disappear from root to branch in a shredder. The wood for the Ninebyfour fixture however comes from these salvaged trees. The former location of the ‘unfortunate’ trees are stamped on the cork. Simply enter the coordinates in Google maps and find out the trees’ origins. A first batch, from the Albert Neuhuysstraat, is now available.