Minimalissimo


Categorized “Architecture”

The Australian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale is complete, just in time for the opening of the 56th Biennale in May of this year. The International Art Exhibit, taking place once every two years, has been held in Venice’s Giardini della Biennale, or the Biennale Gardens, since 1895. It is traditional for architects to design their home country’s pavilion as a unique identifier for their nation. The gardens include works by architecture greats such as Carlo Scarpa, Gerrit Rietveld, and Alvar Aalto. Australia’s Pavilion was in major need of an update: the country had been using the same temporary structure since 1988. Designed by Melbourne-based firm Denton Corker Marshall, the new pavilion’s dark square mass looms powerfully over its bordering canal. The facade is made from large slabs of black granite which protrude at points, allowing natural light to enter the windowless interior. The entrance floats on a concrete terrace, accessed by a dark steel ramp. On the canal side, the structure cantilevers slightly; this subtle gesture both embraces and respects the distinct environment. The interior is a clean, white box: the perfect canvas for various art exhibits. Australia’s sculpture-like pavilion is sure to be a hit at this Biennale and many...


Celebrated minimalist architect John Pawson has created an ethereal physical space for London-based label and designer Christopher Kane‘s very first boutique on Mount Street. Kane’s designs in no way have a minimalist language, with bright colors and geometric patterns in the current season. Yet Pawson’s space is a match made in contrast heaven with the use of off-white surfaces, mirrored walls and glass vitrines and display shelves. Accessories are displayed on fluorescent-coloured plates that rest on glass shelves in the wall as a small subtle hint to Kane’s effervescent designs. Using highly polished stainless-steel mirroring on the rail down the staircase that connects womenswear on the ground floor to the menswear on the lower floor, the descent is illuminated by a large cylindrical chandelier that emphasizes the volume of this atrium. The rail sits recessed into the wall, a clever architectural detail of Pawson’s, so clothes can be hung on display along the shape of the rail. Having designed only a small number of retail spaces, Calvin Klein Collections Store in New York being one of them, John Pawson’s retail portfolio can look forward to the expansion of more Christopher Kane’s stores, since establishing the brand’s spatial identity in this beautiful, minimalist architecture.


This unassuming family home in Finland is designed by OOPEAA, or Office for Peripheral Architecture. OOPEAA strives for an architecture that finds its inspiration in the state of being in-between – between urban and rural, but always in relationship to both; between a deep respect for tradition and an appreciation of the contemporary. House Riihi is the perfect example of OOPEAA’s mission. House Riihi is reminiscent of a traditional Finnish cottage, stationed alone in an often snowy field in the small village of Alajärvi. The home is comprised of three buildings: the main house, a garage, and a lofted studio. The pale wood structure sits low to the ground and is arranged around an inner garden. This arrangement is inspired by Finnish farms, where cottages were positioned around a central courtyard. With this composition, the garden is protected from the harsh climate and becomes a peaceful refuge all year long. The interior is clad from floor to ceiling in natural and white-painted spruce. The light colors allow House Riihi to feel airy and bright, as well as warm and cozy. Minimal furnishings, some matching the spruce of the walls, create an atmosphere of openness where the home’s architecture can really shine. House Riihi is...


The Cozy House, located in a populated residential area of Japan’s Shiga prefecture is an interesting and strategic architectural project developed by Japanese architect Kouichi Kimura, founder of local firm FORM. This beautiful grey house is built on one of the small sites crowded with houses and surrounded by narrow roads. With these conditions, the architect designed a compact house that includes enriched inner spaces with strategically placed windows to create privacy for residents. A great solution. In small houses I like to see custom furniture that delimits and emphasises the space throughout. In Cozy House, furniture is integrated into the architecture, including a padded bench set into the back of the balustrade. A long concrete bench runs along the front of the dark wooden wall, providing a storage area. These solutions make the project very elegant and functional. The architect explains: The comfortableness, which is produced by the small space and would hardly be realised by a broad space, was my major fascination of this house. A small and intimate house with a beautiful simplicity. Photography courtesy of Kimikazu Tomizawa.


This Nendo designed chocolate shop is located in a small storefront plot in Tokyo’s Ginza District. The illustrious Nendo created this shop for the Belgian chocolatiers BbyB, who describe their treats as “haute couture chocolate.” It is only fitting that the BbyB Ginza store be held to the same high standard as the products sold in it. The long and narrow shop is cut in half by a central glass case equipped with rows of drawers to hold the chocolate bars. This glass case lets the colorful packaging of BbyB’s product to take center stage. Nendo designed each flavor to be displayed in its own glass case, with the drawers of the product installed directly behind. This warrants the user to browse the sweets at ease, opening each drawer in search of the perfect treat. The chocolate bar design, printed in white, is displayed on the walls behind the glass case. White marble floor tiles and recessed lighting allow the physicality of the store to melt away, so the customer is only focused on the delicious chocolates in front of them. A cafe is located in the back of the shop and follows a similar design as the front. The glass display case becomes...


Ando Corporation’s Rooms project is a submerged Japanese house set into hillside, peaking out over the ocean. This minimalist series of volumes that all seem to play cooperatively together in the landscape, are a stark and beautiful contrast to the coastal terrain. At nearing 290 sqm, Rooms is a modest nod to the Japanese lifestyle; discreet, contained and respectful. Each volume of white plaster seems to come together seamlessly through a series of walkways and terraces, to create this unassuming sanctuary, nestled in the sloping elevation. The site’s location is optimally primed to maximize on the incredible Pacific Oceanic aspect. Fenestration is purposely restrained to not be full-height, to frame views and to leave some of the unknown, unknown. Set in Wakayama, Japan the clean white plastered forms contrast the natural site, while playful formal landscape geometry engages in nuances and details throughout. Rooms is the epitome of what residential dwellings should aspire to be, a sanctuary; a closing of the door to the chaos, and an opening to the beyond (in this case, the limitlessness of the ocean beyond). Ando Corporation has created an incredible example of reflective architecture, celebrating minimalism. Photography courtesy of Kimikazu Tomizawa.


The Headquarters Building at Science Park at the University of the Basque Country, located next to the University Campus of Leioa, Spain, is a fantastic architectural project developed by ACXT. The building was conceived for being an innovative space to link the business world to the university and students, attracting new companies based on knowledge and technological research. A particularly notable feature of the building is its spectacular north and south façade composed of a double skin, an inside curtain wall and a expanded metal skin outside, with a gateway for maintenance between them. In spite of this, the predominantly white interior is a bright and wonderfully minimalistic space throughout.


Located in Abiko, part of Chiba prefecture, stands a fractal-like structure completely alien to its surrounding premises. A modern and futuristic white residential building, designed by Japanese architecture firm fuse-atelier, graces the neighborhood with a sense of drama and originality. The building boasts beautiful large glass panels on both extremities, albeit hiding inside a striking concrete monocoque and panels from passers-by. The living room sets the tone for the rest of the house, an obligatory passage way and link throughout every ambient. It’s interesting to note the modular-like quality the project defines every function, from the kitchen to the bedrooms. The sense of perception and depth is toyed with on this modernist project, presenting an aesthetic parallel to German Expressionists set designs in movies. The theatrical strength of the concrete walls are clear, with unusual angles and shadows drawn all through the day. The gallery stands tall and absolute as a firm minimalist presence, even if future owners take the interior design to a rustic or traditional style. It sets the mind at ease knowing the owners are more than satisfied with sharp contemporary design to furnish it. This house is in good hands. Photography by Shigeru Fuse.


Located in Texugueira, a village in the north of Leiria, Portugal, this house is a 233 square-metre minimalist residence designed by portuguese studio Contaminar Arquitectos. Texugueira House is made up of three volumes of different shapes and sizes, with narrow terraces slotted in between. It features a retaining wall that extends north to south along the eastern boundary of the site. A corridor follows this wall and forms the house’s main axis. The three blocks all sit in front of this corridor. The first volume is empty at the ground level, providing a covered area for leisure or parking. A studio is located at the upper level, with a small terrace that opens over the landscape, allowing natural light to enter the space. The central volume features the main entrance and the social area including the living room, with a large window over the green surroundings, and the kitchen connecting with the garden. The third volume contains a more secluded and private area, with two bedrooms on the ground floor, which are directly connected with the contiguous garden spaces, and with a balcony suite on the upper floor. This is a remarkable house that includes beautiful details throughout, particularly the use of cork — the typical...


Index Ventures is a creative capital venture company based in San Francisco. When the office needed a major expansion, Garcia Tamjidi Architecture Design stepped in with a straightforward design focused on natural light. Incorporating natural light into the workplace is a desire for any creative team, however most office designs allow for very few windows. Garcia Tamjidi solved this problem by introducing new skylights in key areas of the office. The entry, cafe, and boardroom are located in the center of the office and designed to make the most out of the sunlight. The rest of the office seamlessly flows from the entrance, with large sheets of glass and gray walls forming barriers as needed. Exposed brick walls and wood beams add a touch of charm from the original structure. The furnishings are simple, functional, and white. A gorgeous sculpture hangs from one of the skylights, bringing a bit of the surreal into the office. Index Ventures is certainly not your typical workspace: it is a space for true inspiration and collaboration. Photography by Joe Fletcher.


Simple and straightforward projects are the solution for crowded work environments, such as the usual chaotic and busy beauty parlour. Japanese architect Hiroyuki Miyake took on the challenge to design TROOVE — a space fit for one lone stylist to take care of his salon, with all the benefits a minimalist space can bring to the daily hustle and effortless style for the clientèle to enjoy. Building upon a concrete structure, Miyake makes good use of Japanese oak to endow the salon and map out each space to its function. The charming reception and waiting room; the main styling room and the shampoo booth; each one cleverly distinct from one another. Kudos to the beautiful folding screen made in galvanized iron, inserting lightness into a big visual feature. Since the 2011 earthquake, several power saving policies were put into practice, directly altering the daily life and perception of darkness and how much it is necessary to live by. The archetypal Japanese paper lamps plays a remarkable role as the gatekeepers of this charming salon. The shadow play and well defined light project spread throughout is symbolic of smart adaptation to a new reality and, remarkably, a nod to the past.


The small and secluded Bolton Residence is located in Eastern Quebec. Designed by the Canadian based firm Naturehumaine, this elegant home focuses on nature and simplicity. The structural form takes its shape from the traditional barns in the region, yet this vernacular is interpreted in a distinctly modern way. Two large rectangles, positioned one on top of the other, form the structure of the home. The top rectangle cantilevers slightly out from the lower, allowing the house to feel as if it is floating along the mountainside. A dark exterior distinguishes the structure from its often snowy landscape. On the interior, long and narrow windows wrap the living room, flooding the home with stunning views of its mountainous setting. The fireplace is uniquely positioned in a media cabinet, which also provides storage. Accents of wood and black create a dynamic interior, bringing depth and light to the small space. This color scheme continues in the bedroom and in the dark tile of the bathroom. Bolton Residence may be small, but it is not short on style. Photography by Adrien Williams and David Dworkind.