Minimalissimo


Categorized “Architecture & Interior design”

Alain Carle Architecte is a Québecois architecture firm whose style is self-described as modest. Led by Alain Carle himself, who graduated from the School of Architecture of University of Montréal, the firm has received a lot of recognition in the past few years by many publications. In 2013, the firm completed L’Écran, a home situated in Wenworth-Nord, Canada. Surrounded by nature, the house is a minimal sculpture that was raised from the ground with black brick claddings and wooden interiors. Situated on a site with slopes, the architecture was broken into fragments and connected through the use of materials. The use of a black exterior was to create a heat absorbent to then cut down the energy use of house in such a cold environment. Wooden panels also create a sense of warmth for the residents. The contrast of the white walls against the black bricks, one smooth and one rough, complemented with shades of brown from wooden panels, was what drawn me to this structure. The abruptness of its appearance on the site is not foreign, but rather like a response to its surroundings. Photography courtesy of Alain Carle Architecte.


Shirahama Roh Pinggu is a small seaside home designed by Okuwada Architects Office. Located in Wakayama, Japan, this single story home is structured to work with the island landscape. The sand and sea are on the southern side of the home, while mountains surround the other three sides. The southern wall of windows embraces the sea views. The kitchen and living room are situated in this part of the home. The mountain facing rooms contain more private areas, such as the bedrooms and bathrooms. Wooden floors connect the home with the forest behind it. A white and glass facade, and a galvanized steel roof, complete the home’s light and airy aesthetic. I love the simple design of this resort home. The soft colors and low lying structure minimize the visual impact the home has on the environment. The simple interior allows the residents to direct their focus out towards the landscape. Overall, Shirahama Roh Pinggu is a lovely vacation dwelling for a family. Photography by Tada Yuko / Yuko Tada Photography.


House for Mother is a simple home on a rural plot of land in Linköping, Sweden. Designed by FAF Architects, the home is composed of three staggered volumes. The foremost volume holds the entrance of the home and the kitchen, dining, and living rooms. The bedrooms and studio are located in the second volume. The third is a bathroom and laundry room. The rooms are sparse in material and furnishings. The interior features timber ceilings, plywood walls, and a polished concrete floor. These raw materials allow the home to feel modest, but not under-designed. Built in furniture completes the minimal aesthetic. The facade is covered in corrugated aluminum, lending the exterior an industrial chic look. I love how FAF Architects plays with the traditional house archetype. While the shape of House for Mother is classic, the materials and window placement are unexpected. All in all, House for Mother is an no-fuss design that doesn’t fail to captivate its viewer’s interest.


UID Architects is a Japanese architecture firm that’s based in Hiroshima, Japan. In 2009, the firm has completed a house and atelier for a doll artist in Minoh city near Osaka. Upon the first glance at this structure, one would only see hovering white facades. The raised structures open up an opportunity for openings at the top and bottom, complemented with glass enclosure. Calling these rectangular boundaries as belts, architect Keisuke Maeda said: A simple operation of overlapping belts obscures site boundaries and formulates a relationship to the site and the neighborhood. Greenscaping the interior of the house to weave in the green space of the exterior further highlights the seemingly expanding footprint, which is smaller than expected. Walls were replaced by built-in furnitures to minimize spatial usage, as well as to connect interior spaces. The minimal yet complex design is what makes this house stand out. I adore the functional and effective moves that the architect used to modify such a small site. Even the white path leading from the outside to the inside, adorn with pebbles and green, is a simple decision that helps lighten up this atelier. Photography by Hiroshi Ueda


The House of the Infinite, recently completed by Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza, is more than a dwelling, it also an impressive piece of landscape architecture. Erected on the seashore, the building features a long horizontal plane, that merges with the sea view, appearing almost as a continuation of the horizon. The architect gives his poetic description of the concept: On a marvelous place like a piece of earthly paradise, at Cádiz, we have built an infinite plane facing the infinite sea, the most radical house we have ever made. At the very edge of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, where the sea unites the new and the old continent, emerges a stone platform. At the place where all the ships from the Mediterranean used to pass and still pass by as they head off into the Atlantic. To accentuate this dramatic idea, all the terrain has been moved as far back as the entrance wall separating the building from the street. Because the main entrance to the house is located on the roof platform, all public areas are concentrated on the upper level. It houses the living room, dining area, kitchen and a massive balcony. Bedroom suits are located on...


Situated on the Sado River in Portugal is a remarkably simple dwelling known as Cabanas no Rio. Designed by Manuel Aires Mateus, this home is split between two cabin structures. The private and public spaces are divided between the two forms: one holds the kitchen and living room, and the other contains the bedroom. The rooms are small and furnished only with necessities: a few sitting pieces and a bed. Benches and storage are built into the structure of the cabins. An outdoor shower rests along the side of the home. The facade is covered in raw wood, an incredibly elegant yet  unfussy material. The wood connects the home with its river landscape. A small jetty reaches out from the entrance of the structure. The cabins are only accessible by boat, a feature which adds to the modesty of life on the Sado River. There is nothing more pleasing than simple elegance. This home is void of any fancy or unneeded elements, yet it still feels luxurious. I wouldn’t want anything more.


Last year, the successful Spanish studio Lavernia & Cienfuegos designed the Etnia Shops, including the furniture and the image, for the brand Etnia Cosmetics, resulting in a remarkable project. The main goal was focused on establishing great efficieny, functionality and image, so the main characteristics of the shops are the modularity, the product presentation and the general appeal of the product. I love the combination of the white and the clear wood tones, giving the interior a feeling of warmth along with the carefully considered lighting. And all of these characteristics emphasise the products with their powerful colours. Fantastic work without doubt.


Nestled in a suburban neighborhood in Toronto, Canada is the delightfully modern Blantyre House. Completed in 2011 by Williamson Chong Architects, this house was designed with a focus on incorporating light into long and narrow spaces. Tall windows cover both ends of the thin house. Using windows of this height brings light deeper into the dwelling. The interior features a great room with an impressive kitchen unit. Floor to ceiling cabinetry provides storage and a clean, bright aesthetic. The dining table is incorporated with the kitchen island to save space in the shallow room. The second floor also features large windows which illuminate a small living area. The uppermost level of the home holds the master bedroom. Smaller windows and white walls provide a quiet sanctuary for sleeping. My favorite feature of Blantyre House are the windows. I love how every window is unique to the wall and room it hangs. The windows provide the home with a plethora of natural light and are also angled so as to provide the best views of the trees and sky. Photography by Bob Gundu.


Bernaskoni’s Arc is a bold and beautiful statement in the Russian landscape. Completed in 2012 and standing at 72 sqm, it is built on the border between forest and field and is a hybrid that performs several functions. As is a traditional statement of entry, through the presence of an arch or gate, Arc stands as a somewhat nod to that nostalgia. Spatially, Arc is a spiral staircase that includes a portal, an observation deck, a bar and also a well within. Within the sculpture, there exists an artist’s room, that every year the room is transformed into an art installation. Bernaskoni’s intention, being contextually sensitive, was to minimize waste as key. Arc is therefore comprised of a series of six-meter length boards where all off-cuts have been reused on site as structural elements which is then painted black. This Russian beauty is a sensitive and considered addition to the portal transitioning the structured human-worked landscape into the wild, untamed one. Photography courtesy of Bernaskoni and Yuri Palmin.


HANK is an extremely simple product with a very sophisticated concept. Designed and developed by Berlin-based llot llov, Hank is an adjustable harness that holds glass mirrors with a v-shaped rope and a single drill hole, helping abandoned mirrors regain their rightful place on the wall. The kit consists of a wooden knob, waxed cotton rope and small aluminium plates, and comes in two sizes that cover every size and shape of mirror — as clever as it is light, says llot lov. The studio develops furniture, products, light and interiors and organize manufacturing and dispatch of their own label. Their design is both functional and emotional. According to their philosophy, they are often playful, always visionary, and work conceptually to aesthetically improve our day-to-day world. Photography by Ender Suenni.


Cliff House is a simple yet stunning residence on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Scotland’s own Dualchas Architects designed the structure to maximize the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The home is a single story with two bedrooms, two baths, and a great room for the kitchen and living areas. Every room, even the bathrooms, feature floor to ceiling windows. The windows flood the home with natural light and gorgeous views. Cliff House’s facade is clad in a silvery-brown lumber and warm gray stone, both of which were sourced locally. The low-lying structure, as well as the use of natural materials, allows Cliff House to integrate seamlessly into its environment. I love the view of the home from afar, it almost looks like it grew from the earth itself! Photography by Andrew Lee and Alistair Nicholls.


The Farnsworth House is a modern icon and a personal favorite of mine. Designed by the legendary Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), this timeless structure was completed for  Dr. Edith Farnsworth in 1951. The home is a small, one room retreat that hovers just above the ground in a rural Illinois setting. Floor to ceiling windows cover every inch of the exterior walls, punctuated by structural I-beams. The only opaque walls exist in a central core containing the bathroom, kitchen, and utilities closet. The furnishings are minimal and are mostly designed by Mies van der Rohe himself. The Farnsworth House’s clean lines, structural purity, and simple form are all classic features of mid-century modernism. At this time, removing the traditional clutter of walls, doors, and decoration was entirely unprecedented. As a result, Farnsworth House was famous even before its completion. A model of the home was first exhibited in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art in 1947, four years before the building’s completion. The Farnsworth House has been in countless publications and exhibits since then. Unfortunately, the home has had several structural problems over the years, most notably its susceptibility to flooding. However, restoration effects are constantly in place, ensuring that the Farnsworth House...