I’d like to momentarily look back to this 2012 ad campaign for Calvin Klein’s ck Watch + Jewelry brand. Calvin Klein and its segments are famously minimalist brands, and this campaign featuring long-time collaborator Lara Stone and Sean O’Pry doesn’t disappoint. The images with Ms. Stone have been popping around the city of Barcelona this year and I was struck once again by the simplicity and flawless execution of the styling and make-up as well as the products themselves. The color palette of the featured image, for instance, is very striking in its pared down subtlety. As a woman interested in make-up myself, I find the nude, “no make-up make-up” approach very appealing. The campaign was produced under the creative direction of CRK, Calvin Klein, Inc.’s in-house advertising agency, working with French consulting creative director Fabien Baron and French photographer Patrick Demarchelier.
Sharing Watch is a work of Cho, Eun Whan and Shin, Tai Ho of studio MAEZM. They have equipped this unusual timepiece with something more than a reliable mechanism and an air of elegant simplicity. They gave it a communal spirit! Instead of the traditional arrangement of numbers on the dial, there is a slight shift, allowing you to see the time from the side. By simply extending your hand forward or raising it, you can share the time with others. Designers explain: Such a small change of idea enabled sharing of time with others nearby or others standing opposite site. Through this sharing in this unfamiliar change, we can newly experience the relationship with others by way of time, and that is how Maezm wanted this watch to serve. The faded numbers make the dial look minimal and uncluttered. They are also quite readable, which is essential for a piece designed to be looked at from a distance.
As we get closer to closing 2011, I thought it would be worthwile to re-visit somebody who has been featured on Minimalissimo multiple times for his visionary approach in design that never goes of out style: German industrial designer Dieter Rams. Already in the early 1980s and as a chief designer for Braun, Dieter Rams was aware and concerned by the state of the material world around him. Surrounded by what he called “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noise” he created ten principles of good design that I found appropriate to feature before we enter 2012, another year full of creativity and design. 1. Good design is innovative 2. Good design makes a product useful 3. Good design is aesthetic 4. Good design helps us to understand a product 5. Good design is unobtrusive 6. Good design is honest 7. Good design is durable 8. Good design is consequent to the last detail 9. Good design is concerned with the environment 10. Good design is as little design as possible With Mr. Rams’ words in mind, I hope you find it inspiring to either design or appreciate the design that is Good Design.
The Kiri wristwatch is the creation of one of Japan’s most notable industrial designers Masayuki Kurokawa. His minimalist aesthetic and respect for simple textures is fully pronounced in this piece. Kurokawa is known for taking the most undervalued materials and turning them into something exquisite (some of you might recall his GOM rubber series, now displayed in MoMa’s permanent collection). In this particular piece, a humble silicone bracelet is made to look beautiful. The dial, made from mineral glass, mirrors the semi-opaqueness of the bracelet and completes the look of the piece. It also makes the watch look obscure, with hands appearing as a mirage, giving a unique point of view on the fleeting nature of time itself.
Milan based designer and architect Denis Guidone has created a minimalist wrist watch for Projects Watches, named Sometimes. What you will notice about the contemporary Sometimes watch is not only the simple shape, colour and face, but the function of the hands, particularly the second hand. These elongated white hands are juxtaposed against the black dial. The second hand aligns with the minute and hour for only a moment, moving independently and appearing as if out of sync with time itself. Perhaps making this its most interesting feature. Sometimes it’s better to stop thinking about the time, whatever happens, it will not stop. Hours, minutes and seconds continue to play together. I can really appreciate the minimalist approach to this design and although I have never been particularly fond of round faced watches, I do like it. But what do you think?
Minimal design does not always have to be serious. I love the ironic nature of Denis Guidone‘s Ora Lattea watch, created for Nava Design. The piece plays with our expectations of what a traditional timepiece should be. Instead of hands there are two moving dots circling around the third one in the middle. The bigger dot represents the hour while the smaller dot represents the minute; the central dot remains fixed. It is pleasing that the brand name is displayed on the side of the watch. This way the dial remains untouched, giving the dots all the negative space they need. The Ora Lattea wristwatch is available in two sizes and suitable for both men and women.
German industrial design agency Botta Design are the creators of the lightweight SOLUS wristwatch. The elegant and unobtrusive design of SOLUS is reflected by combining functional clarity with simplicity. Perhaps not as minimal in appearance as many other watches defined as such, but I feel SOLUS, which only weighs 28g, strikes the perfect balance of being easily readable whilst also having a lack of ornamental features. For instance, the watch only features one hand in order to focus on only what is absolutely necessary, which is the position of the hour hand. Personal favourite is the solid black design. Refined, precise and beautiful.
The simple and intuitive Mutewatch , designed by Norra Norr, is a silent alarm in the shape of a vibrating wristband. It serves as a quiet reminder that helps you to follow your own agenda without disturbing people in your surroundings. By gently tapping the touch screen the time lights up. Swipe the screen to browse through the clock, alarm and timer functions. The watch features a built-in motion sensor that automatically adjusts the strength of alarm vibrations. A simple flick of the wrist activates the glowing display. Mutewatch comes in three colors; charcoal-grey, poppy-red and pure-white.
Milan based Denis Guidone created a dual time watch named ‘Wherever’ for Nava Design. Guidone explains: In today’s contemporary society we are all travelers; constantly on the move from one city to another and often from one time zone to another. By simply adding an extra hour hand, in a different color to show time in another time zone, he created a stunning minimalist watch for globetrotters. ‘Wherever’ will be available in 4 moods: Cloud (black-white), Heaven (blue), Twilight (purple) and Sunset (red).
Braun has re-issued its line of classic watches designed by Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs from the 1970s. The collection has been approved by Dietrich Lubs, and only slight modifications have been made in the reissues. These watches exemplify the clean, modernist design that Rams is renown for. Devoid of decoration and superfluous elements, this is collection of beautifully minimalist consumer goods. A few of these watches are available for purchase from Vetted.
Close to the end of 2010, Swatch released the New Gent collection. New Gent is a new version of the classic Swatch Gent. Most prominently, it’s a bit bigger. With its sober, light and comfortable design, the New Gent is a welcome alternative to the oversized, feature-packed, expensive watches. Swatch understands classic and contemporary design. The New Gent has the unique quality that it fits with any style, from sport to smart. It’s available in ten combinations, raging from full black to full white, with light contrasts of colour in between.
Pritzker-winning Japanese architectural and design company SANAA joined Italian brand Alessi once again, this time to produce the Neko wrist watch series. The Neko (which means “cat” in Japanese) watch is made of Polyurethane and has no fastener, instead sporting tiny ears and feet, representing its namesake in a lazy stretch around your wrist. Very cute!