Katamaku is a new series of products, born out of Tokyo, Japan, that utilise unused parts of the membrane material that were to be discarded. They were made into various cases and bags for everyday use with excellent durability. In order to keep its beautiful texture, the products are made from a single sheet of membrane that can be folded to protect things that are to be carried. The designers go on to explain: Katamaku can be assembled with ease, and in order to take advantage of the beauty of the material, we have designed each product as one piece of folded cloth, like a kimono. If you look at the material closely, you will see that each product is finished from the membrane allowing you to really appreciate the beauty of its detail. The minimalistic series includes a card, pass and pen case, a document folder and pochet. All of which are as exquisite as the next. Beautiful work.
During this week’s London Design Festival, London based design brand Minimalux have announced the launch of a range of new minimalist products. One such announcement was of their natural vegetable tan leather sleeves for the iPad, iPad mini and iPhone. This is the result of a collaborative project with leather goods specialists, MES. Traditional hand skills and saddlery tools are used to make these tough, durable leather sleeves. Each one is hand stitched with strong beeswaxed linen thread, hand burnished and hot stamped with the Minimalux mark. The leather is untreated other than a light coating of mink oil to protect it from moisture, allowing it to age naturally and develop a rich dark golden colour. Admittedly, not the cheapest of accessories, but there’s no denying these are high end, beautiful sleeves.
These simple folded wallets are created by Romania based studio CleanEverything. The company name is a motto as well. Designers were aiming to reduce their product to the absolute essentials. Each wallet is cut from a single piece of leather and then wrapped around cash. This origami-like approach eliminates stitching and additional details. Only a piece of leather and a single stud. I like that the laconic nature of the design does not compromise the function. Each piece holds bills (of any currency) and 2-3 credit cards, which is what most people use on a daily basis. The wallets are made from 100% Italian vegetable-tanned calf leather and come in red, white and green.
Cuoiela is a Kickstarter project currently run by Virginia based studio Nolla design. This minimalist and elegant cash and credit card holder is envisioned as a cure for bulky traditional overly stitched wallets. Cuoiela is completely smooth, not a thread in sight, and it holds your possessions discretely. During my design research, I found that many card wallets are simply about function but if you think about it, a wallet is something that we carry around every day and show off to the world. Thus, I was motivated to design the Cuoiela, the wallet that is not only slim and convenient, but also feels stylish and precious to the owner. The Cuoiela wallet is made from high quality Italian leather and elastic fabric band. The elastic band holds 2-8 cards, and the front leather slot provides space for extra cash.
There have been many exercises in paring down the wallet to the ultimate minimalistic design, but I believe London-based Taiwanese designer Chieh Ting Huang has arrived at that ideal quite successfully. Nothing Fancy is a collection of non-stitched minimalist solutions for the wallet, re-imagined for the contemporary lifestyle. Using only a foldable leather hide template and rubber bands and eliminating everything else (stitches, snaps, zippers, etc.), Chieh delivers a wallet, a coin case, an iPhone holder and a passport holder within the same principles. The result is a well thought, beautifully executed and impeccably styled range of products that has left the design blogosphere wishing for one of their own. My personal favorite is the passport holder and I’m especially in love with the customized rubber bands!
If you are suffering from the case of Costanza wallet, this item might cure you. Australian brand Bellroy came up with the minimalist Card Sleeve Wallet, offering traditional wallet’s functionality without the bulk. The piece is stripped from everything that can add volume. There are no linings, no zippers, only vegetable tanned leather and thread. Quick access slots on the front and back allow to keep your frequently used cards and cash at your fingertips. The pull tab in the main compartment helps you to produce the contents quickly and easily. I love the versatility of the design. The piece can be used as a slim wallet and/or a business card holder. It holds 2 to 6+ cards and comes in three colors – black, cocoa and blue.
This beautiful minimalist cash and cards holder by Daycraft is everything that the traditional wallet is not. It is small, simple, light and compartment free. The piece, aptly called Moneywrap, is reduced to a singular folding principle. It wraps around your banknotes, which in turn are folded over your credit cards. The result is a sleek little item, that can fit in any pocket. How clever. I like how well thought out Moneywrap is. Held together by a rubberband, your valuables are secure. And to access them – all you need to do is lift the flap open. No buttons or sharp edges to scratch your things… Watch the video to see the piece in action.
Corter Leather is a small, one-man operation based in Boston, Massachusetts. Every leather product is 100% hand-made by maker Eric Heins. Whilst browsing the Corter website, I came across several designs, which I think have a minimalist approach to them. Devoid of typical branding and patterns, what stood out for me was the slim and functional Field Notes Sleeve, composed of vegetable tanned leather, which features a loop at the spine for holding your writing utensil. The natural Classic Bifold featuring seven pockets is a slim, no-nonsense wallet, which has been beautifully stitched. Another distinct piece, is the versatile Folded Bifold wallet with two pouches and inner flaps for extra storage. This piece only has one stitched seam and will darken to an attractive carmel with age. I have a lot of respect for this craft and with end results like this, they are so very tempting.
Japanese product designer and art director Teruhiro Yanagihara of Isolation Unit has designed TYP – an elegant collection of leather goods for the Tokyo based leather manufacturer Morpho. The collection essentially comprises a variety of booklets or wallets, a brand concept derived from a paper and stationary theme. Available in ISO standard paper sizes (C4, A4, A5, B6, A6, A7), TYP has a very thin and simple design, which is emphasised by the closing mechanism that works only through folding. The booklets are also available in a variety of colours.
MAKR is the brainchild of Jason Gregory, who designs and patterns every product (and produces all of the hand-sewn small goods in house) along with his team. Composed mostly of bags, cases and accessories, MAKR products are all invariably designed in clean lines and their apparent simplicity and effortlessness belie quite a sophisticated build. The succint range of materials – canvas, leather, metal and wood – provides the brand with a strong character: sturdy, dependable and beautiful. I’ve been especially in love with the black canvas and black manitoba utility bag featured here, but I also secretly pine for their work stool…
How’s this for a minimalist billfold? The Fold, by New York shoemakers Leffot, is nothing more than a piece of leather folding around your bills. The beautiful quality Horween shell cordovan comes in the colours rust, dark brown, and natural.