Minimalissimo


Categorized “Bench”

Minimalist Japanese design has been celebrated on a number of occasions on Minimalissimo, and today I am delighted to share with you product designer Kana Nakanishi‘s wonderful W1200xD380xH480 Finnish birch wood bench. Named simply after its dimensions, the seat’s U-shaped back rest doubles as its legs, sitting diagonally through the base. The design is minimal, but the strong contrast of the structure also gives the impression of a sculpture. It can also function as a small partition in a room and public space because of the large backboard. Without compromising the basic functionality of a bench, Nakanishi has produced a beautifully simple piece of furniture. Although the name may not be particularly catchy, I love this design.


Sara Mellone is an Art and Design graduate at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf. Her graduation project, presented in February 2013, is an award winning furniture series called The Simple Things. The project comprises pieces of furniture, including a strong, but lightweight bench and two stools made from 2.5 mm sheets of aluminium that have each been folded four times. The simple shape of the double fold creates enough strength to build a bench that is three times longer then the stool. The white powder-coated version of the folded stool is very durable, therefore it is well protected from fingerprints and scratches. It is reminiscent of simple folded paper and this demonstrates where the inspiration came from. The pieces do not require any assembly and there are no off-cuts. Sara’s approach to design focuses on the simplicity and longevity of the product, by using materials that work in harmony with the design. Though all her products are minimalistic, she always keeps the poetic character of a piece, maintaining the sense of narrative and expression. This is a very impressive graduation project and I really enjoy the powder-coated stool, particularly. I will certainly be keeping an eye on Sara Mellone’s...


Naoto Fukasawa has recently completed this inspiring design for the Spanish furniture brand Viccarbe. A modular seating system, called Common, is comprised of eight cushioned forms, varying in size and height. Each piece is supported by the natural oak hardwood feet. The collection is accompanied by two auxiliary tables, also made of solid oak. I love how the pieces correspond to each other, creating harmonious seating landscapes. The manufacturer claims that high-density foam, used in creating these pieces, retains purity of the lines, even after intense wear.


Polish product designer Jan Kochański, based in Warsaw, has created this beautiful, minimalist and chic collection of outdoor rocking benches called Swing, each piece comprising bent steel and metal sheets. Designed for the Polish furniture brand, Delivié, the Swing collection’s inspiration derives from childhood activities. There is something special in rocking and swinging that gives us the feeling of calmness and joy. A rocking bench allows you to recall that feeling and simply enjoy the time, whether that be alone or as a couple. Aside from this, these benches are incredibly attractive. The slim curved frames and smooth glossy seats are likely to provide an elegance to your outdoor space. And as far as a benches go, they appear quite comfortable too.


To mark its 75th anniversary Knoll joined forces with OMA, co-founded by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. At Salone del Mobile 2013 in Milan earlier this month they launched a new collection of kinetic furniture called Tools for Life. The collection features adjustable tables, swivel chairs, a stool, an executive desk, and other items. The minimalist material palette makes the furniture compatible with a range of residential and workplace interiors. I would like to highlight one of the collection pieces named 04 Counter. A horizontal stack of 3 timber blocks that can be transformed from a wall-like unit to cantilevered benches that swing around a central axis. A metamorphosis from a spatial partition to a communal gathering place. We wanted to create a range of furniture that performs in very precise but also in completely unpredictable ways, furniture that not only contributes to the interior but also to the animation – Rem Koolhaas


The Tom Kundig Collection, launched in 2012 by Olsen Kundig Architects is a celebration of the moments when people become kinetically involved with the buildings and spaces they inhabit. The series features a variety of differing interaction scenarios, suitably named peek, no peek, droop, pull and earless. The collection is one of stylised conscious consideration of experience. With each piece, the user is challenged to change their interaction with the hardware, as a response to the evolution of the aesthetic that is presented. I like and appreciate this immensely. Here, design is challenging behaviour, heightening experience and giving a nod to the appreciative eye of the user. The use of steel, the consideration of the line work and seamless nature of the execution are beautiful. Seattle-based Olsen Kundig Architects were also recognised in 2012 from Interior Design magazine with a Best of the Year Award. Envisioned as the first of several product lines by the firm, the focus of the collection stems from Kundig’s well-known interest in the ways people interact with their environment. The resulting collection is one that celebrates the movement of people through architecture, and the interface of that interaction is celebrated. I look forward to the...


Stockholm based studio Claesson Koivisto Rune was founded by designers Mårten Claesson, Eero Koivisto, and Ola Rune. The multi-disciplinary studio, which was originally an architectural office, have produced Kami – a minimalist-inspired series consisting of precise and elegantly designed tables and benches. Kami (paper in Japanese), true to the rules of sobriety and elegance, features essential symbols, extremely slim profiles (up to 3mm) and geometric outlines. The Kami table is entirely made in solid bamboo. Available in natural or black, it can be a precious living room table, an elegant desk or a peculiar meeting table. The absence of screws, bolts and glues and the innovative interlock assembly underline its technical and aesthetic qualities. The shallow Kami table or bench perhaps has an even more striking beauty, in my opinion. Also made in bamboo, it measures 1800mm (L) x 450mm (W) x 190mm (H) and weighs only 15kg. Wonderful.


The Simplissimo collection was created by French architect and designer Jean Nouvel for the furniture manufacturer Ligne Roset. The line consists of chaise lounge, banquette, fireside chair, footstool and bench. As the name suggests, the objects are deliciously minimal and understated. Viewed in profile, each Simplissimo piece looks as if it has been designed with two strokes of a pen. Here is how Nouvel explains his vision: I like simple objects, produced in a natural way, with a little wood, foam and plastic. This is a direct aesthetic, which goes straight to the point, inspired by ‘fitness’. This faux banality renders such objects moving. Different and similar, like the members of a family which will grow and take on colour over the generations. Comfort of the seating comes from a Polyurethane foam applied over a sheet of grooved polypropylene. The upholstery hugs the curves of the metal structure and deliberately allows gathers in the corners, contributing to the overall aesthetic of the pieces.


This is Oak, the result of an extracurricular, collaborative student workshop at Lund University School of Industrial Design, Sweden. The goal: to explore archetypes and stereotypes in the world of furniture. The group developed a range of independent pieces, but which are actually impressively coherent. Of course it helps that they’re all made from the same single material, American oak. One of the participaring students, Karl Jönsson, describes how all pieces were stripped down to their origins. From those elements, together with a hint of humor, new pieces have been created, while considering form, usage and interaction with their surroundings. The icing on their cake: Oak was exhibited during the Milan fair 2011.


In 2010 Tokujin Yoshioka introduced The Invisibles, a collection of invisible furniture for Kartell that employed their pioneering polycarbonate technology to produce a thickness never before seen or manufactured. This year Yoshioka introduced at the Milan Design Week 2011 a Light version of The Invisibles with a similar profile but made with a thinner acrylic. The collection includes variously sized tables and simple, linear armchairs. On the original Invisibles, Yoshioka say: They were an exceptionally experimental pieces made out of the transparent blocks of acrylic. The poetic, yet dynamical presences reveal the essence of the pieces, and leave a mysterious scenery.


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…


Without friends where would we be? My good friend Sonia of Area22 dropped us a line about Silva/Bradshaw, a small design studio based in Brooklyn, New York. Apparently, they have something good to offer – and yes they do! Silva/Bradshaw, founded in 2010, is the combination of Sergio Silva and Matthew Bradshaw. Their portfolio spans furniture, jewelry and industrial design – and they’re also working on the design and branding of a restaurant. As wide as their focus is, I’m impressed by the elegance and freshness of throughout their work. It’s just a pleasure to look at, isn’t it?! (Pssst, they actually sell their jewelry online – and it’s quite affordable!)