idea ink is a series of Japanese books focusing on the theme of “ideas of the future”, published by Asahi Press and designed by Tokyo-based design studio Groovisions. The books focus on themes from gastronomy; environment and social issues to information graphics and even love and the quest for marriage outside of Japan. The graphic design for each book is clean and crisp, yet colorful and alive at the same time. A refreshing approach considering the excess of graphic information in a city such as Tokyo, yet still coherent with Japanese philosophies of simplicity and elegance in style. Groovisions also have Muji as their clients, another Japanese company notable for its minimalistic products. I particularly love the monoweight lines of the illustrations and the pastel color pallete. One of the things I love in Japanese design is the potency of “silent” designs, and to me this definitely falls into that category.
Munich based multi-disciplinary designer Aurelian Hallhuber, has recently completed the design of 0/1 – a strikingly minimal book and thesis project providing an overview of the different modes of representation and ways of which binary codes can be used in the field of visual communication. Hallhuber writes: Whether it be filled content, as a design feature or as an inspiration for creative processes, showing a strong reduction of the binary code, the possibilities are hidden in the smallest details of the visual world. This German designer clearly knows his craft, which makes this book a joy to read, if only from a limited online perspective. Beyond the beautifully embossed cover, I’m really liking the choice of typography too. Gorgeous work.
Today I wanted to introduce you to the gorgeous cloth-bound hardback catalogue for fine artist Arik Levy‘s Absent Nature collection. Beautifully and meticulously designed by Chicago based Bud Rodecker, this 128-page catalogue illustrates, in minimalist fashion, Arik’s simplistic sculptures of broken organic forms, which are supported by a well considered use and style of typography throughout. With the deboss on the front cover perhaps being my favourite feature, I must admit, Absent Nature is one of the most exquisitely designed catalogues I’ve come across recently.
The Italian minimalist designer, architect and teacher Angiolo Giuseppe Fronzoni needs little introduction. Not least because we recently featured his wonderful Quadra Lamp design. Today however, I am introducing you to a book by Ester Manitto on the teachings of Fronzoni. The book, titled A Lesson With AG Fronzoni – From teaching design to designing lifestyle, written both in Italian and English, is an act of gratitude from student to teacher and also an invitation to others to contribute to the reconstruction of a story of human and professional experience of the highest value and of great current relevance. Ester Manitto permits us to enter the world of AG Fronzoni’s workshop school, founded in Milan in 1982. The workshop school trained and directed its students towards the practice of continual research into the essence of form in life, nature, art, architecture and design, and a respect for learning by doing. The art direction and layout of this minimalist book, which has been beautifully illustrated, was designed by Genoa based creative studio Artiva Design. You can order the book for only ¢18. Something I will most definitely be doing.
Nocturnes is a unique box set of six books with silkscreened covers in a slipcase by the new photography group AM projects and published by dienacht Publishing. It is the first AM project and explores six different photographic journeys into the night. This idiomatic object is published with varying papers – depending on the artist – one even has an enormous fold-out poster. All come originally fused together spinally and will be presented as a box set. It is a landmark – in terms of design and printing (as well as in terms of photographic content) – in photo book publishing. The impressive minimalist design of this box set was produced by German graphics design studio, Fluut. I’d really like to get my hands on copies of these books. Beautiful work.
Today I would like to share a few quotes and diagrams from a book to which I often return to when needing a simple but meaningful pick me up during the design process. 101 Things I learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick has been around for a while and many of you might have already heard of it or even own a copy. For those of you who don’t, may this be a sneak preview of what is inside. The book aims to: Firm up the foundation of the architecture studio by providing rallying points upon which the design process may thrive. One of my favorite quotes: Architecture begins with an idea. Good design solutions are not merely physically interesting but are driven by underlying ideas. An idea is a specific mental structure by which we organize, understand, and give meaning to external experiences and information. Without underlying ideas informing their buildings, architects are merely space planers. Space planning with decoration applied to “dress it up” is not architecture; architecture resides in the DNA of a building, in an embedded sensibility that infuses its whole.
dOCUMENTA (13) — 100-notes-100-thoughts are a series of 100 notebooks designed by Italian design company Leftloft and published by German art house Hatje Cantz, in order to mark the occasion of this year’s edition of the 100-day arts festival that takes place in Germany once every five years and will be running in Kassel from June 9 until 16 September. Comprised of facsimiles of existing notebooks, commissioned essays, collaborations, and conversations of artists, scientists, philosophers, linguists, psychologists economists and political theorists involved in the event, the notebooks appear in three different formats (A6, A5, B5) and range from 16 to 48 pages in length. The idea is to document and share the musings and thought processes of many influential figures, in a true It’s the journey that matters philosophy, as said by the organizers: A note is a trace, a word, a drawing that all of a sudden becomes part of thinking, and is transformed into an idea. Bold colors and understated typography make these books into simple and desirable objects… I’d want one of each!
Milan based Italian designer and architect Denis Guidone, a Minimalissimo favourite for his minimalist watches, has recently created My Book for Nava Design. Guidone has taken a minimal, yet unusual approach to the concept of this book. He explains: It is a blank book with a pretext to imagine a story, a book that you could write yourself, day after day; It is a white space to imagine, you can also leave the pages blank and fill them in with simply your thoughts. I like the idea it is not a notepad or a sketchbook per se (although it could perhaps be used as such), but instead it is a book to encourage storytelling. My Book is available in brightly bound red, white and black.
Published in 2011, this book by journalist Harriet Walker surveys one of the most wide-reaching movements in fashion, taking the reader through the transformations of minimalist along the decades, ever since Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel in the early 20th century, when women’s clothes became pared down and practical after centuries of complex construction. Walker argues that minimalism is not an exclusive club for intellectuals, but an egalitarian popular movement, and writing the book led other conclusions: The process of simplification has underpinned every great progression and movement, not only within womenswear but politically and culturally. Reviewing the work of designers who, over the decades, have adopted minimalist principles in their work, from Coco Chanel to Donna Karan and Jil Sander; and from the avant-garde style of Japanese masters Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto to contemporary interpretations by Gareth Pugh, Roland Mouret, COS and Zara, Less is More tells the story of an enduring aesthetic that has subtly shaped modern fashion.
German creative studio Deutsche & Japaner, based in Mannheim, specialise in a variety of disciplines, such as graphic design, product design, interior design, illustration and scenography as well as conceptual creation and strategic brand escort. Earlier this year, the studio designed a limited edition book titled X / I / I. The beautifully minimal designed book (particularly the cloth cover) is the first in the series from TENWORDSANDONESHOT, presenting the featured artists from the blog in a printed publication. The blog and the book share the same rules in the sense that there are only ten words written by the artists to outline their personality and just one studio image to offer an impression. Each entry has been designed in a completely different style using various sizes and typeface for both imagery and comments, resulting in a simple yet visually interesting book.
With its foundation in 1997 by Charles Cosac (brazilian enterpreneur and maecenas) and Michael Naify (north-american businessman), Cosac Naify is a highly established publishing house in Brazil. Their catalogue spans across a broad range of artistic fields, and with a body of graphic work that is notorious for its quality. Beside many of their original, bright and colorful designs, one can also find a vast number minimalistic covers. However, perhaps a photograph is not the best way to interact with the books, given that one of the most interesting aspects of Cosac Naify’s designs are their tactile quality, since they often work with textures and sensorial explorations in the reading experience. It’s always a great thing to hold a beautiful book in your hand!
Phaidon Press published a beautiful monograph written by Alison Morris late last year called John Pawson: Plain Space. The book was intended to accompany a comprehensive exhibition of work by architect John Pawson that ran at the Design Museum in London from September 2010 through to January, 2011. We spoke about the exhibition on Minimalissimo last October. Of the book, publisher Phaidon Press says: In Plain Space, author Alison Morris presents both this recent body of work and earlier projects from the perspective of someone who has had unique access to the work and archives of the office. In thematic essays and narrative project descriptions she examines the firm’s working processes, relationship with clients, and approach to design.