Minimalissimo


Categorized “Book”

Pastoe, the Dutch furniture manufacturer, recently published the book “Vision – Space for Imagination” to mark the 25th anniversary of the Vision range of cabinets. Vision, created by Pierre Mazairac and Karel Boonzaaijer, is a cabinet composed of any number of boxes in various sizes. The cabinet is simple, without handles or grips, but contains a smart pressure-release mechanism borrowed from the car manufacturing industry. We wanted something that would exist in a home like a wall that plays with space, volume and line. At first some people thought the design was cold and ugly, but Mazairac and Boonzaaijer were confident about their product. It’s been twenty-five years and it’s still going strong, Boonzaaijer says. Space for Imagination is written by Karel Boonzaaijer in association with Ilka Helmig and Johannes Bergerhausen. You order the book under ISBN number 978-90-5856-357-6.


Perhaps not the most minimalist book covers we’ve ever seen, but beautifully elegant nevertheless: this series of Virginia Woolf book covers by McKenna Kemp. The covers, a personal project of Kemp, are a simplification of the original handpainted Vanessa Bell covers. Oh, and the books are pretty good, too… ;-)


Why? is a book series edited by Simon Van Booy. He shares insights of Shakespeare, Blake, Sartre, and other luminaries on three perennial questions: Why We Need Love, Why Our Decisions Don’t Matter and Why We Fight. Each book has a cover design created around a question mark, symbolic for philosophy, combined with a visualisation of the concept. So basically, the cover tells the story of the book – and that’s what book covers are for, right? Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find out who designed them, so if anyone knows, let me know (thx, Sonia!)


Swedish design and marketing agency Forsman & Bodenfors created, as part of IKEA’s kitchen appliance campaign, an unconventional baking book. According to F&B it was “the perfect way to ensure a connection between IKEAS kitchen appliances and one of the best things you can do in a kitchen: baking.” Hembakat är Bäst (Homemade is Best) gives you an overview of fantastic traditional Swedish recipes; biscuits, buns and cakes. The design is inspired by high fashion and Japanese minimalism and gives a great overview of the necessary ingredients. Evelina Bratell (styling) and Carl Kleiner (photography) are responsible for the perfect geometric aligned composition of ingredients. A piece I would like to add to my collection of (cook-)books. The great news is that the book is available for free! Unfortunately the only place you can get it is the kitchen department of Swedish IKEA stores.


I recently found this nice and varied set of book cover concepts. The covers were designed by Norwegian based designer Morten Iveland as The Infamous Press, in the style of the late sixties to the early eighties. The balance between typography, illustration and composition is just amazing, don’t you agree?


I love pasta meals and, as being a visual designer, icon like illustrations and infographics. I fell in love with the  The Geometry of Pasta book. The Geometry of Pasta, with recipes of  Top Michelin starred chef Jacob Kennedy, shows you “how to develop an instinct for matching pasta and sauce. We explain how to team up pasta with sauce to maximise taste and texture and to turn you from an average into a great pasta cook.” This cookbook is not like the average cookbook. You won’t find any photos of a steaming plates of fine pasta. Instead you find nice illustrations by Caz Hildebrand, creative partner at Here Design, of pasta shapes, arranged in bold and simple patterns printed in black and white.


Clean, simple and elegant were the first words which came to mind when I saw the identity for the Art & Architecture of the Saint-Luc Institutes in Brussels. The consistent use of typography, the amount of white space and the small details are a big inspiration for all minimalist minded people. You can download a digital version of magazine #11 for some more inspiration. The identity for this Bi-annual magazine is designed by the French graphic designer Carine Collin who lives and works in Brussels. She has a good portfolio and her website is also a clean piece of art. I think I am in love!


Swedish graphic design company Konst & Teknik can count work for Mono Kultur magazine in its impressive portfolio. Particularly mentionable here are the book covers for Deleuze och mångfaldens veck and The Rest is Silence, and the extremely useful CopyPasteCharacter—an online tool giving easy access to typographic characters—that negates the need to learn alt codes and other such shortcuts. What a marvellously simple time saver.


Katja Gretzinger is a graphic designer living and working in Berlin, Germany and Zurich, Switzerland. She runs a small graphic design studio, aptly named the Katja Gretzinger Graphic Design Studio. Her work shows a great eye for typography, composition and the power of colour.