Minimalissimo


Categorized “Industrial Design”

The Obvious Table Lamp is an origami-esque diffusion of light. Essentially made from one piece of uninterrupted metal — in this case, sheet steel, which has then been finished in a white paint — this piece adds a level of intrigue to the normally utilitarian desk scenario. Together with Beechwood, this piece comes packaged just as minimally as it presents in situ, and with its integrated innovation of touch illumination, on any of the painted metal surface area, epitomises minimalism in form and function. Jordi Rizo, the designer behind this conception is one of the founding partners of the brand Obvious. Based out of Barcelona, and together with Xavier Relea, Rizo has a vision to inspire the everyday moments of people, creating sample objects with common materials, but with extraordinarily good results and an emphasis on the quality of the process behind the build also. Sitting just under 40cm in height, this folded industrial piece is a delight. Photography courtesy of Obvious.


Building blocks are a toy box staple. They encourage creativity and help develop imagination. Designed by Laurence Calafat for Cinqpoints, a French maker of architectural stationery and toys, Archiblocks is a tremendously beautiful and minimalist construction set of building blocks. The mission of Cinqpoints is to spread contemporary architecture, so Archiblocks is designed to capture modularity, balance and composition, with an intergenerational appeal. The set contains 16 pieces, smooth to touch and with precision-cut edges and angles, made from untreated lime-wood, and then sanded by hand. They are also available in three colours: natural, black and white. Photography courtesy of Ode to Things.


Newcomer Chun-Tso Liu’s Round Square Teaware collection simplifies the traditional. Based on a nod to the traditional and traditionally adorned and ornate teaware of Tea Ceremonies, this collection attempts to break the mold, literally in some senses, of what traditional and a modern design aesthetic can give birth to. Based out of Taiwan, Liu is an emerging designer who after studying Mechanical Engineering in Taipei decided Industrial Engineering was a clearer and more thoughtfully aligned pathway. His background in engineering, the thinking and processes he brings with him, result in a well-crafted design object. This collection is beautifully minimal, and challenges the user to rethink the way that they would normally engage with the object. Liu is one to watch. Photography courtesy of Koan Design.


The German watch brand Ziiiro is characterised by a simple, minimalistic and futuristic design. Their newest and personal favourite model, Eclipse, has two markers that seem to float above a ring on the dial. One marker is slightly larger than the other, allowing them to pass over each other and for the wearer to differentiate between hours and minutes — achieving minimalist design without compromising function. I like that. Using a patented Swiss Super-LumiNova® pigment on the watch dial and minute hand, the Eclipse watch offers day and night visibility with bright illumination in the dark. Forget the days when you have to look for a light source or dig your pockets for the mobile phone to read the time. This watch glows in the dark with sufficient activation by sunlight or artificial light. Time has never been so extraordinary. The brand complies to futuristic and minimalist principles inspired by the philosophy; zero buttons, zero loose parts, zero numbers. All watches are designed by Robert Dabi from Nuremberg.


In collaboration with Nonino — a grappa brand with a 100-year history — the Dutch design bureau Scholten & Baijings has designed a grappa travel flask. Grappa is a distilled Italian alcoholic drink made from the left overs from winemaking. The travel flask is made of titanium with the latest production techniques. This high value material is not only strong and extremely light, but also corrosion resistant, which makes it ideal to transport and to store grappa. The top of the travel flask has a screwcap and a removable cup is positioned at the bottom. Perfect to enjoy a sip of grappa whilst on the road. Scholten & Baijings designed five different color series: dark blue, light blue, grey/green, yellow and red/pink. The flasks owe their color to a unique anodizing technique. Each color complements one of the five selected Nonino Grappa varieties. Although I’m not yet a particular fan of grappa myself, I really admire the appearance of the travel flask. I like the soft, clean lines and the material used. A personal favorite is the dark blue flask. Beautiful.


Nissa Kinjalina’s Living Light is an interesting play on form and function. Each piece is conceived on the idea of having poured the light into the frame. The resulting forms embody a still in time almost, and the illuminated elements act as floating forms in a curated fusion of geometric lines. Available in three varying sizes and slightly varied shapes, the series can be arranged in infinite ways spatially. The light that is created from these pieces provides a constant mass of illumination across the pieces as they provide light. The idea is that each piece can be easily transported in the spaces that they are placed, is also uniquely considered by the designer. The light element is encased in the lower part from different sides with a thin matte acrylic and this creates a housing for transport and reconfiguration. Combining innovation and pushing the ideas of what lighting can do and add to our spaces, Kinjalina is one to watch. Photography courtesy of Nissa Kinjalina.


Last year, Glasgow-based watch brand Instrmnt launched Instrmnt 01, a beautifully minimalistic steel watch with traditional design elements and functionality. The aim of the brand is to create minimalist, high quality goods that are accessible to all. Each of Instrmnt’s 01 series watches were designed with care in their Glasgow studio. They take inspiration from the industrial design of the mid 20th century and their own personal desire for a watch that pairs high quality Swiss components with simple, utilitarian design. A timeless watch for a contemporary gentleman who just wants to know the time and date. Each watch comes with a calf leather strap in different colours, produced by one of the last remaining leather strap manufacturers in the Bavarian Forest. Craftsmen who work on straps have been plying their trade for thirty years or longer, using the same trusted machinery and procedures used in the early 20th century. The leather is sourced from a tannery located in the same town and widely regarded as one of best in the world. Photography by Neil Bedford.


Inkster Maken’s Eclipse Wall Light epitomises what combined tradition, method and passion can spawn. Hailing from South Australia, the vision and hands behind the label, draws from designer Hugh Altschwager’s background and rural upbringing to create a beautiful collection of hand-made illumination pieces. The Eclipse Wall Light is a wall sconce light made from locally sourced limestone, measuring 275mm in diameter and 150mm deep. Altschwager notes both Nordic local influences to his work, with regard to using traditional methods and local materials to refinement. Altschwager’s background in architecture and construction project management saw him recognise an opportunity in a bespoke niche market. Inkster Maken, conceived in 2013 was intended to utilise totally locally sourced natural unprocessed materials to create long lasting products with a timeless northern European aesthetic. All pieces of the collection are made to order, based on demand, and are designed and hand-crafted in Melbourne, Victoria. The Eclipse Wall Light and the overt attention to detail and nod to tradition, are to be revered. Photography courtesy of Inkster Maken.


The Budnitz No.1 by Budnitz Bicycles is a stunning urban bicycle designed to last a lifetime. The model No.1 has a titanium cantilever frame engineered to absorb road shock while providing lateral stiffness for power and speed. I love the gentle curves! It gives the bicycle a classic appearance. The geometry makes the bicycle a relatively upright cycling position, which is ideal for navigating traffic during the high speed morning commute. Not only are the frame and fork comprised of titanium; also the seatpost, stem and handlebars are made of this high value material. Paul Budnitz, founder of Budnitz Bicycles, not only prefers this metal for its light weight and durability, but also because of its unique ride characteristics and renewable aesthetic. The carbon, maintenance-free, belt drive ensures a smooth, quieter, cycling experience. Budnitz — artist, designer, author, filmmaker & serial entrepreneur — wanted a bicycle that was fun to ride, elegant and timeless. Because he was not able to find a bicycle that matched his requirements, he decided to build his own. He even started a whole company to sell his vision of a perfect bicycle to others.


Roderick’s Analog Watch is a refined and light-weight timepiece. Currently existing as a concept design only, and not yet in production, this piece is conceived on the idea of simplifying the stereotypical form of the analogue watch as much as possible while retaining its functionality and ease of use. Purposely designed in a way that has a sense of transparency of form and a physical connectedness to the user, through wear there is a unique and differentiated formal quality. The hands of the watch are attached to the circumference thus enabling it (the face) to be hollow. The way in which it opposes traditional formal expectations, the design takes the idea of its minimalist rhetoric to another level. Designed to be unisex and non-identifiable on a gender level is not a new approach, but in this case, creates an opportunity for a differing aesthetic based on its wearer; adding another level of identity. In a market where the analogue is in direct competition with the emerging wearables market, creates a sense of differentiated value is essential. This is a very clever nod. Photography courtesy of Roderick/TokyoFlash.


Minimalux, the UK based brand, wears its heart on its sleeves; the name itself leaves no room for doubting about the main influence for each project. Unsurprisingly, one of the most beloved minimal objects, the cube, is remixed to great effect to become the multi-color Neon. It’s worth noting that you may see a neon light visually, but there are none. It is nothing but an illusion. Here’s how the effect works: A folded steel box houses a common compact fluorescent lamp. No surprise there. The twist is where the light manages to surface, through the thin linear openings on each border of the cube. Thus, with a mix of clever angles and materials, emerges the Neon effect. This is very subdued lighting, far from being suitable as primary source for daily use. It is an extraordinary protagonist for lounge areas and as a supporting player for complex projects. Another surprising move is the color variance for Neon. Available in five colors: white, blue, green, yellow and pink. This is concrete proof that minimalism can retain its main qualities even when it goes beyond the reliable black and white. Neon-clad artist Dan Flavin would be proud.


Trava is a lightweight, three season, single pole tent by Boreas Gear that is unlike any other tent you have seen. Boreas’ designers were inspired by the bridges of the Spanish neo-futuristic architect Santiago Calatrava. The striated supports of Calatrava’s bridges work both as function and aesthetic. Like the bridges, the packs by Boreas Gear use a reinforced ribcage patterning and the design team’s aim was to combine both ideas in the structure of the tent. I really like the clean lines of Calatrava’s work and how the team of Boreas applied a similar style in the design of their first tent. The two person tent really stands out from others with its bright white colour. The completely white fly and the full grayscale canopy and pole system really go well together. The rain fly has a window and offers a clear view to the surrounding nature. A separate footprint that provides full ground cover can add an extra element of protection under the vestibule space. Boreas Gear is a small independent outdoor gear company based in San Fransisco. The small collaborative has clear vision for the future of outdoor equipment. They see an opportunity for better products, designed from the ground up,...