Minimalissimo


Categorized “Industrial design”

Nendo’s N Bottle is the perfect vessel for beloved sake label Nakata Hidetoshi. Conceived in 2003, its classic and timeless formality is as befitting and appropriate as ever. The cap is made by spinning aluminum into its tubular form on a lathe with the slightest of dimples set into the surface to aid the pouring process. Japanese and minimal, this piece embodies understated industrial design. The original brief requested a bottle that shields its contents from ultraviolet rays that also would explore a shape not ordinarily used for sake. Formally akin to a stick of charcoal, the resulting container is slick. N Bottle is made with Yamadanishiki and Aiyama rice varieties, making it an extremely high quality sake. The parent collaboration of great product and design, sees birth to N Bottle as a pillar in industrial design and brand alignment. Photography courtesy of Hiroshi Iwasaki.


Glass and concrete are materials I believe make for a perfect combination. The Willmann Vase is that synergy that came out of those two materials. When calling it a synergy, it is literally made up of two separate parts. It’s quite daring to inverse their weight aesthetically — for the upper portion is dominated by the heaviness of concrete and the lower holds the fragility of transparent glass. By doing so, the product gives off a sense of weightlessness, effortlessness, and of course, elegance. When fused together, they form a harmonization of femininity and masculinity, almost calming. When separated, they are still functional — the glass underneath turns into a cup and the concrete top, with its modest opening, transforms into an object with numerous usages. This clever vase design was named after its author, Hanne Willmann. As an industrial designer based in Berlin, she constantly seeks new materiality combinations to articulate her work. The Willmann Vase, in my opinion, is the product that truly defines the minimalist in her.


Halo is a hanging lamp designed by the Spanish designer Martín Azúa for the also Spanish lighting manufacturer Vibia. There are two versions of the ceiling lamp available — with circular or straight pieces, that create a subtle and magical lighting effect, seemingly floating in the open space with its great formal lightness, due to the designer’s use of LED technology and PMMA plastic. The result is stunning. Halo is available in matt white lacquer, and much like other recent Vibia products, it has been developed with a variety of configurations in mind, depending on the needs of each space. I like this.


Nendo have designed, for their own brand by | n, a new stationery collection. The collection consists of eleven minimalist items: the flip pen, contrast ruler, circle tags, link clips, rubber bands, outline tray, cross pen-stand, peel pen-case, hard cover memo-pad, edge note and the dot envelope. I would like to feature four items that caught my eye: Contrast ruler A minimalist ruler with marking fading from white to black, making the ruler easy to read on dark and light surfaces. Circle tag Normal sticky notes can be easily ripped off. The pie chart shaped notes however will stay in place for a long period of time thanks to an increased sticky surface and reduced number of corners. Link clip The link clips, made of high frictional paper, come connected and are detached one by one for use. Desktops keep tidy and they can be recycled along with the paper. Edge notes The edge notebooks have a colourful edge to help with filling. Filed with the spine outwards the books present a neat appearance, filed with the edges outwards the books are distinguishable by colour. Pages of the books are printed in a light cross pattern to provide enough guidance but less restrictive than lines....


Copenhagen is a minimalist bluetooth loudspeaker created by the Danish studio design-people for the sound systems manufacturer Vifa. Simple to use and portable, the piece can work wirelessly or connect to your devices through a mini-jack or USB port. All the buttons and controls are carefully hidden to achieve the clean, uncluttered look. Here is how designers describe their approach: Nordic design addresses complex issues and turns them into simple and appealing solutions. Keynotes are respect for materials, details, and for the user experience. All details are toned down to the essentials with high finish and ease of use. The exquisite basics for anyone who values exclusive design just as much as authentic sound. I like the balance between the clean, sleek execution and the familiar shape, reminiscent of old radios from the 60s. Copenhagen comes in six colors – black, gray, yellow, red, blue and aquamarine.


It is not easy to romanticize veneer, but Netherlands based studio Oato succeeded by designing this minimalist coat stand, aptly called Peel. Created in collaboration with woodworking company Kuperus & Gardenier, the peace makes the best of the material - Finnish birch plywood. Here is how the designers describe their approach: We call our way of design a search for ‘the poetic side of industrial design’. Our goal is to reshape the everyday objects that surround us, by balancing emotion and industry. The Peel coat stand is definitely a harmonious equilibrium between aesthetics and utility. Inspired by the way veneer is created (carving thin strips of wood from a log) we returned the strips to a stem, from which small parts seemed to be peeled to create the coat hooks. I love the fact that the function here arises from the quality of the wood, and because of that, it looks spontaneous and, yes, very poetic.


Kebei Li’s Bronze Cable Holder reinterprets the utilitarian. Fusing functionality and form, this piece helps to express the beauty in the un-ornate. Simplistic in finish and beautifully crafted, Li has really crafted something minimal, from an everyday untapped opportunity for assistance. Inspired by his daily frustration of charging cables falling off of the table, the intent was for this to be a very function-driven design approach with clear affordance. Rhode Island-based Li is very passionate about the use of raw and genuine materials and the absence of decoration. I find this approach very interesting, especially his quality of honesty with the materiality. His work focuses on the human-object interaction and how the reliability of use and the making of the design all connect in some way. The material itself, being bronze was specific due to its layer of patina that forms through use over time. There is also an emphasis on the controlled geometry which I appreciate on many levels. Photography courtesy of Kebei Li.


Cathérine Lovatt is a Belgian freelance ceramicist who’s work we previously featured towards the end of last year. We have since kept a close eye on her ceramic creations and today I would like to share with you her beautifully simplistic ceramic wall vase, designed for Belgian interior decoration brand, Serax. The minimalistic cylindrical design of this hanging vase, part of Lovatt’s Episode One collection, certainly adds an elegant touch to any wall. Measuring only 11cm, this fabulous little object is available in grey, but could quite easily be painted to match a particular aesthetic in one’s home. If you enjoy just a hint of greenery, this would make for an ideal and subtle decorative solution for the minimalist in you. Photography courtesy of Ale Besso.


Oki Sato, the creative force behind Nendo, recently teamed up with chopstick manufacturer Hashikura Matsukan to reinvent the ancient utensil and rethink the way we use it. The result was the collection of six beautiful designs, out of which we would like to point out two – rassen and kamiai. Both are marked by the same principle – combining a pair into a single entity. Nendo explains: Chopsticks ordinarily come in pairs, but the rassen chopsticks are a single unit. They’re separated into two for eating, then rejoined into one form when not in use. Unlike the rassen chopsticks, that intertwine via spiral rotation, kamiai utilize an external element. The chopsticks interlock thanks to the magnets placed at the base of each piece. Kamiai simply snap together when they are flipped and fitted to each other. The magnets are inserted towards the outside of each chopstick, so that the chopsticks don’t get locked accidentally while someone is using them to eat.


Nordic Tales, which sounds rather magical, is a platform where designers and products come together under the traditions of Scandinavian designs. While the word “traditions” may throw one off, the home furnishes being produced from the brand are forward, minimal, and modern. That word, however, is a reference to the craftsmanship that comes from the brand’s own joiners. With such a classic way to bring the final designs together, their values are more well-respected. In contrast to the cold weather of the Northern hemisphere, the outputs hold a warmth to them through the colors of wood and light, their quirky shapes, and one’s personal customization. Although established not too long ago, the site is constantly evolving, with Martin D. Christensen winning an award with his table named POET. I especially love the bookshelf called Flip, designed by Jonas Hoejgaard, due to its use of materials (walnut and steel); the stark friction of the two colors simply brings excitement. I cannot wait to see what the site has to offer in the future, and will keep an eye out for more brilliant products.


Magneto is a minimalist table lamp created by French studio Hekla. The piece is comprised of two parts – a metal base and an autonomous lighting source, made out of wood and fitted with an LED strip. Thanks to the magnetic component inside the wooden part, you can freely move the light, attach it at any angle and easily customize the direction of the light. I love how versatile the piece is. You can put it together in many different ways as a table lamp. You can also take it completely apart and attach the lighting component to any metal surface around the house. Very clever.


Nendo’s Key Calendar challenges the way we track time. The Key Calendar is a device that both requires interaction, and encourages it. The use of keys to indicate the month, days and days of the week are indicated by inserting each key. Originally produced in 2004, this piece still embodies the minimalistic aesthetic that deems it timeless. Nendo is a master of this. In a way, the traditional advent calendar also requires the user to create a relationship with the time piece, whereby the behavior of opening a door each day, then reveals its contents. Similarly, Nendo plays by similar rules. Each day, the calendar requires the user to actually move sequential key pieces, to update the time indicated. This challenge of engagement helps change the interface of how time is tracked and requires the user to search for it, engage with it, and be aware of it. The key is also a symbol of the unlocking of a new door, ie. a new day. I like this. Photography courtesy of Hiroshi Iwasaki.