Minimalissimo


Categorized “Industrial design”

Yenwen Tseng’s Big Hands Clock is a simplified play on lines. The interconnecting hands that comprise the timepiece are connected through a central pin. There is an intention of exploring the perception of time where the two hands interact inseparably and how various expressions of time at every moment. A feature to appreciate is the hierarchy of size, and consequential function of the two hands. It is obvious, without being overt, that the series of hands are acting as hour and minute hands, without needing numeric indicators. I appreciate this subtlety immensely. Originally from Taiwan, Yenwen Tseng studied in Stockholm and later interned in New York, and eventually started his own studio in 2011. This is one talent to watch. Photography courtesy of Yenwen Tseng.


Picto wall clock is a minimalist timepiece created by Steen Georg Christensen and Erling Andersen for Rosendahl. Inspired by the Picto watch, this piece features the same rotating dial principle as its predecessor. Hours are marked with a simple dot and minutes by a conventional moving hand. I love bold color combinations – light-grey and pink, dark-grey and lime. The clock also comes in two variations of black and white. There is no glass to catch reflections, leaving your view perfectly clear from any angle.


Iacoli & McAllister’s Frame Coffee Table is a sleek and streamlined example of seamless functionality. The line work of the copper-plated steel base, together with the tempered glass top, make for a crisp furniture addition to any modestly minimal interior space. Seattle-based Iacoli & McAllister acts as a catalyst for a number of understated sculptural pieces. Their site features a number of geometrically inspired pieces that, along with being very much on trend with current aesthetics and styling, are timeless and act as space beautifiers, if you will. The Frame Coffee Table is available in two finishes; natural oiled ash frame and a steel finish also and can be shipped internationally. The Frame Coffee Table would be a timeless additional to any space. Photography courtesy of Iacoli & McAllister.


Cathérine Lovatt is a Belgian freelance ceramicist who’s portfolio of ceramic works has found me hugely impressed, particularly because of their minimalist aesthetic. Lovatt has designed for the likes of Serax, Domani and Belgoflor, and it is this beautiful collection of ceramic crockery for the Belgian company Serax, that I would like to share with you. Family Set, which includes plates, bowls, beakers, carafe and teapot, are made in stoneware clay consisting of six different basic forms based on the cylinder. Each piece from the collection is available for purchase through the Gosto online store. The teapot would make for a particularly good Christmas gift, in my opinion. Superb.


Fusion are two wonderful wooden knives developed by the Italian designer Andrea Ponti. They are available in two sizes and colors, and also two types of blade for different uses: serrated and non-serrated. They have been made as a limited edition by Issei Hanaoka, an artist and craftsman from Japan. The combination of industrial design, craftsmanship and cultures has certainly proved to be a successful one, as Ponti explains: Two cultures and two design languages usually far apart from one another blend in the common language of design and tell the story of a project that spans from research to the creation of innovative products for markets around the world. This design and cultural blend produced Fusion. Both knives feature ergonomic grips and the packaging is a re-design of the traditional Japanese boxes called kiribako, that enclose and protect them form humidity.


Systems is an exhibition of commissioned poster designs and ‘60s Braun products, presented in a single grid at the Walter Knoll London showroom from 25 Nov – 31 Dec 2013. The exhibition is curated by das programm and produced in association with Braun. An international group of graphic designers respond to the systematicity of Braun Design, each one of them notably minimalist, such as Experimental Jetset, Hey Studio, Ross Gunter, Antonio Carusone, Spin, Tomasz Berezowski, Spin and more. Featured here is Berlin–based studio Neubau‘s series of posters, exploring the concepts of Form, Typography and Colour. Find out more about each poster and the specific concept developed in each design. All the works are available for purchase as a limited edition of A1 prints, individually or as a cased set. I’d love one in my living room!


PA1 (an acronym for Proper Audio) is a minimal mountable aluminium bodied bluetooth speaker, made by Australian studio Proper. Designers tried to create a combination of laconic beauty and powerful sound. The result is being currently founded through Kickstarter. Here is how they describe it: PA1 connects wirelessly to virtually every smart phone, tablet and computer, regardless of operating system. We’ve selected a premium Bluetooth module, with close consideration to antenna placement ensuring clear, consistent pairing and audio streaming. PA1 also remembers up to 5 devices, so you’ll only ever need to pair the first time you turn it on. The On, Off, and Pairing commands are operated intuitively via a single button. The device is versatile, it can be moved from one room to another, mounted on a wall or placed on a shelf or desk. The interchangeable fabric covers are available in black and white.


Urban Oasis’ Still House Collection is a new take on the traditional drinking vessel and serving accompaniment. The beautifying of the everyday through materiality and finish, offer an element of occasion through form. Designed in New York City, the collection is distributed both locally and internationally and has a growing consumer base. The pieces are a combination of glazed and raw ceramic elements that are intended to bring a sense of calm and simplicity. Exhibited and sold through Still House in New York, Urban Oasis has created a collection that is both accessible, considered and embedded with deliberate minimalist detail. There is an organic quality to the forms also, playing with light and illumination through the materiality. Open since May 2011, Still House is a vehicle for emerging designers across New York, Japan, Scandinavia and Europe and is a blend between shop and gallery where they pride themselves on being a place to find new art and design talent. Nestled in East Village, I applaud the launching pad they offer for local artists and the quality and accessibility to designed pieces they offer the end user. Photography courtesy of Still House.


Stockholm based design studio People People set about reinventing a classic with their latest project. They wanted to update the robust, albeit heavy and clumsy Kronan bike with a more sleek, light weight and minimalist design, stripped down to its essence. So People People designed a successor in Spiran. A robust construction combined with a sleek, light weight frame and slim racing tires, Spiran has been optimised for the agility and speed needed in a city. The designers also opted for a single speed approach, with a carbon fibre belt instead of a chain, meaning no lubrication or maintenance. In everything from the frame to the leather details, we wanted to use only genuine materials that not only last a long time, but also age with grace. Besides its clean lines and slim form factor, People People’s design also impresses with the integrated bike lock that folds out from the front basket, locking the bike in the front wheel or even around a city lamp post or fence. Simple, clever and robust. I love it.


I like high-end minimalist products but sometimes I stumble upon a more ordinary, everyday, product. The new tableware Eugeni Quitllet created for Air France catched my eye. The collection was conceived with the ‘aerodynamics’ of the air crafts in which they will be used on in mind. A design that disappears to give away the spirit of an idea: the search for the essential, objects sculpted by air and for the air. From the collection I would like to highlight the cutlery, of which the formal aspects have been fashioned to look like a plane, and comes as an assembly kit, which can be easily pieced together for use. The result: an orginal, minimalist, cutlery set with a fun twist suited for adults and children.


P.A.C.O. is a minimalist bluetooth speaker created by Italian studio Digital Habit(s). This is a stand-alone piece, it can be placed on a desk, shelf or any other surface. Here is how designers describe it: P.A.C.O. is a digital loudspeaker manufactured in concrete and Fir Harmonic Board. The body, heavy and amorphous, enhances the deepness of bass and the harmonic wood gives warmth to the treble. Aside from the bluetooth controls, the speaker can be operated via hand gestures. For example you can place and hold your hand over one side of the sensor to change volume. And to stop the music, you can just cover the sensor with your hand. Simple and intuitive.


Minimalism sometimes relies on deconstructing and reinterpreting of classic designs to form contemporary iterations. Fascinated and inspired by negative spaces, these custom chess-sets by American industrial designer Stefan Gougherty challenges the way we look at the traditional game of chess. Using the method of carving, voids were extracted out of transparent acrylic cubes and then painted to create the modern silhouettes of the standards. The hollow centers also allow these pieces to be strung together for storage. While the new images might seem offensive to a chess player due to the abstraction of forms, they do indicate the forward movement of design and make us rethink about the normality of everyday life. I completely love this idea of taking things out of contexts to reform the thoughts of their users. What is chess without some thoughts, right?