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?
Categorized “Industrial design”
Creative minimalist minds at Tokyo based Naruse Inokuma Architects (Jun Inokuma & Yuri Naruse) came up with this unusual piece of tableware. One For All plate is a serving piece, designed for multiple dishes. Crafted from a single piece of wood, the elongated plate has differently sized indentations, allowing you to plan your salads, snacks, condiments etc. I love the fluidity of this piece. Designers purposely chose the natural wood shade in order to visually blend the plate with the table. This way the dinnerware disappears, and only the food remains in focus.
Studio Macura, lead by Dutch product designer Marko Macura, is an Eindhoven based design label of domestic accessories and furnishings, with a certain minimalist aesthetic. One product in particular stood out for me. That is the beautiful design of Lako – a bent-steel wire rack for storing books and magazines. Compact and light, it can be placed next to a sofa or a bed. Periodicals and books that are arranged on this sculptural yet functional object become a mini, mobile library. The handle at the apex is used to move it around while its straight lines and angles permit various options for storing. Lako is not dissimilar to the sleek Jorge magazine rack previously featured on Minimalissimo, but is available in high gloss powder coating or electroplating finishes, as well as three colours; black, grey, and white. The slim and simple straight line structure makes for a product I’d certainly consider for my home.
Roll is a recent minimalist creation of French designer Ferréol Babin. The T-shaped object combines in itself a well thought-out functional idea with visual simplicity. The piece is composed of two independent yet complementary elements. The tube with the lighting source fits on the base. Thanks to the rotational motion, you can adjust the light, going from an indirect and soft one, to a direct light perfect for reading or working. I also love how portable Roll is. You can easily take it apart for storage and transportation. The transformer is hidden inside the hollow body of the lamp, which is another beautiful touch.
Jeroen van Leur’s Woodstock Wardrobe is a lightweight and mobile furniture collection. The robe system is designed and inspired by the construction apparatus and mechanisms of traditional tent poles. The system comes disassembled in a tent-like travel bag, with each component separated and articulated for an interior purposed aesthetic. Essentially this is a modular system, which can further be customized with a variety of colours and finishes available. The system combines wooden sticks and copper connection parts and is available in three differing sizes. The primary idea of the Woodstock Wardrobe is to exhibit your favoured pieces, instead of hiding them in the traditional robe scenario. Woodstock is about pieces for the urban nomad. Only requiring a wall to lean on, the lines and minimal everything about this piece, make it an easy, and easily transportable addition to any collection. Photography courtesy of Jeroen van Leur.
San Francisco based audio accessories brand Native Union, strive to bring communication back to how it should be: simple and enjoyable. With this in mind, they have designed the award winning Switch – a compact, lightweight, and portable Bluetooth speaker. It pairs to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with wireless ease, letting you listen to all your audio with unmatched sound and quality. The name Switch derives from its ability to play audio effectively in both a vertical and horizontal position. Aside from its sound quality, it’s the beautifully minimalist box design that has me particularly impressed. The speaker’s rubber exterior encases all sides of the box except the metal speaker screen. The exterior also features the Native Union logo, which unfortunately is its only aesthetic flaw. I would have preferred a more subtle (same colour) engraving. However, an intuitive volume wheel inspired by hi-fi audio systems is convenient to use, regardless of the speaker’s position. Switch comes in a variety of colours and is available on both the Native Union and the Apple stores. Images courtesy of Apple.
Industrial designer Lorenzo Buffa recently launched a Kickstarter for his newest project – the Carpenter Collection. Carpenter is a series of watches that varies in materials that have flexible wooden straps. Yes, you can indeed bend it! Carpenter is a part of a grander brand that Lorenzo himself founded – Analog Watch Co., with the intention of bringing a little bit of nature into daily lives. The collection consists of different types of woods like bamboo and maple with the integration of leather free loops . The contrast between the metal watch hands and the wooden case is beautifully subtle. I’m a sucker for big watches, especially big wooden watches; they are timeless and unique. The design is minimal and efficient. If you are interested, the designer wouldn’t mind a little support. Meanwhile, I will continue fawning over the silverheart and maple design.
Cords and cables are notorious destroyers of visual peace and laconic beauty in minimalist designs. That is why it is so unusual to see a minimalist idea sprang from a humble cord and not much else. Petrus Palmér Jonas Pettersson and John Löfgren of Swedish studio Form Us With Love created the Cord Lamp for the brand Design House Stockholm. A textile cord is merged with a steel tube, holding aloft an oversized globe bulb. Here is how designers describe the concept: You can let it irritate you, break your neck tripping over it, or you can surrender, hide it behind the skirting board or press it into a groove. But it’s smarter to make friends with the enemy. Cord Lamp turns the cursed flex into a simple eye-catcher. If there’s any message to a lamp, just for the fun of it, what about ‘make peace not war’. I love how delicate the piece looks. A simple cord and a simple bulb, just by being made a focal point, appear quite exquisite.
Stockholm-based designers Superfront bring a fresh approach to the customization of accessible cabinetry design. Their collection is conceived on the possibility to create high quality furniture at a sensible price. There is an emphasis on affordable design that bridges the gap of accessibility to the masses. I have a great deal of respect for this philosophy. The concept is simple; their pieces (cabinet fronts, legs and handles) are all interchangeable with current Ikea stock. Based on using the standard Ikea components as a basis for the cabinetry, clients are able to create pieces that have a greater and diversified sense of individuality. All pieces are minimal in their design aesthetic, and therefore also align with the classic lines of a broader audience with little influence from trending. We design furniture based on a well-established foundation, a concept that allows our furniture to fall into a completely different price category compared to any equivalent. This collection and its concept are worth a look. Photography courtesy of Superfront.
London based brand Uniform Wares, designers of the beautiful 100 Series wristwatches previously featured on Minimalissimo back in 2010, have recently unveiled their all-new 104 Series. This immaculate and minimalistic collection includes the PVD Black with black rubber, the Satin Bead Blasted with blue rubber, and the Brushed Steel with orange rubber. Each of which is as beautiful as the other. The 104 Series boldly plays with colour blocking and texture, using subtly different colours and contrasting materials on the cases, bezels and other elements including the dials, batons and markers. This new design is a comprehensive update to Uniform Wares’ iconic 100 collection. Instead of the pointed tip being on the hour hand as previously, it now appears on the minute hand, but it begs the question; why have a pointed tip at all? On a whole though, the design of each piece in this series certainly impresses with my preference lying with the black.
Sound1 bluetooth speakers were designed to please the eye as well as the ear. Created by studio cloudandco and produced by South Korean company 11+, the minimalist device has been thought out to the last detail. The bottom edge of each speaker is cut at an angle, allowing it to tilt and project sound at an ideal trajectory. Thanks to magnets embedded in the speakers, they can be joined into a single tube and stored compactly in the included pouch. When not in use, the cables can be neatly kept within an empty space at the bottom of each piece. I love the fluidity of this design. Each element is a functional continuation of the other. I imagine these speakers being a nice compliment for iOS devices.
Building Block has delivered once again with their AW 2013 collection. Los Angeles sister duo, Kimberly and Nancy Wu, has launched yet another line to add to their seamless and beautifully crafted curation. Their latest offering is again a fusion of handsome leathers and considered disciplined design. Their signature wooden building blocks also make the cut, of course. There exists a particular drawcard in the collection, in the unique form and functionality of the Wooden Sphere Clutch. Its execution and innovation of use are to be commended. In a similar and rightfully considered vein as the rest of the collection, the integration of natural elements, namely wood and leather, are spot on. The clutch includes a seamless magnetic closer and rubber handle with smooth black leather exterior. Measuring 12.5cm in height by 25cm in width, it stands as a statement piece. With the intent of magnifying essentials and editing out excess, Building Block finds continual inspiration in returning to square one. And for this reason, I am happily along for the ride. Photography courtesy of Kimberly and Nancy Wu.