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.
Categorized “Industrial design”
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.
Lapka has introduced another clever health tracking accessory: the Breath Alcohol Monitor. The Lapka BAM is an accessory for your phone that allows you to track alcohol metabolism over time and compare and share your measurements with friends. Another piece where technology and aesthetics come together in harmony. Lapka BAM is a minimalist black ceramic cylinder, that uses inaudible sound waves to communicate wireless with a custom app on your smartphone. The use of the Lapka BAM is easy: hold it in your fist, take a deep breath and blow for four seconds. The edge of your hand becomes the mouthpiece. The BAM icon on your phone screen will fill up completely when finished. The design of the app is cleverly done: the more drunk one is, the simpler the appearance of the app becomes. One sees an indication of the current blood alcohol level along with a description of what that means in practical terms.
Canadian designer, Lukas Peet brings us his effortlessly beautiful pendant lamp. Everyone, meet Rudi. The lamp fixture is a combination of brass tubing bent to an extruded-oblong shape, together with a moulded cathode lamp. The pendant is then suspended from its own cord, which is knotted around the brass, at its top pivot equilibrium point. Peet’s portfolio consists of a combination of lighting, furniture, objects, graphic design, installations and photography. His work has a contemporary edge and a minimalist feel. Conceived in 2013, the structural halo that Rudi creates both a geometric and a streamlined nod to illuminating the space. Rudi is available in single, large or double loops and currently available through Roll & Hill. I have a feeling Rudi is destined to make quite a few new friends. Photography courtesy of Joseph De Leo.
Ode to Things is a microstore specialised in well-designed, quality lifestyle accessories, and when I recently discovered one of their objects in the form of the Futagami Brass Bottle Opener designed by Masanori Oji, it lead me to a store full of beautifully minimalist and simple accessories. A collection that I have no doubt many of you will also appreciate. Ode to Things explains: We love objects that add function, style, and fun to your life. That’s why we created this concise collection of everyday items that are special in the way they bring form, function, and elegance together. From Hidetoshi Takahashi’s Kami Wood Cups, to Lovisa Wattman’s Iris Hantverk Concrete Bowls, to Christina Weber’s Studiopatró Kitchen & Café Aprons, this range of household objects have been superbly selected, and as a relatively new online store, I will be keeping a close eye on how Ode to Things develops throughout the year.
If Etsy is a bottomless chest of random treasures, Ingleside Pottery‘s products are the ones that I would take back to display in my minimal pirate ship. Based in Ohio, United States, and founded by ceramist Laine Snyder in May 2011, the online shop has garnered a lot of attentions for its minimal way of fusing nature into one’s very own home. Using her passion for birds, plants, porcelains, and the classic spinning wheel, the designer created products that both bring ease to the eyes and move along with modern aesthetics. They vary from hanging planters and bird feeders to household appliances. The dedication towards craftsmanship is apparent through the seamless appearance of these cute potteries. I enjoy the subtle contrasts between the white shells and the earthy colors of their contents, the smoothness of the porcelain against the rougher textures of plants and grains; there’s a beauty in those simple differences. Photos Courtesy of Ingleside Pottery.
Ninebyfour is a minimalist LED ceiling lamp by the Amsterdam based studio Waarmakers. The LED light tubes do not generate any heat during use, allowing the creators to use atypical materials for the fixture: wood and cork. Every year thousands of trees are felled in the Amsterdam area. Usually the city trees disappear from root to branch in a shredder. The wood for the Ninebyfour fixture however comes from these salvaged trees. The former location of the ‘unfortunate’ trees are stamped on the cork. Simply enter the coordinates in Google maps and find out the trees’ origins. A first batch, from the Albert Neuhuysstraat, is now available.
Danish audio design company, AIAIAI, have recently updated their hugely successful TMA-1 headphones range with an even more basic and minimalist design. The TMA-1 X are versatile closed headphones, democratically designed for DJing, monitoring and mobile devices that feature a dynamic and balanced sound, suitable for all types of music. Designed with comfort and portability in mind, they feature a minimalistic headband and a unique capsule design, which makes them an attractive and lower-cost alternative to the TMA-1 DJ or TMA-1 Studio. The updated design of these matte-black headphones is courtesy of the wonderful work of Scandinavian industrial designers, KiBiSi. So if you are in the market for a new pair, the TMA-1 X will surely give you something to think about. Certainly the latest addition to my wish-list.