Minimalissimo


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Miami based company OCDesk, the self-proclaimed crusader for a more organized world (OCD – see what they did there?), created an OCDock – a neat iPhone docking station that attaches to your iMac and Thunderbolt monitors. The product’s most notable feature is the paper-thin cable that runs underneath the display stand, making it look wireless. Here is what designers say about OCDock on their already fully successful Kickstarter page: Less truly is more, but only so if the function is at the core. With these inspiring design principles in mind, we wanted to create a scaled back dock that would use as little material and space as possible while offering the most feature rich and comfortable docking and undocking experience. Designed as a seamless companion to Apple devices, OCDock is made using the same technologies and materials. It has been CNC machined from a solid piece of high-grade aluminium, glass bead blasted and anodized to match the finish of the iMac/Thunderbolt Display. The piece is also ergonomically conscious. It makes an iPhone easy to interact with while charging. Check out the video to see OCDock in action.


Realmac Software in collaboration with Helftone and Impending have collaborated on a Mac version of the now well-known iPhone application Clear. Popular for its minimalist and gestural interface, Clear succeeds at doing a small amount of features exceedingly well. Suitable for those looking for an alternative to heavy weight GTD systems, such as OmniFocus or Things, or as a sophisticated tool to keep lists. The Mac application will be familiar to those who have used the iPhone application, but includes some features specifically tailored to OS X. Now using iCloud, Clear syncs with the newly updated 1.2 version of the iPhone application.


The Squarespace Note iPhone and iPad app, designed by Squarespace, Inc., is a simple and intuitive way to capture thoughts, ideas, inspirations, and transfer them to various services. The app syncs seamlessly with email, Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, Facebook and your Squarespace account, should you have one. It does all that in a clean minimalist interface, which is a thing of beauty in itself. What is interesting about the app is that it’s not used as a database, but a passthrough. It becomes the first place you go to send a note or a reminder to yourself. Squarespace Note helps anyone record their ideas on the fly. Writers, bloggers, and others can use the app to record inspiration and ideas as they happen. The lightweight mobile app immediately loads a blank canvas when it’s launched. Unbranded, black and white feel lets you concentrate on content, not presentation.  I love how seamless Squarespace Note is. Everything is done with minimum effort on the user’s part. Uncomplicated usability that fully matches app’s minimalist looks.


In March of this year, multidisciplinary designers Signe Emma and Alice Young produced and exhibited an installation titled The Edge, at the Stour Space Gallery in Hackney Wick, London. The beautifully crafted project focuses on the vulnerability of the Eurozone, illustrating how the Euro is teetering ever closer to the edge of collapse. To demonstrate the effect of this collapse we used 100 sheets of A0 paper, which were individually cut to represent the imminence of a foreclosing gap. The assembly of the economy is ultimately the bane of its existence as expressed through each layer and finally to the last where none of the edges of the countries are cut out. An almost transparent Euro symbol in the top left hand corner serves to further the idea of weakness in the currency. I really enjoy the visual effect and simplicity of this installation whilst communicating a very complex issue. Very nice work.


Berlin based German artist Thilo Heinzmann is currently exhibiting his solo project, Tacmo at the Andersen-S Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark. This interesting and wonderfully executed collection of canvas paintings has been beautifully presented in the gallery, running until 11 August 2012. Each canvas has an intricately structured black surface, illustrating elongated swings, elegant curves, straight lines of varying length and width that result from working into the paint. An acknowledgement of the tradition of colour-field painting, these black planes also become the site of inscription for sparse and well-calculated movements that the artist executes with both a brush and his hands. They produce a visual suppleness and the impression of speed that they project, emerges amidst the general calm that exudes from the paintings. If you managed to see this exhibition in person, please share your thoughts, or if you’re in the vicinity, try to catch it in the next couple of days.


Japanese graphic design firm D-Bros have recently released a new line of stationery called D-Bros for Business. The collection is aimed at working professionals and consists of three essential items – the notebook, the file and the card case. All three designs are elegant and minimal, giving a simplistic take on stationery classics. The Javaring File allows for all shapes and sizes of paper or documents to be quickly stored away for retrieval later. The Pen and Note is a clever little notebook featuring a pen and paper pocket. And the Paper Card Case is based on a simplistic form born from a single piece of paper and a single fold. All three products are available for purchase through caina.


Norwegian Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter recently finished a National Tourist Route Rv 889 in Havoysund, Norway. The objective was to magnify visitors’ experience of walking from the roadside down to the seaside. The winding concrete ramp does not only allow universal accessibility but becomes an integral part of the journey. It slows down visitors in a measured, restrained approach and brings out the awareness of one’s surroundings within the remoteness of a place. Located in the extreme north of Norway, in a landscape almost lunar in its barren and inhospitable beauty, the facility should ideally be completely self-sustainable in terms of power input and waste output. The general notion was to create a human detail in the vastness of the landscape that is as timeless as the landscape itself and that brings attention to the relationship between the duration of experiences and the hugeness of the spatial circumstances.  I would love to walk that path in slow, measured and restrained steps as the architects intended, wouldn’t you?


Japanese composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda recently designed an exhibition for the Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Berlin, which ran from 28 January to 9 April of this year. The project’s title ‘db‘ (abbr. for decibel) refers to the symmetry of the two halls on the upper level of the museum’s east and west wings, while simultaneously indicating the complementary relationship between the two exhibition spaces. The project is a composition in which time and space are shaped through the most minimal use of sound, light and visual elements. There is a very insightful video of the exhibition, which illustrates just how stunning this work of art is. If you managed to visit the ‘db’ exhibition in person however, please share your thoughts.


Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles for Good Design inspired the latest weather app, WTHR, by Visual Designer David Elgena. The identity of Braun products subtly come through with the classic minimalist forms, universal icons, intuitive display and clean, simple font. The drop shadows on the symbol displays and toggle button for temperature conversion add depth while using the app which makes the iPhone transform into another (Apple) product. For $0.99 at the App store, it sounds like a bargain. After all, how often do we really need to know that today’s highest temperature in was 70C at 2.20pm when conditions were partly cloudy at 83% humidity? Stop wasting time staring at weather radars and atmospheric pressure readings, you’re not an airline pilot…WTHR™ Indeed. Devoid of all unnecessary information stripped down to just what most people in moderate climates need, I think WTHR celebrates the trend of good design in a sensory-overload culture. Check out this YouTube video for a short demo.


Aidlin Darling Design have been my favorite San Francisco based architects for quite a long time. With a portfolio filled with one stunning project after the next, it is easy to see why. I have chosen to highlight the Sonoma Spa Retreat as it has become somewhat an iconic project to which I often return to for inspiration. The spa pavilion is an intimate private retreat extending of an existing rammed-earth house and is opened to the landscape, framing distant views of San Francisco to the south. The simplicity of the space only accentuates the impeccable precision of detailed design decisions which admirably come across effortless. One is then able to appreciate the spatial quality (immediate and outer) through curated material selection and mentioned framed views. In each project, we seek to uncover an inherent spirit of place and interpret constraints as catalysts for performative design. The individual character of each project emerges through poetic spatial relationships, material richness, and exacting detail. Fantastic design philosophy, don’t you think? I hope you enjoy their work.


Featuring the ‘Roof House’ Proposal by Betillon/Dorval-Bory Architects submitted in the competition in Chiba, Japan. The eight proposed homes are based around the reinvention of something we are all familiar with – the concept of a roof. The project experiments not only with a space itself but also the human body in it, therefore opens new possibilities about how people live. The ‘Roof House’ is a place with architectural, acoustic and visual qualities and allows for various spatial reconfigurations and potential developments. Some other effective strengths include a minimal use of materials, construction costs and the overall use of energies due to the grouped housing. With no protective walls and with only slanted roof, one might ask what happens with the climate on the inside, what is the ventilation like, what are the qualities of light and shadows and what would a daily movement within really be like? In their own words, the architects explain the concept: We choose not to yield to the temptation of suburban individualism, one of the causes of the disappearance of social ties and greater consumer of land. Thus, it is in an elegant form of collective housing that we integrate our eight houses.  In a mix of...


The dynamic Belgium architecture firm Govaert & Vanhoutte was recently featured on Minimalissimo with their amazing Villa Roces and when browsing through their website I couldn’t resist highlighting a couple more of their interior projects. However, I highly suggest visiting their portfolio which is filled with modern, minimal designs. One of the projects you see on the left and below is an office space/showroom Govaert & Vanhoutte did for Mercedes in Roeselare, Belgium. Strong graphics on the walls lead the eye throughout and become the main design point that compliments rather than competes with the purpose of the space. The application of concrete, glass and wood floors keeps  the space modern, yet classic. The other project is another office/retail space, this time for a Belgium fashion label San Martino. Again, the use of concrete plays an important role in the concept with white oversized tables and storage units supporting the easy flow througout. The main color element is left up to the clothing itself, providing I’m sure an ever-changing visual treat.