Minimalissimo


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Naked Shapes is an exhibition of aluminum Japanese household objects from the first half of the 20th century, cleaned of dirt and any sort of make-up such as paint, labels or other excess decoration. The objects were collected over the years by industrial designer Seiji Onishi, gallerist Keiichi Sumi and graphic designer Nobuhiro Yamaguchi. A group of students from Parsons The New School for Design in New York did the cleaning. The items are currently on display at the Domaine de Boisbuchet, a country estate in the Southwest of France. Their website describes it well: In their simplicity, anonymity and material nakedness, they express a quiet yet clear poetry of everyday objects. Personally, I love the effect his cleaning has… So honest! What do you think?


New York based web design studio Type/Code have designed the very minimalist It’s Almost countdown tool website. The concept is very simple. You enter an event name, large or small, regardless of its importance and set the date and time. It then generates a web address for you to return to and see the simple and elegantly styled countdown clock. Even if an event name is exactly the same, the web address will be unique. To establish what time zone it is in, simply hover over the countdown text. I love the look of this website, in particular the typeface and as a bit of fun, it works well.


Software development agency Dark Heartfelt have created Grandview – a fully customisable and incredibly simple notepad, which allows for one-word-at-a-time-text-entry. By pressing a hotkey from any application on Mac, one can quickly enter a full-screen writing experience. The notepad allows the user to view text word by word, sentence by sentence, but also as a full page. Grandview is custimisable in the sense that the user has the option to change the font colour, size and face as well as the background colour. It can also operate in clean slate mode so that every time it is activated it clears the user’s previous entry. There is no doubting the originality of Grandview and as a distraction-free, uninterupted writing environment, it certainly amplifies efficiency. Perhaps not as sleek as other writing software, but it is very inexpensive. Well executed and well worth a try. Watch this video to see how it works.


Berlin-based artist Olafur Eliasson, a Minimalissimo favourite, conceptualised Your House. The book, designed in 2006 by Michael Heimann and Claudia Baulesch, is a limited-edition artist’s book with a laser-cut negative impression of Eliasson’s house in Copenhagen. Each of the 454 pages are individually cut and corresponds to 2.2 cm of the actual house. Commissioned by the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Your House is a remarkable arrangement of cutouts and imagery presented in a minimalist yet technical format. Readers gradually build a physical and mental narrative, whilst also examining the perceptual and spatial experience of domestic architecture of the house. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of reading one of the 225 printed copies (perhaps one day), I love of the combination of sculpture and architecture and the illusion of being inside the house.


South Korean designer Giha Woo is known for his minimalist aesthetic and functional approach to design. His latest creation, called Hidden Light, is no exception. Deliciously simple, the piece combines two elements – a chair and a light. Hidden in an almost continuous metal tube, the light feature is only revealed when needed. Thus, the object can be a simple chair by day, and illuminate your pages (or devices) in the evening. The top section can be swung around and adjusted to the reader’s needs. Lightweight (thanks to its hollow tubular frame) and transparent, the piece bonds function, comfort and understated beauty.


As it’s summer time, a slightly less serious post than usual… I present to you: Eve! Eve is the futuristic white robot from the successful animation movie Wall-E, created by Pixar in 2008. Eve is absolutely seamless: one single body without edges. All its technology is beautifully hidden inside. You may recognize some Apple influences, and if so, you are very right: Apple’s lead designer Jonathan Ive participated in Eve’s design.


This is Oak, the result of an extracurricular, collaborative student workshop at Lund University School of Industrial Design, Sweden. The goal: to explore archetypes and stereotypes in the world of furniture. The group developed a range of independent pieces, but which are actually impressively coherent. Of course it helps that they’re all made from the same single material, American oak. One of the participaring students, Karl Jönsson, describes how all pieces were stripped down to their origins. From those elements, together with a hint of humor, new pieces have been created, while considering form, usage and interaction with their surroundings. The icing on their cake: Oak was exhibited during the Milan fair 2011.


Information Architects have released iA Writer for Mac. The application accompanies iA Writer for iPad, which we featured here last September. A Writer for Mac is a digital writing tool that makes sure that all your thoughts go into the text instead of the program. iA Writer has no preferences. It is how it is. It works like it works. Love it or hate it. It’s unique FocusMode allows me to think, spell and write at one sentence at a time. iA Writer is fast; it works without mouse. It automatically formats semantical entities such as headlines, lists, bold, strong, block quotes written in markdown. I have enjoyed using the iPad app, and have been particularly excited about the prospect of the Mac OS X counterpart. So far it works exactly as advertised and as you’d expect coming from the terrific people at Information Architects. To see how it works, have a go at watching this video. → Download from the Mac App Store


Leo Babauta of Zen Habits is one of my favorite writers and bloggers. He is also a recognized expert in the field of personal productivity. You may already be familiar with his work, especially his first published physical book, The Power of Less. His latest ebook is called The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life, with the ambition to help people live a simpler, happier life! What will this ebook help you with: - Clearing clutter and reducing your possessions - Figuring out what’s necessary, and how to be content with less - Simplifying your schedule, your work, and living a less stressful life - Creating a minimalist workspace, home, computer, financial life - How to go paperless and digitize your life A Minimalist values quality, not quantity in all forms. It is not life of nothing, it is a life of richness, in less…  


Calvetica is an iPhone application by Mysterious Trousers (who also make Dialvetica). It is a calendar application that aims to provide users with a clean, minimalist interface with very little UI chrome, and provide a fast and functional experience. John Gruber of Daring Fireball said of the app: $2.99 calendar app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, with an emphasis on fast, convenient event creation and a very crisp, stylish UI design. Behind the scenes, it’s built on the iOS system level calendaring APIs, so it syncs perfectly with the built-in Calendar app. There are two themes available, “Patented Calvetica Red” (the light grey theme) and “Black Is The New Fuschia” (pictured below).


If there ever was a minimalist rock band, certainly they were the White Stripes. From the visual concept to the two-only members, Jack and Meg White, respectively, guitarrist and drummer. The band was active from 1997 to 2011, making a sound with deep influences from the Mississippi delta blues to the classic rock from the 70’s. The fact that they used only guitar and drums not only caused many raised eyebrows, but also passionate enthusiasts. The strict color palette (red, white and black) was the base of their entire visual concept, creating a bold, striking and straightforward body of art, as can be seen in all their records’ artwork. Their minimalist roots are evident most notably in the “De Stijl” album (2000), designed by CHOLOMITE!, where they strongly reference the Dutch art movement both aesthetically and conceptually.


This is one gorgeous house. Guerrero House, located at Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain, was designed by the famous Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza. The play on light, space and proportion is extraordinary. A small opening in an 8 meter high square wall is the only entrance. Center of the house is the 9 x 9 meter central square, which has a ceiling of again 8 meters high. All these bold measurements together aid to what Campo Baeza calls the construction of a luminous shadow. Now that’s poetry.