Minimalissimo


Multi-medium, Los Angeles-based studio Building Block never cease to impress with their impeccable leather products — the recent Spring Summer 2015 additions to their elegant repertoire are proof of that. The Wu sisters work raw leather into common, everyday shapes and accentuate them with playful, unique details, clearing away conventional standards of luxury by magnifying what is essential and editing out excess. I particularly love the addition of footwear to their brand — the geometric leather sandals are perfect for the season.


In collaboration with Nonino — a grappa brand with a 100-year history — the Dutch design bureau Scholten & Baijings has designed a grappa travel flask. Grappa is a distilled Italian alcoholic drink made from the left overs from winemaking. The travel flask is made of titanium with the latest production techniques. This high value material is not only strong and extremely light, but also corrosion resistant, which makes it ideal to transport and to store grappa. The top of the travel flask has a screwcap and a removable cup is positioned at the bottom. Perfect to enjoy a sip of grappa whilst on the road. Scholten & Baijings designed five different color series: dark blue, light blue, grey/green, yellow and red/pink. The flasks owe their color to a unique anodizing technique. Each color complements one of the five selected Nonino Grappa varieties. Although I’m not yet a particular fan of grappa myself, I really admire the appearance of the travel flask. I like the soft, clean lines and the material used. A personal favorite is the dark blue flask. Beautiful.


Hocker Heinrich is a precise, elegant and minimalist stool, hand-made in Berlin and designed by Panatom with Matthias Froböse. The first edition of the stool has been appointed to the permanent collection at Kleist-Museum in Frankfurt (Oder). Its geometry produces an interesting effect on light and shadow, creating a game of shifting perspectives depending on the angle of observation. Comprised of concrete, the surface varies from piece to piece due to air pockets that develop during the setting process, giving each stool a unique appearance and making it one-of-a-kind. Available in anthracite or light grey, Hocker Heinrich can also be pigmented other colours upon request, and a dark grey stool cover can be added for more comfort. Lastly, the weatherproof character of concrete also renders the stool suitable for outdoors.


S3 City Villa is a stunning white structure with a spacious floor plan designed for a family of five. Located in the city of Tübingen, Germany, this hillside home was designed by Steimle Architekten. The clean aesthetic, modern materials, and unique floor plan create a home that is as artful as it is practical. The living areas are spread across three floors: the lower-most floor holds the open-plan common room, while the bedrooms are located on the more private upper floors. White is the dominant color for the interior, accented slightly by light-colored floors and the dark trim of the windows. The furniture and lighting contribute to the sculptural feel of the house. On the exterior, oversized glazed windows meet polished concrete siding. A soft wood terrace creates a pleasant outdoor area by the large pool. Built-in lighting ensures the terrace and pool can be enjoyed by day or night. Despite having close neighbors, S3 City Villa is sculpted so as to face the hills and river valley, giving the home a sense of privacy and remoteness. It is a clever design that is sure to please the lucky family that lives here.


Nissa Kinjalina’s Living Light is an interesting play on form and function. Each piece is conceived on the idea of having poured the light into the frame. The resulting forms embody a still in time almost, and the illuminated elements act as floating forms in a curated fusion of geometric lines. Available in three varying sizes and slightly varied shapes, the series can be arranged in infinite ways spatially. The light that is created from these pieces provides a constant mass of illumination across the pieces as they provide light. The idea is that each piece can be easily transported in the spaces that they are placed, is also uniquely considered by the designer. The light element is encased in the lower part from different sides with a thin matte acrylic and this creates a housing for transport and reconfiguration. Combining innovation and pushing the ideas of what lighting can do and add to our spaces, Kinjalina is one to watch. Photography courtesy of Nissa Kinjalina.


In Slovenia there is a very distinct type of vernacular architecture on their bucolic fields, visually it is very similar to the archetypal barn, however it is used specifically to dry hay and similar goods. The hayrack is often made in wood and clad in adornments, that is until Arhitektura d.o.o. strips the structure down to its most minimalist form and lines; all that is left is a beautiful contemporary variation of a traditional building. The Black Barn successfully updates its visual aesthetics but its functions as well. On the base level, the building serves its original intent, storing tools, various fruits and honey. On the middle floor is an expansive social area for dining, lounging and playing billiards. The furniture design complements the color palette with a slight extension from the black outer shell. On the top level stands the private chambers. The bright ash tree panels cover all three floors flawlessly, making for a peaceful interior. Minimalism can be harsh on tradition; or it can shed new light on what is worth revisiting on new scenarios. Old farming and stark geometry can manage to cooperate with each other for something meaningful and tasteful. Photography by Miran Kambič.


A decade is a long time in the fashion industry these days. Australian minimalist style icon Josh Goot hit this important mark in 2015, and topped it off not only by overcoming structural mishaps, but also by refining his signature style and presenting a defining and extensive Resort 2016 collection. It is so rich in forward-looking silhouettes that it’s hardly possible to present them all here. So make sure to have a look at the whole collection. Every outfit in itself is a strong statement. At the same time Josh Goot’s powerful signature look builds an overarching bracket around the collection. It is recognizably one piece of work. I love the broad variety of monochrome white outfits of which many are set in different shades of the non-color. It feels like diving into the very special sunlight of Australian beaches. Additionally the collection integrates colors and prints which are at first glance everything else but minimalist. But the way they are set and handled just emphasize the clear cut and reduced looks so typical for Josh Goot. It is very pleasing to know that Goot and his namesake label will keep on enriching the international fashion scene. Photography courtesy of...


Minimalism often equates luxury. This home in Pulle, located in Belgium and designed by Contekst, is a project that fittingly channels those two words. With large windows spanning from floor to ceiling and encompassing the entire house, the greeneries from outside are brought in to reflect against the minimal interior. The white curtains emit an ambience that is both peaceful and spacious. Tactics such as creating a double-heighten space directly above the living room boosts its usefulness and effectiveness. The elongated hallways that take up both the ground and second floors are divided by glass barriers to give a visual connection, yet still separates different kinds of program within the architecture. The use of materials from oak to grey stones does not pull away the minimalism of the structure, but creates exciting moments, such as the staircase. Perhaps that is my favorite feature of this house, due to its wooden appearance and the indented treating for the handrails. Luxury and minimalism in this home in Pulle go hand in hand due to the vastness that the latter creates for the former. Photography by Nils Van Brabant.


Last year, Glasgow-based watch brand Instrmnt launched Instrmnt 01, a beautifully minimalistic steel watch with traditional design elements and functionality. The aim of the brand is to create minimalist, high quality goods that are accessible to all. Each of Instrmnt’s 01 series watches were designed with care in their Glasgow studio. They take inspiration from the industrial design of the mid 20th century and their own personal desire for a watch that pairs high quality Swiss components with simple, utilitarian design. A timeless watch for a contemporary gentleman who just wants to know the time and date. Each watch comes with a calf leather strap in different colours, produced by one of the last remaining leather strap manufacturers in the Bavarian Forest. Craftsmen who work on straps have been plying their trade for thirty years or longer, using the same trusted machinery and procedures used in the early 20th century. The leather is sourced from a tannery located in the same town and widely regarded as one of best in the world. Photography by Neil Bedford.


Faire Chaolais is a lovely holiday home located on the coast of Morar, Scotland. Designed by Dualchas Architects, this small home frames the views of the coast’s peaceful beaches and stunning skies. The structure of Faire Chaolais is unique: a long rectangle with a traditional roof partially cantilevers over a hillside. Under the gabled roof the structure is partially recessed to create room for an unobtrusive balcony. A lower story is tucked into the hillside under the cantilever. The living spaces are located on the upper floor, capitalizing on the sunlight and landscape views. The bedrooms rest below in the smaller and more private rooms buried partially underground. The furnishings are limited to the necessities; just the things one would need for a weekend getaway. I love the form of this house. It is dramatic and exciting, yet still simple enough to not disrupt its natural landscape. What more could one want in a holiday house?


Inkster Maken’s Eclipse Wall Light epitomises what combined tradition, method and passion can spawn. Hailing from South Australia, the vision and hands behind the label, draws from designer Hugh Altschwager’s background and rural upbringing to create a beautiful collection of hand-made illumination pieces. The Eclipse Wall Light is a wall sconce light made from locally sourced limestone, measuring 275mm in diameter and 150mm deep. Altschwager notes both Nordic local influences to his work, with regard to using traditional methods and local materials to refinement. Altschwager’s background in architecture and construction project management saw him recognise an opportunity in a bespoke niche market. Inkster Maken, conceived in 2013 was intended to utilise totally locally sourced natural unprocessed materials to create long lasting products with a timeless northern European aesthetic. All pieces of the collection are made to order, based on demand, and are designed and hand-crafted in Melbourne, Victoria. The Eclipse Wall Light and the overt attention to detail and nod to tradition, are to be revered. Photography courtesy of Inkster Maken.


Proudly standing on the idyllic Swiss countryside is a curious building resembling an old-timey milk ranch. There is a glaring difference though; the whole structure is made in pure unadulterated concrete. Architecture firm frundgallina dauntlessly inserted a modern building in between two stone-clad historic buildings; it’s surprising how much the minimalist presence injects modernity into a traditional setting in the right measure. The Community Shelter serves as a multi-function hall; potentially hosting meetings, dinner parties and classes. The main room is an ample and subdued space furnished with a lone, but extensive, table; a central element with very clear functionality. A huge window is responsible for the beautiful lighting variance that permeates the room, enriching the experience of the guests and adding texture to the homogeneous surface. The reduction of the façade down to the most basic geometric lines is old school minimalist sensibility as the main guiding line. As concrete reigns supreme throughout the shelter, it’s clear how classic structures can reach new heights with the right dose of contemporariness. Photography by Milo Keller.