Minimalissimo


Copenhagen based multidisciplinary design studio Norm Architects created a beautiful, minimalist, grinder. The Bottle Grinder shares the shape of a bottle and is designed to intrigue your senses and leave you curious. The ceramic body, which is available in multiple natural Scandinavian colours, and wooden grinder top combine really well and give a strong impression at first sight. The Bottle Grinders look nothing like the grinders you’re used to. And that’s the whole plan. To create something noticeable and to change a well known thing into something brand new – as a way to encourage people to try new things. The grinder has a comfortable size and weight to handle. The upside down design secures that salt or pepper sprinkles out, when you grind only. One can easily adjust the coarseness by turning the top. A timeless, durable, kitchen tool with appealing design for you cooks out there!


Located in the landscape of the island of Hirvensalo, Finland, the exterior of the St. Henry’s Ecumenical Art Chapel stands out for its copper surface, that will be weathered green with time to be in harmony with the sorrounding trees and nature. After a small entrance foyer, there is the grand hall, shaped like a fish’s stomach, symbol of first Christians, with the altar at the end of the axis, illuminated through windows with artworks by artist Hannu Konola. There is also a gallery in the rear of the space, so the exhibitions and the ceremonies coexist in the same space, much like in the Renaissance churches. The chapel, a project by Sanaksenaho Architects, has a loadbearing structure of curved ribs of laminated pine and walls covered with untreated wooden lining, where there is an emphasized contrast between light and shadow. The architects explain: The most important building material besides wood and copper is natural light. It gets the forms, spaces and surfaces live all day long. The idea is to walk through shadowy spaces towards altar and the light, the source of which is hidden.


Copenhagen-based Norm Architects designed this remarkable townhouse inside a deceptively rustic exterior; beyond the structure itself, the minimalist sensibility springs from elegant hand-picked furnishings. The project in hand can be considered an all-around marvel, it delivers on all fronts easily. The structure showcases assorted features; ranging from high ceilings adorned with a skylight, a transparent staircase, numerous wide windows to shower the interior with natural light and, finally, beautiful wood beams (painted in white, of course). The coup de coeur to take this exquisite residence to the next level is the well curated interior design. The white canvas accommodates the black and white objects effortlessly, bringing out the best of them for each room. This project really shows off its strength when familiar, and often overused design pieces gain new life and freshness — such as the various chairs, lamps and tables carefully placed throughout each room. All of the elements and insights above are frequently listed as essential trends on several publications, it speaks volume on the quality and success of the architect’s endeavor.


Rad Hourani’s latest Unisex Ready to Wear collection captures and entices a sense of curiosity and yet embodies pragmatism. The pieces are a curation of beautiful craftsmanship and are born through an avocation of non-conformity, as the essence of individualism. Hourani himself sees modernity as an odyssey free of rules, gender, age, seasons, boundaries and conditions. This collection is incredibly befitting. Born in Jordan, Hourani himself wears a plethora of hats; designer, photographer, filmmaker, and artist. His work is an attentive study of the human body that celebrates neutrality as a defining human trait. This RTW Collection, and his overall ethos is grounded on this principle. The resulting forms and silhouettes are bold, minimal and timeless. There is an obvious effort to allow the wearer to a freer way to live and through his mindset and that of his label, his passion is obvious. He doesn’t name his collections, he numbers them, so as to attest to not following trends. The palette, the shapes, the fit and the movement of his pieces are incredibly transcendent and of-any-time. I like this. Photography courtesy of the exquisite Rad Hourani.


Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka continues to fascinate us with his simplicity in design and in particular his remarkably minimalistic work with glass furniture. His latest creation is the Prism glass chair for Glasitalia. Prism glass chair is a chair made from thick (19mm) high-transparency glass. With the cutting technique on the glass surface, it produces a clear sparkling effect like a prism. The glass is embellished with special bevelling which reflects and refracts the light, lending the object a rare preciousness. Despite its extreme lightness of form, the seat has considerable weight bearing capacity. Yoshioka writes: This creation is a chair like a shimmering sculpture in a space that miraculous expression is brought by the refraction of light. This chair may not exude comfort, but I’m full of admiration for Yoshioka’s work. Not only do his designs often have a beautiful minimalist aesthetic, but there is something wonderfully poetic about his work with glass.


Poland based fashion label NON just presented its very first, very beautiful, minimalist collection. The designs are based on classic geometry and spatial forms. NON strives for simplicity and emphasizes the unique structure of the material: Every piece is made of 100% Merino wool and every garment is produced to the highest standards in Poland. What defines us is an uncompromising quality dedicated to conscious, demanding women. I love the NON collection for its slightly abstract shapes, which still very elegantly underline the female body. And besides the visual aspect, it feels wonderful to wear the substantial but fine merino wool with all its amazing natural fiber characteristics.


New York-based, Finnish designer Lotta Nieminen has recently updated her website with a year’s worth of projects, each of them refined and showcasing a mastery of subtlety, now a trademark of Lotta’s style. One of my favorites is the branding, art direction and website design for Paintbox, a modern manicure studio in New York offering classic manicures and a curated selection of nail art. Making something look simple, effortless and beautiful is one of the trickiest aspects of creative endeavours, and usually the result of relentless study. I had the opportunity to witness Lotta present the making of this project during OFFF Barcelona 2014, and follow her initial struggles that ultimately culminated in a beautifully rounded, successful project – not surprising from a designer of her caliber. Brand strategy by Figure NY and website development by NoFavorite.


Based in Maastricht, the Netherlands, Studio Niels was founded under Niels Maier with a focus on interior design and its effects on the built environments. Varied in size, the studio’s approach depends on its philosophy about clarity, simplicity, and contextualization; this is apparent through the Authentic Mansion 2, completed in 2011. Also located in Maastricht, this apartment was designed to be monochromic with stark white interiors, highlighting the wooden floor and contrasting home furnishes. Behind the television is a hidden shelf that is utilized to both cover the technical system and provide a place for storage, which is a clever spatial move. I especially appreciate the negative space produced from the continuously white interior, appearing under the sink, between the bed, through the key hole, and many more instances. This shows an articulation in details that Studio Niels was able to achieve through envisioning a bigger picture, then narrowing down in scale—an important quality of designers alike. The minimalism in Authentic Mansion 2 is strongly apparent, emitting an elegance and sophistication. What else can a client ask for? A space of minimal design, maximal effect.


The French branch of the Italian company Marchesini, a leader in packaging applications, was built in 2008 by architects Benoit Jallon and Umberto Napolitano of LAN Architecture in Saint Mesmes — a small town about 40 kilometers east of Paris. Aseptic yet elegant, formal yet cozy, flexible yet defined, are only apparent contradictions that define the ispirational principles that guided LAN Architecture to achieve the design of this 1,000 square meter building, which extends over 6,000 square meters of land. Its face is oriented with the wide glass wall in the direction of Paris, the marketplace of the office. The main interest of the site lies in its morphology and in its orientation. The level of the soil follows a slope of 3 feet above sea level, and the west side provides an exceptional view of the surrounding hills. In the planning phase we examined the relation between the building and the landscape, and between users of the building and the landscape. Strong, iconic and hotly black.


Plywood House is a distinct home refurbishment tucked among London’s traditional Victorian row homes. The exterior is comprised of brick and concrete punctured by single framed windows. These materials are splashed throughout the interior as well. Concrete and brick are wonderful raw materials that add visual interest inside and out. However, the most distinguishing feature of this home is its namesake: plywood. Plywood is one of the simplest yet most versatile construction materials. In Plywood House, it is used instead of sheetrock to form the walls and ceilings. The soft wood casts a warm light throughout the minimal interior. Designed by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop, the living spaces of Plywood House are distributed across two stories. The first floor holds a cast concrete kitchen, dining, and living rooms. The master suite, structured entirely with plywood, fills the second story. I love when modest materials are allowed to take center stage. Plywood House creates a beautiful aesthetic from an often overlooked construction material. Perfect!


Q Designs streamlined solution to charging smart phones has arrived. The Q Bracelet is now available for order. Initially conceived as a solution to the ever growing issue of decreasing battery life as smart phones are becoming more technologically capable. The solution is one that is about bringing technology and beauty together in a way that challenges the status quo and embraces the bold. Based in New York City, this ingenious product is one that allows technology to be supported by a form-meets-function device. Lightweight, this piece is available in brushed and matt black (for the gents) and polished and matte silver and polished gold (for the ladies). The resulting product aims to deliver on an ever growing problem, and was born out of a frustration of the designers of other available products on the market. Said to bring simplicity and creativity, the Q Bracelet aims to aid an over-sighted element of our tech-savvy lives and can recharge up to approximately 60% of battery life. Cords are now dismissed. Photography courtesy of Q Design.


Norway based designer and artist, Daniel Rybakken, has an outstanding portfolio of work that spreads installation, lighting and illumination creations. His latest — Compendium — a lamp family designed for Italian lighting company, Luceplan. Rybakken asked the question: How would you best illuminate a room with only one light source? To begin with, you would need a very strong light source, and secondly you would like to have it to come from the side, in the same manner as a window with natural light coming into the space. Thirdly, since you have this strong light source, you need to avoid glare, so you should try to diffuse and soften the light. These three aspects were the primary focus of the Compendium project. The lamp, made from extruded anodised aluminium, features a very strong LED light source directed towards the wall, and by doing this, a soft light reflects into the open space, creating a beautifully balanced illumination. The compendium family consists of a floor version with a freely rotatable stem and a suspended version, mountable either as an up or downward light. Photography by Kalle Sanner & Daniel Rybakken.