Minimalissimo


The conflict between what the architect has on his mind and what is actually possible to build will always be a significant factor for pushing the possibilities of new technology and constructions. Fortunately, contemporary professionals can visualize and test their valued creations beforehand with digital tools; sometimes it’s the ideal method to clearly grasp the boundaries of each creation. Nevertheless, what happens when an architecture project is intentionally otherworldly? Italy-based artist Michele Durazzi explores many possibilities of surreal and grandiose buildings — the only limits he inflicts himself is a clear minimalist preference towards geometry and simple visual compositions. For each scenario, Durazzi lays a unique perspective for the camera and arranges the duality between human and construction carefully. On every building, there is an inquisitive inclusion of a guest; most are playfully or comfortably enjoying this absurd world around them. The white color plays a vital role as it reduces everything down to the essential: the symmetrical structures and exploration of details and textures. Of all the possibilities digital art can bestow to a creator, it is a pleasure to see a curious brand of minimalism and fantastic architecture take the center stage.


It often feels that Los Angeles-based designers Co conceive everything about a collection as a whole. From the inspiration to the presentation, from the type of woman who wears each piece to the mood she evokes. The spirit of the woman is captured together with the design of each piece. Every detail is calculated and nothing feels accidental, as it most certainly is here in their Pre-Fall collection for 2015. A certain heaviness with the use of silk jacquard, fur and knits in shades of white, black and grey render a dark romanticism that give the minimalist collection a mysterious luxury. Whether it is the discreetly caped dress, knitted bell sleeves or mocked turtle neck, I could not imagine a more elegant and beautiful collection to preempt the change in season. Photography courtesy of Style.com


Minneapolis-based Louise Gray reinterprets the tradition of quilting through a discerning contemporary eye, seeking to enhance the living space for the modern, detail oriented, and socially conscious with their geometric, pastel-coloured quilts. The 100% cotton fabric quilts are carefully assembled and handcrafted in the U.S.A by local artisans and strive to be timeless pieces in both design and ethos. Louise Gray is the combined vision of sales director Alexandra Gray Bennett, who comes from a long family heritage of quilting, and Jocelin Johnson, a graphic designer experienced in art & creative direction. The brand revises the traditional quilting format, making it more relevant to a contemporary audience and offering their customers an opportunity to support the cut and sew industry of North America with each purchase.


The Knob Spice Grinder by Umbra Shift has a traditional look with a modern twist. The grinder consists of two parts: the grinder and a separate base. On top of the cylinder shaped grinder, one can see the grinders turning mechanism. This mechanism was inspired by an oven knob — an archetype for turning, the creators explain. The grinder includes an internal ceramic mechanism to finely grind spices. The separate base serves as a catch-all or pinch pot for freshly-ground spices. Ideal for cooking or presenting salt and pepper at the table. The grinder has a really nice aesthetic. The base and bowl are both made of beechwood and are available in natural, black and aqua finishes. My personal favorites are the natural and black finished grinders. The Knob Grinder is part of the inaugural collection of Umbra Shift, an extension of Umbra Studio focusing on contemporary collections, presented during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair last year. The mission of Umbra Shift is to rethink all manner of everyday items, in minimal design and for maximum effect.


During this year’s Milan Design Week, Frankfurt-based e15 company presented a plain and powerful new solid wood product family, compounded by the Fayland table, the Fawley bench and the Langley stool. Designed by the multi award-winning British architect David Chipperfield, the table was originally developed for Fayland House, a residential project in the English countryside, being essentially a modern farmhouse table. The family is made from European walnut and solid oak in oiled or white stained surfaces, and offered in black as well, highlighting the elegant silhouette. The material is used on its maximum expression to create a categorical yet elegant combination.


House in Almen is a small country home designed by Barend Koolhaas. Located in The Netherlands, the defining feature of the structure is a panoramic window that spans the length of the home’s single room. This glass wall is the hypotenuse of the triangular floor plan, and therefore the longest wall in the house. The structure is designed entirely around this glass wall. A modest living room and built-in kitchen fill the majority of the living space. A few interior walls, placed strategically on one end of the home, partition off the private bedrooms and bathroom. A loft, complete with its own skylight, provides a partially hidden dwelling spot. Both the interior and exterior are kept remarkably simple. Plain materials, no decor, and limited furnishings allow the focus to remain entirely on the surrounding wooded landscape. House in Almen provides a secluded sanctuary from our busy, modern world. Photography by Jeroen Musch.


Michael Anastassiades’ Mobile Chandelier 6 is a series of light-weight floating and balancing geometries. Each chandelier piece is comprised of black patinated brass, with mouth-blown opaline spheres for illumination and varying pendant rod lengths to order. The resulting forms are effortless and seem to engage in space with a unique lightness. Based in London, Anastassiades has collaborated and designed for FLOS, Lobmeyr and Svenskt Tenn, along with concentrating on the curation of his own signature pieces; a collection of lighting, furniture, jewellery, and tabletop objects. His philosophy of a continuous search for eclecticism, individuality, and timeless qualities in design is clear through his work, with an emphasis on the minimal and utilitarian. The Mobile Chandelier 6 series is a clear extension of this philosophy. Photography courtesy of Michael Anastassiades.


Spain-based architect Ramón Esteve designed a world-class residence with a privileged high view of the turquoise Mediterranean below; the scale of this project goes beyond 1,200 sqm, nevertheless it manages to nail a challenging combination of extravagance and minimalism impeccably. The outer façade facing the street is quite private and does not give anything away regarding its visual prerogative, a much-understated introduction to its wood-clad and geometric structure. On the opposite side lays a very modernist and playful take on various volumes, each one housing its own veranda and access to the beautiful view of the ocean. This project celebrates the natural landscape, yet the interior design brings forth symmetry defiantly. The interior design thrives in white color dominance, an effort to maintain a homogeneous feel in all rooms. Impressive how such a wide variety of materials managed to build a cohesive unit. Kudos to the excellent timberwork in the kitchen, bathroom and on the beautiful 6m high patio. With luxury comes great responsibility, and I’m pleased to see the architects did not ignore ecofriendly solutions: Two separate pools grace this residence, yet rainwater is recycled to fill each one. Lastly, the energy consumption is kept to a minimum with state-of-the-art...


With his RTW Collection #11 Rad Hourani artfully underlines his signature style of architectural and pure looks. Besides his honored haute couture line, the Paris based designer with roots in Jordan and Canada now fields a strong additional oeuvre: his own scent Ascent, his RTW line — by the name of RAD by Rad Hourani — and a parisian gallery. While he constantly experiments and broadens his approach towards the arts and fashion through his endeavors, the ready to wear line seems to be the foundation of his unisex signature style. I’m attached to the notion of purity. And by choosing simple, stark lines, I strive to blur gender boundaries… My pieces are timeless and free of gender differentiation. — Sixth Finger Interview It is remarkable how Rad Hourani manages to persistently iterate a design language that stands out by its radical confinement in shape and color. The effect of this work will never stop awing me. His designs will never get old.


The benefit of choosing minimal accessories lies in their flexibility to be integrated to many outfit combinations. Recently, Collection Of Style—Swedish fashion powerhouse—launched their minimal accessories collection called In Contrast. Although the series only hold a modest number of items, the curation has a uniformed aesthetic of monochromic black and white. In Contrast ranges from highly crafted leather sandals to a leather bag with raw hems. While they don’t act as fashion statements, these accessories subtly complement the wearers with a new edge. However, my favorite is a piece of rubber block necklace that has a smaller counterpart in the form of a wristband. With a thick strap, this particular adornment stands out due to its unique and chunky nature that is not often seen in minimal fashion accessories. The collection is now live at COS online store.


Wall Cloud is a beautifully minimalist renovation project devised by Sasaki Architecture for a former waterfront warehouse in the Minato district of Tokyo that previously operated as a popular disco called Juliana’s Tokyo in the early 1990s. Sasaki Architecture intended to create an open space with floating walls and pillars. The beams and other components were reconsidered as different spatial components, and were redefined in the space. The ceilings were removed, and the beams now surround the space as drifting walls, while lights are used to enhance the sense of floating. Dividers of individual spaces for tenants are transparent glass attached beneath the wall volume. The attic of the former discotheque on the second floor remained untouched for a long period of time, causing an oppressive feeling in the space, but when an old space is given new life, it always brings excitement. I like that. The oppressive attic-like space of a symbol of the past was transformed like a wall cloud, and regenerated as an impressive and wonderfully spacious working environment. Superb. Photography by Takumi Ota.


This elegant dark home is located in Shiga, Japan and designed by FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects. Framing House was built for a small family who desired to live in a habitable art gallery. The home’s name is attributed to the structure’s act of framing key spaces. This framing notion allows each space to feel unique yet still connected to the flow of the house. Three main spaces are carved into the home’s layout: an art gallery, living space, and courtyard. The courtyard links the gallery and living spaces, and has the added benefit of bringing nature and natural light into both areas of the home. In nearly every room of the home, sections of the walls are cut out to frame windows, artwork, countertops, and shelves. These features contribute to the minimal sensibilities of the home by removing the need for stand-alone furniture and hiding clutter. Framing House is not just a home and an art gallery, it is a home as an art gallery. I could not imagine a more beautiful dwelling place. Photography by Yoshihiro Asada.