Minimalissimo


Private House is a vacation home located in a scenic and secluded part of England known as Cotswolds. Designed by London based architecture firm Found Associates, the house is an extension of an 18th century stone cottage. The structure extends from both ends of the old cottage but doesn’t fully envelope it. This design allows both the cottage and extension to feel like unique volumes living in harmony. Private House also sits harmoniously with the surrounding landscape: the large structure dwells low on the site so as not to block the picturesque vistas of the rolling green hills. The clean, minimal nature of the home lends itself to feeling like an art gallery. However, in the absence of artwork, the house and surrounding landscape are the objects on exhibit. I think minimal homes tend to make the best vacation homes: one can truly relax in a peaceful setting free of distractions. Private House won the RIBA National Award in 2012 and was nominated for the RIBA Manser Medal.


Federico Floriani’s On The Rocks are a tribute to the traditional way of chilling drinks. Made from white marble, these beauties are founded on the principles of traditional thermal mass principles. On The Rocks are made from various geometric shaped pieces of stone that are intended to create a sense of landscape in your glass. In these, the beauty of the stone itself is the feature with its natural organic veined lines and hues of whites and greys. On The Rocks can be put in a freezer and later used in place of ice cubes to chill alcoholic bevaerages without diluting. These gems are an in valuable addition to any minimal entertaining ensemble and can be purchased through Fabrica. Hats off to Fenderico Floriani. Photography courtesy of Federico Floriani.


Dutch design office Oato., who’s work we have previously featured, recently introduced me to their latest design — Shift — a minimalistic set of tables with a playful design with many different sides and subtle bending details. The Shift tables are laser-cut from a continuous rectangular sheet of 3mm steel. We strategically left small segments of a few millimetres connected so it becomes possible to fold the table into the desired shape merely by hand. The outcome is a playful setup, which was created by balancing the desired structural and visual effect. The tables, which are available in two sizes — a side table & a coffee table — are finished with a slightly textured matt white coating to give maximum expression to the shape with all the different angles and edges in various shades of white. Oato.’s lead designer Stefan Tervoort explains: We think that this table’s aesthetic and details of the hand bending sets it aside from many other cold, straight folded sheet metal furniture. There is a certain softness/emotion in those corners, something unpredictable that brakes with the industrial nature of the design. We think we made a transition from displaying a technique into using a technique...


The latest work of Australian fashion designer Josh Goot is an intriguing lesson in what happens when someone who usually experiments with rich floral prints and bright color blocking, breaks his design down to a reduced palette of mainly black and white. It results in a timeless, calm collection with an interesting androgynous appeal. And as we are talking about a skilled designer with a strong handwriting, it is still very recognizably a Josh Goot collection: I would describe our aesthetic as optimistic, minimal, urban, confident. Generally what we do is very high saturating, very high contrast. But then sometimes we’d do the opposite. So we would go to more ordinary true tones and do things that are more subtle. I think by that we are inspired by our experience here in Sydney. It does set us apart from the others. (Transcribed from David Jones) One reason why the subtle color palette in Goot’s latest Winter collection works so well is his general sense for sharp, tailored silhouettes, implemented in luxurious high tech fabrics. I always appreciate a look which focuses on the outline of an outfit, rather than merely decorating the body. It is this true attention to form that elevates his...


Founded in 2012 and based in New York City, Chiyome is a studio focused on creating exceptional products based on a key premise: what is essential? Their designs – shoulder bags, backpacks and pouches – are continually infused with a clean and minimalist perspective, manifested through sharp lines, subtle color relationships and smart proportions. HOVER, their Spring/Summer ’14 collection, is all about harmonizing dissonant materials, fusing high (leather, marble) and low (rubber, vinyl) into a sophisticated, luxurious blend. The brand is also committed to designing through social efforts and radical means, sourcing materials from minority-owned local businesses in order to strengthen the social fabric of NY and reduce their carbon footprint, intrinsecally bringing minimalism to all aspects of their practice.


It is now our third feature of the work by Takuro Yamamoto Architects. However this time, it is not an architectural structure, but rather a complement to the living space. With an eye and a mind for minimal designs, the firm recently launched a series of lamps under the name of Minimal Green, consisting of Twig, Blossom, Bud and Flower. While the former two elegantly stand tall with their elongated thin bodies, Bud and Flower are more modest, acting as the younger siblings of this collection. It is in the details that one can differentiate the four from one another: on the trunk of these lamps, branches sprout out of the body to imitate the rustic feeling of plants, as the designer put. Not only do they act as an aesthetic communicator, but they can also be functional — used as a hanger for lightweight accessories and outerwear. I especially find Blossom the most provocative. Its straight body extends up to then flourish into a white mass, supported by a bent brach that plays with the eyes. The structure’s offset is what makes it interesting and intriguing, while its simplicity helps put it on the top of my wish-list.


This serene spa and wellness centre has been built by David Chipperfield Architects. It occupies two floors of the historic hotel Cafe Royal in London, and creates a perfect balance between minimalist austerity and the old world elegance that surrounds it. This project is also an ode to some of the most exquisite textures. The spa features two carrara marble hammams, a Finish sauna in solid hemlock with domed ceiling, a stainless steel jacuzzi and solid marble private jacuzzis in the treatment rooms. I love how the idea of luxury has been approached in this design, by focusing on things that truly matter: open space, honest materials and the sense of simplicity and grace.


Like many homes in busy Japanese cities, House of Hatsugano is designed with a focus on privacy. The site, located in a dense neighborhood in Osaka, provided a challenge for NRM Architects Office. How can one create a private home that still incorporates natural light and outdoor space? The architects respond to this challenge by designing a home with three key elements: an opaque facade, a courtyard, and a roof deck.  One of the most stunning features of the structure is the elaborate roof deck. The deck, invisible from the street, circles around the roof, looking down into the courtyard. The roof deck provides much needed open, outdoor space to the small property. The interior of House of Hatsugano is reminiscent of an art gallery. The furnishings are chosen carefully and are clearly the centerpiece of every room. The functional and service areas are tucked away in cabinets that blend with the walls. I love how this home breaks the traditional aesthetic of the neighborhood. The house looks ultra modern and cool paired next to its classic suburban neighbors.


Federico Floriani’s 123 Lamp is a kit of minimalist parts. The sinuous composition of these elements is just the gravy. Italian industrial and graphic designer Floriani has conceived this source of illumination through a want of pushing structure abstraction to explore new aesthetics and leave behind the classic bulb. The result sees a solid oak wood body that uses two metal legs as a stand. Intended as a focused desk light that is consciously designed with minimalist lines and a simplified form. The 123 Lamp encourages a sense of interaction and engagement with the user, as well as being beautifully executed. Photography courtesy of Federico Floriani.


Mindarin introduced me to their wonderful new iOS app that I have had the pleasure of using for the last couple of weeks, that not only offers a wonderful user experience, but also features a beautifully minimal display. The app is Luna — a calculator that makes calculations instantly as you type, while keeping your expression clean and readable. It allows you to save your results as well as complete calculations, operate them, edit them, and create lists. The designers explain: We designed Luna to be truly useful. Most iOS calculators differentiate by adding cute gestures or pretty colours, our goal was to create the ultimate useful calculator, one you could use to do a quick operation or keep track of your business expenses. But keep it simple, clean and minimal. Admittedly, there are a couple of minor bugs with Luna, but as with every newly developed app, the more it is used, the better it can become. It is the aesthetics of Luna that leaves me impressed though along with the feature to alternate between black and white themes with a simple shake of the device.


Dylan Cao — @dlancao — is originally from Vietnam, but arrived in New York four years ago to pursue a fashion design degree. Currently studying accessory design, Dylan will soon be graduating with the ambition of becoming a footwear designer. Today we gain an insight into Dylan’s creative and superbly captured Instagram collection whilst discovering a little more about the man behind the camera. What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? My collection of photos actually remains as a reflector and a reminder of the consistency in simplicity I would love to achieve in both my design processes and personal life. I do feel that as a designer, my process starts with constructing and adding, which is followed by deconstruction and elimination. By posting Instagram photos every now and then, I feel refreshed in a sense that I am able to absorb and communicate simplicity not only through my body work but also through everyday life. Minimalism does seep through you to eventually form a lifestyle. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? I have a very strong reaction to composition and geometry in architecture since I grew up with my father who is an engineer and also...


The monolithic architecture of the Ooike House by Matsuyama Architect and Associates creates the living experience around the views. While heavy at first glance, the imposing structure of this residence located in Fukuoka, Japan, is juxtaposed by the sleek slivers of window openings, delicate walls of glass and a skeleton-like staircase. Intersecting planes define the unique, assymetrical volumes of the interiors while the wide spacing of the joint lines of the concrete walls and floor tiles emphasize the scale of the space, making it feel more expansive than it already is. It is a different sort of comfort that I find appealing about this project. The house seems to exude the calm and cleanliness that one seeks in meditation. From the furniture to the fixtures and finishings, the details are kept to an extreme minimal. The spaces are serene and peaceful, making the view of the city and the landscape beyond an integral part of the architecture, making the architecture about rest. Images courtesy of Matsuyama Architect and Associates.