Minimalissimo


Youjia Jin is a Chinese born London based fashion designer and fashion buyer specialising in womenswear. Inspired by anatomy, the designer’s impeccably tailored and purely coloured collections focus on menswear tailoring and the surreal body arts developed from anatomy. Due to my interest in human body structure, I’ve been exercising unisex pattern cutting on my womenswear collections in recent years. Youjia Jin has presented collections in London Fashion Week and Beijing Fashion Week, and been nominated One To Watch by Fashion Scout and more since graduating from the London College of Fashion, Centrail Saint Martins and the Beijing Institute of Fashion and Technology.


The D3 traveller is an ultralight, strong and discreet duffel whittled down to its barest of components. The duffel was commisioned for field work in diverse and challenging environment. The creators know what they are talking about. One of them, Jan Chipchase, is a well respected design researcher who helps organisations gather insights to inform, inspire and affect change. The D3 is a 42L volume bag for the global traveller who is looking for a strong, versatile and simple luggage solution. The D3 is made of two layers of Cuben Fiber (four times stronger than Kevlar at almost half its weight) with one layer suspended inside the other. Cuben Fiber is a cool material: it can be crinkled, or rolled up without losing structural integrity. The D3 has an “oil black” finish and nicely wears over time. Like the shell the zips are water resistant. The strap and tri glide, created from a solid block of aircraft grade aluminium, and Petzl Ange S carabiners make that various carrying styles are possible. There is no exterior branding but the outer zip pulls include a pebble from Kyi Chu, a river that starts in the Chenthangula Mountains in Tibet. A fantastic bag I...


Nike has re-launched the Nike Zvezdochka Shoe — a design by award-winning industrial designer Marc Newson — initially released in 2004. The shoe is inspired by what he saw astronauts wearing at the Russian Space Institute. Even the name was taken from a Russian dog sent into space in 1961. The shoe has a modular design with four interchangeable parts, to combine them together or separately, depending on the use and the environment: the injection-molded TPU outer cage, the interlocking outsole, the inner sleeve, and the insole. The Nike Zvezdochka Shoe will be re-launched in its original five colours through Nike’s NIKELAB locations and online from last December, marking its tenth anniversary.


At the top of a Manhattan high rise is the pristinely designed home of Kanye West. Kanye West Loft was completed in 2007 by the esteemed Italian designer Claudio Silvestrin. Every aspect of this loft — the architecture, interior design, furniture and lighting — was designed by Silvestrin. This serene and monotone apartment features an open floor plan to allow for a continuous flow of space. Strong geometric forms are created from soft white walls, limestone, and pear wood. The forms divide the space as needed while also acting as the home’s main decoration. Two stone islands, reminiscent of sculptures, provide a built-in kitchen and bathtub. Hidden light sources at the top and bottom of the walls add to the calm, gallery-like quality of the rooms. This loft has ancient quality which I attribute to the generous use of stone and minimal furnishings. This quality allows Kanye West Loft to feel both expertly designed and remarkably natural, not unlike Mayan temples of the ruins of Rome.


The Zorro by Stephanie Knust, brings new meaning to linear illumination. This piece is a beautiful composition of bent metal and the latest in illumination technology combined. The lines, or one line, of this piece are just exquisite. Seamlessly bringing together the function and form of the industrial piece, this would be a very welcome piece in any living space, adding to and creating a space. Stephanie Knust is based in Germany and her work is a collection of industrial design pieces, ranging from seating, lighting and other tabletop accessories. He work is both typically German and bolt of nature and this piece, the Zorro seems to fit within this portfolio and also show a growth in her design aesthetic in a direction of a more refined form work. Zorro is reliant on its environment to interact with. It isn’t a self-standing object, which in a way is a creative way of engaging the objects that light the space, with the actual space. I appreciate the creativity. Photography courtesy of Stephanie Knust.


California based Brad and Jenna Holdgrafer have always appreciated owning less. The idea of buying one high quality product over many average ones, lead to the couple creating Yes — an online store selling beautiful, thoughtful and well-designed lifestyle accessories. Furthermore, their store has a strong minimalist aesthetic, featuring many products I would personally love to have in my home. Whether that is the Drip Kettle by Hario, the Cast Iron Tea Candle Holder by Naft, or the Cork Boat by Materia. With a concise collection of everyday items, superbly selected, Yes have successfully created a shopping experience that encourages you to buy less, but when you have to buy, buy better. Not just minimal design, a minimal way of living. Check out the full range of products →


The immaculate design and high end fabric choice of womenswear label 1205’s SS 2015 collection won designer Paula Gerbase the catwalk sponsorship of British talent identification scheme, NEWGEN. The show not only presented the very considerate silhouettes of her latest collection, but also its textures: by placing blankets made of applied high-end fabrics on the press seats, Paula gave her audience the chance to actually feel the amazing touch of qualities such as High Twist Wool Grid, Technical Featherweight Silk, Pleated Polyester and more. It is stunning how the current 1205 collection combines very classic craft with cutting edge fabric construction while never becoming too earnest. The lightness of her designs is due to an amazing balance achieved by very precise tailoring of cuts that convey a rather relaxed approach towards life. Colors are primarily muted, with a focus on grey, blue and white. And even without laying hands on the fabrics, the textures, purposefully combined in every outfit, make me feel the amazing touch just by looking at it.


Apartments, unlike house projects, do not have the benefit of a customized façade. Naturally the common outer shell of each building is shared by all its inhabitants, as a result it is quite usual for interior design to take on the challenge of injecting a unique persona for each unit. Architect Keiichi Kiriyama, head of Airhouse Design Office, proposed a daring makeover for a 40 year old apartment, to alter it with the same liberty as a house, with all the benefits this practice may bring. Completely ignoring the original plan, with its standard square-like rooms and run-of-the-mill dynamics of a common apartment building; Kiriyama took the request of a ‘large-sized closet space’ and took it to another level. The dress room became a central section of the apartment, with every visitor having to through it to reach the main social area, much like a runway. By doing so, fashion blends into life, and I believe that the space became a place to change the client’s mood whenever it was passed by. This renovation project was done by constructing spaces through re-examination of the conventional ideas of clothing storage. The rest of the apartment keeps the prerogative of dynamic functionality...


By now, The Row, founded in 2006 by Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen, has established itself in the fashion industry, breaking the common stigma about celebrities designing garments. Pre-Fall 2015 shows the designers in a more mature light, with a minimal approach to loosely fitted looks. The transformation of the summer months to autumn were seen in the colors of olive green, deep navy, blood orange, as well as off-white shades. A breathe of ease and comfort are present in the folds of drapes created by large pieces of fabrics. There seems to be no seams as the construction lines are obscured by that largeness and its shadows. The effect carries on and is complimented by a lack of excessive accessories, except for the sandals that accompany each and every look. That simple gesture points the direction of this collection to Western United States, where autumn is a slight breeze of wind with a gust of sand somewhere in the distant (see the set underneath the model’s feet). I love the poetic sense of this collection. Its minimalism is one that questions the human body to answer with a graceful response. Cohesively, Pre-Fall 2015 for The Row reminds one of...


A courtyard house located in a rural landscape near Guadalajara City, Mexico — Pino Street House is built for a small family with a lot of friends. A clean white façade is defined by bright yellow paintwork used to feature railings, guttering and doorways of this 165-square-metre house made up of a series of stacked white blocks, with glazed living spaces facing the brick patio. Architect Oscar Gutiérrez explains: The house is divided by a courtyard designed to create parallel paths between social and family life, while also creating a feeling of amplitude. The ground floor is characterized by platforms that rotate around the yard and have different uses and atmospheres. The upper level features three blocks that open onto the landscape: two rooms are articulated by a corridor and staircase, a terrace and balcony that establishes a relationship between the garden and courtyard, in conjunction create a linear sequence of open spaces. With my love of the countryside and the color yellow, this beautifully minimalistic building has quickly captured my attention to the light and touch of traditional elements. Photography by Vanessa Guízar.


Casa Brunhais is an elegant white home located in Póvoa de Lanhoso, a municipality in Portugal. The home was completed in 2009 by architect Rui Vieira Oliveira with Vasco Manuel Fernandes. When viewed from afar, Casa Brunhais is a simple white form against a rocky landscape and blue sky. On closer inspection, this house is brimming with impeccable details in a dynamic structure. Multiple forms comprise the structure of Casa Brunhais. Shape, height, and material subtly differentiate the intersecting volumes. A traditional courtyard is placed at the center of the form, creating a private outdoor space for the residents. Few windows are placed on the exterior facade, as the interior courtyard brings plenty of natural light indoors. The interior features large expanses of white walls and floors, along with neutral curtains on the many large windows. Built-in furniture and recessed lighting allows Casa Brunhais to be as minimal on the interior as it is on the exterior. I find this house absolutely captivating: the design is strong yet still exudes a sense of humility. Photography by Fernando Guerra FG + SG.


Poetic Lab’s Shadow Clock is an opposing composition of contractions. Subtle in size, when illuminated and in use, it transforms into a bold installation element. The Shadow Clock indicates the changing of time, through the use of light and reflection and refraction on the environmental issues to which it is installed; namely the wall. The pre-existing lighting therefore also plays a role in this expression of its function. London-based studio Poetic Lab, headed by Hanhsi Chen and Shikai Tseng, the collaboration has seen the joining of design philosophies, whereby the central spine of their design is that of poetry of objects and materials. Initially designed in 2012, this piece is 520mm high and 400mm in depth from the fixed surface, the Shadow Clock is made from Aluminium Alloy and stainless steel. Its interaction and dependency on its environment is particularly engaging. While the nod to the traditional sundial clock is obvious, this interpretation is very much welcomed. Photography courtesy of Poetic Lab.