Minimalissimo


Strong architectural shapes and sculptural silhouettes take the lead in LA-based designer Jasmin Shokrian‘s Spring Ready-to-Wear 2015 collection. Since she started her eponymous fashion label in 2003, Shokrian’s collections have been articulated with a strong emphasis on craft and detail. With a background in film, painting and sculpture from the School of Art Institute in Chicago and influenced by her mother who is a professional tailor, Shokrian’s designs exhibits her own talent for tailoring and draping material into beautiful architectural curves and forms. Silk faille dresses and tops are suspended by thin straps which add dimension that exudes femininity in the resulting flow and drape of the piece. Sharp Vs are explored across multiple depths in necklines, back lines and even in an overlapping tunic. Large, soft block-coloured totes made of mesh and canvas punctuate the clothes with a contrast of colour and form, adding yet another detail of interest to this minimalist collection which could appear deceptively simple at first glance. I also love the fact that hems of shorts and shirt dresses are also included in the strong geometry played subtly, culminating the attention to sculptural detail that Shokrian is most experienced in. Photography courtesy of Style.com.


Enthusiastically handcrafted in southern Germany, VOR‘s A1 Reinweiß shoes are the epitome of the company’s timeless, minimalist ethos – going through incredible effort to eliminate details and be identified more by its refined appearance than any impactful presentation. Passionate about perfectionism, premium substance and the finest possible execution, VOR believe that handcrafted items are an expression of the modern consumer’s demands regarding a product’s origins and are solely made of best genuine full grain leathers and premium leather linings, proudly creating pieces that are unique and have their own individual characteristics and natural beauty.


Scales is a minimalist range of ceramic tiles that generate unexpected reflections. Neon colors are used along two rear sides of the smooth white glazed tiles. The individual tiles, arranged as fish scales, irradiate a colorful glow over the adjacent tiles. The 12x12cm square tiles, made in Spain, are available in eight different colors and one can create multiple compositions. We seek to imitate the feeling of vibrating movement transmitted by the sheeny skin of fishes when they ripple under water. Scales is a project between Alberto Sánchez, founder of Valencia based design studio Mut design, and Peronda, ceramic manufacturer for over half a century. What I particularly like about Scales is that you can make your tiled wall really stand out. You can easily create a colorful composition without it being too dominant in your space. Photography by Asier Rua and Designboom.


Squared is an education initiative developed by Google and its new identity has a curious story, because it was developed by the young London-based multidisciplinary designer Jack Morgan, after he published his conceptual redesign on his site, catching the attention of Google. I was fortunate enough to discover Squared when it was first introduced and instantly identified with their vision and way of doing things. However, I had always felt that their branding was severely lacking. It wasn’t congruent with their can-do attitude and innovative teaching methods. So Morgan worked on a full rebranding from concept to reality, producing a modern, minimal and instantly understandable new logo with Google’s design philosophy in mind: simple, abstract and colourful with a geeky undertone. The logo also has various references: the brackets of the old logo, playful hand signs like a frame made by the Squared students when posing for pictures together, and, obviously, the initial “S” of Square.


New House is situated on a street of traditional row homes in Hampstead, London. Designed by London based firm Guard Tillman Pollock, this modern white home focuses on privacy and clean lines. The front façade projects slightly out towards the street and is wrapped with sheer white fabric. This fabric conceals the home from the busy street while flooding the interior with filtered natural light. The boxy composition of the exterior continues inside. Monotone walls and beams are stitched together to form the various rooms. The floor plan has an open, airy quality due to double height spaces and a plethora of large windows and skylights. The white and gray palette is the perfect backdrop for the simple mid-century furnishings. I love how this unique home both stands out and blends in with its Victorian neighbors. The size and scale of New House is consistent with the other structures on its street, yet within these boundaries a truly creative and beautiful home emerged.


Fifti-Fifti’s Spring coat rack brings light to an innovative means to hang adornments. Inspired by a traditional spring, the structure of this piece comprises a combination of white steel wire, a rod of beech wood and mounting mechanisms. The idea is that the piece hangs unobtrusively from any vertical plane. Due to the construction, the wardrobe appears obviously easy and is simultaneously very stable. Spring is available in various lengths with the option to adjust the length also. The structure of the hanging piece is based on a bar made from beech wood which is then pushed through the still open spring turn. The result is a subtle and beautiful accent to a usually unwieldy mechanism. Photography courtesy of Fifti-Fifti.


Last week I was introduced to SUITED — a new beautifully designed biannual fashion and art publication with a singular mission in mind: to celebrate those who have found what they are well-suited for. The first issue highlights the latest work of fashion designers Melitta Baumeister and Rad Hourani, featuring remarkable photography by the talented Paul Jung, which focuses on South Sudanese models Mari Malek, Mari Agory, Nykhor Paul and Atong Arjok, in a quest to raise their voices to effect change in their home country. Passionately dedicated to the needs of others, these women are opening up a dialogue not only among their fellow citizens but around the world. With a strong minimalist aesthetic, the magazine strikes a superb balance of extraordinary visuals and insightful articles. A hugely impressive début publication, which has left me excited to read future issues.


The Autumn Winter 2015 collection by Singapore based avant-garde label Max. Tan goes by the name of XY. It combines floating handkerchief cuts with strict skirts and collapsing silhouettes with masculine textiles. Max. Tan considers XY to not be a distinction of opposites, but a seamless flow between them. It’s not just simply… women in menswear, or men in frocks. It is a collection that reconstructs her boyfriend’s wardrobe, a state of gender neutralising. I’m delighted by the balance and flow of the current Max. Tan collection. The combination of classic tailoring and deconstructed draping does not only lead towards a refreshingly androgynous design, but also adds a vivid energetic vibe to an avant-garde set of clothing. Especially the black pieces express a great sensitivity for the history and cultural background of fashion: always in motion.


As it is expected, the label printed on a wine bottle represents the persona of the winery, so it’s no surprise to find brand identities based on traditional and rustic ornamentations. Taking the concept in the opposite direction for Carchelo Wines, designer Eduardo del Fraile created a double-feature concept showcasing the bottle in a modern light and yet another outer shell representing what Extenso is about. Extenso, as the name implies, extends the experience far beyond your run-of-the-mill disposable wine bottle, enhanced by housing the product in an exquisite box. Sporting a stylish black and white matte finish, the first Magnum bottle holds an impressive design by itself; the simple logo with bare typography brings a freshness and timelessness not often found in wines. The outer bottle continues the trend, this time around inverting the colors; made from ultra light wood and silkscreen printing and paint, the end result is extraordinary. There’s a great deal of personality to find in a minimalist concept such as Extenso. For those lucky enough to get hold of one of the 600 limited edition units, it’s an opportunity to embellish any room with a sculptural piece. Stupendous design.


Fall 2015 in New York will come with a new warmth for American fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez. In design, especially fashion, appropriation and interpretation of cultures share a fine thin line. However, the India-inspired collection for Fall Winter 2015 of the Rodriguez’s namesake label was carefully tailored (both literally and figuratively) to positively reflect the taken elements. Colors like saffron and peach were so visually effective that I could taste the sun in my mouth, only to have my palette thrown off by the gorgeous iris blue coats. The story was a brief travel to another land, minimally delivered through embroideries and elongated silhouettes. Deep cuts and transparency layer a new depth to the method of color blocking, adding another dimension to the garments. I simply enjoy the classical approach toward construction, especially the creases along the high-waisted trousers that adorn the models. Rodriguez’s method does remind me of Francisco Costa’s early work for Calvin Klein, but not out of coincidence; simply out of the mutual respect for minimalism itself. Photography courtesy of Style.com.


I met Studio Vit for the first time two years ago at Fuorisalone in Milan. I was affected by their radical minimalistic design, even through their business card and website. The studio, founded in 2010 by Helena Jonasson and Veronica Dagnert in London, design and create well made products, lighting and furniture with great attention to detail. After Globe and Marble Lights, Cone lights is a collection which is about opposites. It consists of two elementary forms, the cone and the sphere, that are combined in different ways. Spheres in handblown glass and cones in matt white or mirror polished metal make up lights that cast light from the ceiling, wall or floor. The materials are hollow or solid, matt or reflective. The pieces are sold as numbered editions from Etage Projects and each item is handmade in London. Light, materials and volume are key elements of Studio Vit production in relationship to the space. The objects should coexist harmoniously and at the same time create a tension in relation to each other. Cone Lights are not just simple lamps. They are beautifully geometric.


3 Vaults is a refurbished apartment located in Turin, Italy. Designed by r3 Architetti, this small one-bedroom is the perfect home and occasional holiday rental. The three vaults the name refers to are the living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Each room has its own distinct styling, yet all three are tied together beautifully. A diagonally shaped hallway connects the various rooms. Wood paneling mingles against reinforced concrete and smooth white plaster. The home borders on an industrial aesthetic, yet more refined details allow it to feel cozy and polished. The furniture follows a similar theme: old and new pieces are artfully mixed and matched. The original ceiling remains from the building’s 1905 construction. Each unique space in 3 Vaults feels sculptural. The angles of the design and the chosen materials come together to create a modern and fashionable home.