Systems is an exhibition of commissioned poster designs and ‘60s Braun products, presented in a single grid at the Walter Knoll London showroom from 25 Nov – 31 Dec 2013. The exhibition is curated by das programm and produced in association with Braun. An international group of graphic designers respond to the systematicity of Braun Design, each one of them notably minimalist, such as Experimental Jetset, Hey Studio, Ross Gunter, Antonio Carusone, Spin, Tomasz Berezowski, Spin and more. Featured here is Berlin–based studio Neubau‘s series of posters, exploring the concepts of Form, Typography and Colour. Find out more about each poster and the specific concept developed in each design. All the works are available for purchase as a limited edition of A1 prints, individually or as a cased set. I’d love one in my living room!
I recently stumbled upon Bande des Quatres — a jewelry label based in Montréal, collaborated by daughter Erin Wahed and mother Janis Kerman. Founded in 2011, the brand has been gaining more exposure to minimalist enthusiasts due to its effortless nature, inspired from different fields in art and design. However, it is mostly known for its obsession with history and traditional craftsmanship — a rare quality in today’s monotonous and mass-produced era. Made to order, each piece of accessory is carefully overlooked by the designer and the artisan, making every one unique and personal. The appeal of these products is that they were cleverly designed to grasp onto the wearer’s body with a certain fragility. In contrast to the heaviness that is metal (both physically and aesthetically), they give rise to an elegant statement. Simple, poised, and delicate. Photos Courtesy of Totokaelo
PA1 (an acronym for Proper Audio) is a minimal mountable aluminium bodied bluetooth speaker, made by Australian studio Proper. Designers tried to create a combination of laconic beauty and powerful sound. The result is being currently founded through Kickstarter. Here is how they describe it: PA1 connects wirelessly to virtually every smart phone, tablet and computer, regardless of operating system. We’ve selected a premium Bluetooth module, with close consideration to antenna placement ensuring clear, consistent pairing and audio streaming. PA1 also remembers up to 5 devices, so you’ll only ever need to pair the first time you turn it on. The On, Off, and Pairing commands are operated intuitively via a single button. The device is versatile, it can be moved from one room to another, mounted on a wall or placed on a shelf or desk. The interchangeable fabric covers are available in black and white.
It is rare to see a modern home with a conventional A-frame roof and wooden facade. Boreraig House, on the Scottish Isle of Skye, proves that chic and modern living can take many forms. Designed by Dualchas Architects, this home aims to connect with the landscape and local heritage. Boreraig House sits low on the skyline so as not to interrupt the stunning mountain views. Instead of adding space in height, Dualchas Architects created the structure in three connected bodies. The main block holds the kitchen, dining room, and lounge. The second space is for the bedrooms; and the third is a private study. The structure’s materials are derived from its surroundings: metal from the farm’s gates, lumber from the fence, and stone from the traditional property walls. I love the combination of modern and rustic in this humble home. The flush paneling and gray color of the wood modernize the facade. The corrugated metal does the same for the sleek roof. Overall, Boreraig House is a lovely, peaceful country dwelling.
Urban Oasis’ Still House Collection is a new take on the traditional drinking vessel and serving accompaniment. The beautifying of the everyday through materiality and finish, offer an element of occasion through form. Designed in New York City, the collection is distributed both locally and internationally and has a growing consumer base. The pieces are a combination of glazed and raw ceramic elements that are intended to bring a sense of calm and simplicity. Exhibited and sold through Still House in New York, Urban Oasis has created a collection that is both accessible, considered and embedded with deliberate minimalist detail. There is an organic quality to the forms also, playing with light and illumination through the materiality. Open since May 2011, Still House is a vehicle for emerging designers across New York, Japan, Scandinavia and Europe and is a blend between shop and gallery where they pride themselves on being a place to find new art and design talent. Nestled in East Village, I applaud the launching pad they offer for local artists and the quality and accessibility to designed pieces they offer the end user. Photography courtesy of Still House.
Stockholm based design studio People People set about reinventing a classic with their latest project. They wanted to update the robust, albeit heavy and clumsy Kronan bike with a more sleek, light weight and minimalist design, stripped down to its essence. So People People designed a successor in Spiran. A robust construction combined with a sleek, light weight frame and slim racing tires, Spiran has been optimised for the agility and speed needed in a city. The designers also opted for a single speed approach, with a carbon fibre belt instead of a chain, meaning no lubrication or maintenance. In everything from the frame to the leather details, we wanted to use only genuine materials that not only last a long time, but also age with grace. Besides its clean lines and slim form factor, People People’s design also impresses with the integrated bike lock that folds out from the front basket, locking the bike in the front wheel or even around a city lamp post or fence. Simple, clever and robust. I love it.
Protagonist is a new label with slightly less feminine details yet maintains the silhouettes that, one might say, reflect the modern woman of today – of comfort, confidence and style. As the designer Kate Wendelborn, who is behind this line of the new label, reaffirms that the clean, minimalist direction is a lot more work than it looks: I spend a lot of time to make each piece look effortless. Subtleties – of shape, fit and material – allow Protagonist to be worn in either an elevated way or a more casual way. Indeed. I love how she has used the men’s pinstripe in a simplified women’s suiting. Calf leather, silk crepe and sculptural wool are so rich as materials themselves, yet tell another story when designed around the calmness and simplicity within Wendelborn’s collection. This collection was a collaboration with renowned minimalist stylist Vanessa Traina and photographed by Paul Maffi.
100 Colors is a solo exhibition created by the French-born and Tokyo-based architect Emmanuelle Moureaux, as part of the 17-day art event Shinjuku Creators Festa 2013. As its name suggests, the installation is formed of 100 different hues of color along 840 sheets of paper neatly suspended from the ceiling, which were provided by leading Japanese paper manufacturer Takeo. The whole combination creates an amazing volume of vibrant color where each sheet creates a gradual transition to the next. Beneath the installation there are bean bags to invite visitors to watch and admire the piece from different perspectives. The 100 colors are also featured on the wall in small circles, allowing the visitors to indicate their preference in color.
I like high-end minimalist products but sometimes I stumble upon a more ordinary, everyday, product. The new tableware Eugeni Quitllet created for Air France catched my eye. The collection was conceived with the ‘aerodynamics’ of the air crafts in which they will be used on in mind. A design that disappears to give away the spirit of an idea: the search for the essential, objects sculpted by air and for the air. From the collection I would like to highlight the cutlery, of which the formal aspects have been fashioned to look like a plane, and comes as an assembly kit, which can be easily pieced together for use. The result: an orginal, minimalist, cutlery set with a fun twist suited for adults and children.
P.A.C.O. is a minimalist bluetooth speaker created by Italian studio Digital Habit(s). This is a stand-alone piece, it can be placed on a desk, shelf or any other surface. Here is how designers describe it: P.A.C.O. is a digital loudspeaker manufactured in concrete and Fir Harmonic Board. The body, heavy and amorphous, enhances the deepness of bass and the harmonic wood gives warmth to the treble. Aside from the bluetooth controls, the speaker can be operated via hand gestures. For example you can place and hold your hand over one side of the sensor to change volume. And to stop the music, you can just cover the sensor with your hand. Simple and intuitive.
House in Shimamoto is located in a busy residential neighborhood in Osaka, Japan. Container Design, based in Kobe, Japan, designed the simple home with the goal of connecting the residents with nature while maintaining privacy from near-by neighbors. The home is comprised of three basic materials: steel, glass, and timber. White galvanized steel plates cover the facade, protecting the retreat from the crowded street. On the north side of the home, large glass windows bring in natural light and offer a peak at the mountainous landscape. Timber is used throughout the interior: the ceiling and wall beams are exposed and the floor alternates between a solid and slatted wood pattern. I love the restricted use of materials in this home. The steel, glass, and wood feel complimentary yet still maintain an interesting contrast. House in Shimamoto is a no-fuss home that is sure to please anyone lucky enough to reside there.
Sekino Architects Office brings an absolute celebration of concrete to its combined House + Office structure in Tokyo. Staying true to the aesthetic that has become typified of Japanese architectural form, this structure is one of absolute minimalism. The clean lines and open voids acting as internal courtyards connect spaces through bridges and uninterrupted rail-work. Comprised of reinforced concrete and glass, House + Office sits on a site just over 800 sqm, providing a very generous, particularly for Japanese standards, 550 sqm of internal floor area. Both the House and Office components of this beauty seem to coexist in an effortless harmony. There is also an overt zen-ness to this space and the experience of moving throughout. This is an applauding example of Sekino Architects Office’s consistent discipline and restrained deliberation. Photography courtesy of Hiroyuki Hirai.