Minimalissimo


Mansur Gavriel is the highly sought-after label with a collection of beautifully designed leather bags made and crafted in Italy. Designed by Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel who moved to New York City especially to start their company, the collection first surfaced in the summer of 2013 and saw immediate success, being sold out as soon as it hit the stores. The label has continued to deliver their minimalist designs of signature tote and bucket bags that come in bold pops of single color or contrasting outer tanned leather with matte patent interiors. The craftsmanship of these bags reveal just enough detail of the effortless style behind the designs which is what I love most about this label. It is a true practice of patience to get your hands on one.


Hang Around & Toss Around is a wonderful set of wooden cooking tools and salad servers created by the Copenhagen design studio KiBiSi for the Danish brand Muuto. The kitchen utensils are made in white beech wood and they have an extrusion cut in the back to hang on the edge of pots or pans. A really simple design with a fantastic and useful alteration to make them more practical to use. On the designs, KiBiSi explain: The kitchen utensils combine form, function and craftsmanship, but in KiBiSi’s interpretation, they are precisely designed and crafted for an essential contemporary look and functional ergonomics.


London based creative Josiah Jones created a compartmentalised tray in order to create the perfect formation for any given meal. The tray has 20 individual magnetised compartments that can be mixed and matched together. Jones initiated this project during his graduation year at Chelsea College of Art & Design. He wanted to investigate the idea that food fuels creativity; including what you eat, where you eat it and how you eat it. Creative professionals were invited for a social ‘work’ lunch and they could choose their ideal lunchtime meals. Lunch in exchange for their time, ideas and advice. Initiate relationships within the design industry. I really like the way you can play with the compartments and section off the different foods. The execution is also very impressive — geometric shaped nylon components and subtle integrated tiny magnets to connect the components with each other. I hope this tray will be taken into production, as I would be very interested in purchasing one.


This minimal wristwatch, aptly called Moreless, has been created by Denny Liao and Karen Han of Los Angeles based design studio, Mean. The watch face is clear of any visual clutter, the time increments are displayed on the inner side wall of the timepiece. As you tilt your hand, your reading of the time becomes more precise. You see less when you look straight at the watch, you see more at an angle. Here is how the designers describe their concept: The project explores a simple way for a watch to display time based on the user’s level of curiosity. There are many ways to communicate time on a watch, but how specific does the information need to be? The answer varies depending on the occasion. In most cases, you might just want to get a rough idea of the time of the day. Or rather, when an important meeting is coming up, you might want the information shown on the watch to be very specific. Thus, we asked ourselves: can some of the information on the watch be kept out of sight when not needed, and only appear as it becomes relevant to the user? The end result is an extremely minimal watch...


The Farnsworth House is a modern icon and a personal favorite of mine. Designed by the legendary Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), this timeless structure was completed for  Dr. Edith Farnsworth in 1951. The home is a small, one room retreat that hovers just above the ground in a rural Illinois setting. Floor to ceiling windows cover every inch of the exterior walls, punctuated by structural I-beams. The only opaque walls exist in a central core containing the bathroom, kitchen, and utilities closet. The furnishings are minimal and are mostly designed by Mies van der Rohe himself. The Farnsworth House’s clean lines, structural purity, and simple form are all classic features of mid-century modernism. At this time, removing the traditional clutter of walls, doors, and decoration was entirely unprecedented. As a result, Farnsworth House was famous even before its completion. A model of the home was first exhibited in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art in 1947, four years before the building’s completion. The Farnsworth House has been in countless publications and exhibits since then. Unfortunately, the home has had several structural problems over the years, most notably its susceptibility to flooding. However, restoration effects are constantly in place, ensuring that the Farnsworth House...


Frederico Traverso’s Pandora is a multiuse minimalist collection of lamps, tables and seating ornaments. Based on the philosophy of concealing the material composing them, each piece seems to have its own ethereal quality and lightness. Each piece is available in multiple sizes and when selected as the lighted version, each piece can be transformed into a feature lighting element. The illumination comes from LED technology and controlled through a remote device to ensure the sculptural piece itself is formally left uninterrupted. Available through Myyour, the collection is based on timeless design with hundreds of possible color combinations. Each element can be used internally or externally, maximizing its use and versatility also. There are 3 available sizes and each can be finished with either embossed detailing a smooth surface. Together in form and function, these pieces are beautiful and unobtrusive. And that is very beautiful. Photography courtesy of Frederico Traverso.


Los Angeles based photographer Nicholas Alan Cope, whose superb book, Whitewash, we featured last year, has again grabbed our attention with another superb photographic series, Vedas. A collaborative project with fellow photographer and designer Dustin Edward Arnold, Vedas — meaning knowledge in Sanskrit — marked their move into fashion imagery through photographing sculptural garments of their own design, and to challenge ideas of what is acceptable against what is possible. In a recent interview with Dezeen, Arnold explains: It was the idea that knowledge is at once both expansive and contractive. For some it shakes foundations, de-stabilises values and opens up the sheer terror of possibility. For others it signifies hope, advancement and discovery. The materials used for this project are flexible, yet manage to hold shape to achieve interesting structures with often blurred, ghostly silhouettes. I like this. We wanted to restrain the palette by focusing entirely on form rather than colour. I will certainly be keeping a watchful eye on this duo’s future collaborations. Fascinating.


The Australian queens of staple wardrobe have done it again! Mary-Lou Ryan and Deborah Sams of Warriewood based label Bassike — spoken Basic — seem to get more distinctive with every collection they design. They effortlessly stick to the brand’s core business by creating a wardrobe of relaxed, minimal pieces, while at the same time implementing new ideas and a fresh styling for Spring/Summer 2014. It seems like some new colors and patterns were mixed into the current collection: Bassike’s signature neutral palette is carefully complemented with some earthy tones and patterns abstracted from classic menswear. The silhouettes are even more loose-fitting and oversized than before. However, the overall look is still luxurious and elaborate, which is probably due to the carefully chosen fabrics, mainly produced in Australia, Italy and France. So if you want to take your relaxed beach feeling downtown with style, Bassike’s SS2014 collection is definitely the right choice for hitting the bars and clubs.


You might be familiar with London-based photographer Bruno Drummond and set designer Gemma Tickle‘s work through their contribution to Printed Pages magazine’s spring 2014 edition, but the pair’s collaborations span many other playful projects. Very informed by a minimalist aesthetic, their collaborations often use graphic, formal arrangements, clean sharp angular lines, plain untextured surfaces, and as with Printed Pages, repeat the same elements again and again as a stylistic device. Continuing my on-going investigation about the process behind minimalistic work, Bruno shares with us that he wouldn’t necessarily describe their process as minimalist — It is often quiet elaborate, with ideas being discussed extensively but it does tend to result in a specific vision prior to shooting.  A lot of the work is pre-visualised with ideas, materials, colours and lighting discussed in advance, although they always leave room for the unexpected, which isn’t surprising considering the joyful nature of their work. Unsurprisingly, their individual portfolios boast several other beautifully simple projects — head over to be further visually delighted!


Norm Architects, which was founded by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and Kasper Rønn in 2008, is a multidisciplinary company that focuses on products that reflect the traditions and timelessness of Scandinavian designs — not only aesthetically, but also qualitatively. I was lucky enough to encounter the New Norm Dinnerware series that consists of jars, plates, bowls, and many other affordable minimal utilities. They all hold the colors and cleanliness that reflect the Nordic cultures. If one argues against the counter-complexity of the designs, one is missing the point. The craftsmanship being put into these pleasantly familiar pieces calls for a combination of materials — glass, wood, metal, stone, ceramic — that is not entirely alien to the users, yet still gives off an elegance of modernity. Launched back in 2011, this series still remains relevance in this contemporary design era, because Norm loyally stayed with their creative philosophy. In order to showcase these beautiful products, Norm collaborated with Cofoco in Copenhagen, resulting in Höst Restaurant. Like the New Norm Dinnerware themselves, Höst meshes the new and old Nordic traditions to inspire the upcoming generation, as well as call for an evaluation of time’s intervention in the design industry. Photos Courtesy of Norm...


Beam armchair is a minimalist design created by the Netherlands based studio Oato in collaboration with woodworking company Kuperus & Gardenier. The piece has been inspired by stacked beam structures used in many cultures. Designers explain their process: All the structural elements are squared, like wooden construction beams. All parts that involve sitting or touching are rounded and have different profiles accenting their own character and role. The price of the chair is quite approachable, especially considering the fact that it is mostly handmade. Another important achievement by the designers… The piece is made of oak with natural oil finish.


M Residence is yet another stunning dwelling by acclaimed architecture firm Shinichi Ogawa & Associates. Completed in 2013 and located in Fukui, Japan, M Residence is a remarkably simple home for two families. One half of the structure houses a young couple and child, while the other is home to the child’s grandmother. Both halves of the home are nearly identical. The interiors feature an open-floor plan. The lack of walls lends a fluidity to the space and cuts out cumbersome square footage. Furniture is limited to only the necessities. Sliding panels are placed along the southern wall of the home, allowing the space easy exposure to the outdoors. Shared spaces include the porch, car park, and garden. M Residence is the perfect solution to living with extended family. Both families can enjoy the comfort and convenience of living so close, yet their divided spaces can easily feel a world apart. That Shinichi Ogawa & Associates were able to achieve this while maintaining the design’s effortless and minimal aesthetic is equally impressive.