Minimalissimo


Exclusivity has always been a clever marketing scheme for designs, especially for the fashion industry. Continuing with the ongoing collaboration between British fashion brand COS and Serpentine Galleries in London, the minimal Serpentine Bag, inspired by the 2015 pavilion, has marked the supportive attitude of two creative fields. If one knows of the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion, one can see the total contrast between it and its inspired product. While the installation contains a diverse degree of opacity and a prism field of colors, the bag is made of an opaque off-white canvas with grey leather straps. Many spectators have voiced the contrast as a misopportunity to carry out the pavilion’s essence. However, I would argue that the bag acts an absorption of the maximalism in the bigger structure to be represented in a minimalistic manner. With its top folded down and secured with a simple buckle, the fold almost mimics the complex connections. Meanwhile, its boxy shape exudes an architectural feeling. The bag is now available online and in several COS stores within London for a limited time. Serpentine Trust will receive all the proceeds from sales in order to support its annual commission given to an architect. Minimal and beautifully constructed, the Serpentine...


Situated in the district of Mompiano in the north part of the Italian city of Brescia, this beautiful swimming centre is characterised as urban architecture, open to a specific relationship with the surroundings. The aim of the architects — Camillo Botticini, Francesco Craca, Arianna Foresti, Studio Montanari and Nicola Martinoli — was to design something different from the classic sports building seen as a ubiquitous object. The architectural theme is expressed by treating the compact block of the brown Clinker through a sequence of excavated fronts, that change its character in relation to the interior spaces and the different conditions of external reference. The distribution organises three functional parts: a large main room with a pool for water polo, a nucleus of changing rooms on three levels and a room with two small pools for courses. The main room has a large window facing the north outside lawn and to the east side it opens towards a patio with beautiful bamboo’s plants. I love when good design is applied to the spaces for public use. The people of Brescia can swim in a beautifully minimalist environment. Photography by Niccolò Galeazzi.


Overlooking the seaside in Greece is the elegant Villa Melana. Created by local designers Panagiotis Papassotiriou and Valia Foufa, the focal point of the home is the spectacular view of the sea and sky. Each of the main living areas was designed to take in the stunning Greek environment, and the materials used were carefully selected to incorporate the home into the natural landscape. On the exterior, rough stone walls tie the home in with the rocky surrounding landscape. Bright white walls contrast with the stone façade. The white walls also reflect the sun, which helps the house stay cool in the dry heat. Climate-appropriate landscaping, wood terraces, and stone paths create an inviting outdoor atmosphere. The stone continues on the interior, providing a welcome connection to the landscape outside. Walls of glass provide a view to the pool while sleek doors open to a covered terrace. Adjacent to the terrace, the infinity pool pairs perfectly with the soft Mediterranean water. Just imagine the lazy days and perfect nights at this seaside getaway. What could be more perfect?


Public School’s Resort 2016 collection is a strong statement of forms and lines. Collating as a collection of black, white, silver and grey, Resort 2016 explores a street style that imbues a level of embedded sophistication. Formally, the tailoring is well considered, together with relaxed cuts, this collection is one of cool cred. Based out of New York City, designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne created the label Public School based on a strong lineage of refined simplicity. Their work is renowned for its lines being clean, urban ones with an emphasis on accessibility to the American and in particular, New York style. Each piece is a considered fusion of cut and discipline. Watch this space. Photography courtesy of Public School.


Unambiguous visual contrast with the surrounding landscape and a great concern for self-sufficiency are the main draws for Villa Kogelhof; the prize-winning piece from Paul de Ruiter Architects, a Netherlands based firm. A true case study on how to reconcile appropriate indulgence and sustainability, while achieving such feat relying solely on two minimalist volumes. In the age where privacy is an ever-changing concept, it’s a luxury to build a residence with no worries for discretion. The glass box is supported by a courageous steel V-frame, housing the living rooms, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms; it takes sophisticated planning to make it all work on a mono-volume such as this. The whole façade is made of glass, making a permanent panoramic view for its occupants, imprinting a contemporary aesthetic often found in corporate buildings. This modern-looking residence stands bravely in the middle of a 25-hectare state, a visual intervention on the bucolic countryside. The brave adjective wasn’t applied lightly in this case, since this residence is energy neutral. Applying numerous technological solutions, the glass box manages to harvest energy throughout the year. It achieves complete autarky with a stylish exterior and a timeless interior design thanks to classic furniture from Eileen Grey...


NYC Design Week 2015 saw the Rhode Island School of Design alumni Farrah Sit and Anna Lynett Moss from Chiyome, both New York-based product designers, collaborate on a beautifully light and elegant furniture collection. Rooted in an analysis of planar relationships and with a nod to design elements borrowed from fashion, the collection is a study of weightlessness and balancing opposites — line vs volume, bright vs muted, transparent vs opaque. Both designers became friends in the NY design scene through a mutual deep admiration for each others’ work and share a focus on thoughtful, considered and sustainable design with community engagement – this collaboration was an opportunity to explore such design philosophy on a larger scale. The collection was exhibited during NYCxDesign2015 at Colony, a furniture showroom that celebrates and showcases the community of independent designers in New York City. Photography by Christopher Saunders.


One shape, two high-end materials and an origin story that is touching and professionally convincing: These are the ingredients of BLYSZAK eyewear, a brand-new line of sunglasses by Andrew Blyszak. Being a successful consultant to niche luxury fashion brands, Andrew Blyszak knew exactly what to do when he realized that he would not find the right replacement for his beaten up southern french flea market sunnies. He found ethically sourced horn by-product and also found the perfect artisan to shape it exactly like his beloved sunglasses. He mixed the design with coated grade-A steel and made sure the result would suit men as well as women. Personally I prefer to think of all niche products as unisex to some degree. The collection has a genderless mood, which I think is reflected in the campaign imagery and true, the style sits well on both boys and girls. — Interview with sharpenedlead He is so right about the campaign. And that is very much due to the immaculate images taken by Paul Jung, who is famous for his clear but avant-garde style. I love the way Andrew Blyszak used his expertise to create an everyday object with an enduring design which still...


Trava is a lightweight, three season, single pole tent by Boreas Gear that is unlike any other tent you have seen. Boreas’ designers were inspired by the bridges of the Spanish neo-futuristic architect Santiago Calatrava. The striated supports of Calatrava’s bridges work both as function and aesthetic. Like the bridges, the packs by Boreas Gear use a reinforced ribcage patterning and the design team’s aim was to combine both ideas in the structure of the tent. I really like the clean lines of Calatrava’s work and how the team of Boreas applied a similar style in the design of their first tent. The two person tent really stands out from others with its bright white colour. The completely white fly and the full grayscale canopy and pole system really go well together. The rain fly has a window and offers a clear view to the surrounding nature. A separate footprint that provides full ground cover can add an extra element of protection under the vestibule space. Boreas Gear is a small independent outdoor gear company based in San Fransisco. The small collaborative has clear vision for the future of outdoor equipment. They see an opportunity for better products, designed from the ground up,...


Located in a relaxed area in rural Shiga, Japan, the Japanese studio FORM/Kouichi Kimura architects has developed this beautifully structured family residence; Courtyard House. We invited the architects to tell us a little more about the project: Designed to form a U-shaped building with a courtyard, which secures privacy, the house was requested to incorporate with the scenery while making the best use of the spacious site of about 330 square metres. The interior is configured by a single open room whereby finishes and levels vary to make each space independent and comfortable, creating various scenes as one moves from one place to another. The construction has many remarkable aspects to it, such as its pale grey corrugated metal façade giving the house an industrial aesthetic. As well as the linear water channel through the courtyard directing the eye towards the landscape, and the concrete elements throughout the interior, which all add value to this magnificent, minimalist home.


Rob Kennon Architects designed this lovely family home located in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Burnley House is a perfect example of beautiful and liveable modern design. The home is divided into private and public areas, distinguished by a clever use of materials. The public areas of are filled with airy materials and a plethora of natural light, while the private rooms are smaller, darker, and cozy. The large and open great room features tall ceilings and a stretch of white cabinetry. Long, sleek windows occupy a position on every wall and wood floors bring a pleasant texture into the room. In the bedrooms, the walls are clad in a deep brown wood and the floors are covered with soft rugs. The mix of materials in Burnley House is flawless. Concrete, wood, black-framed windows, and smooth white surfaces are incorporated throughout the home, creating visual interest and continuity of design. I love how the furnishings completely compliment the surfaces and textures of the structure. Every piece of Burnley House is seamlessly pulled together, creating a structure any family would be lucky to call home.


Xirel Segard’s Galalux Lamp is a floating sphere of concrete lux and a creative approach to illumination. Made from concrete and available in two varying sizes, the magical orb of light is both a sculptural and functional addition to space. The thin sliver of exposed light that seeps from the center of the sphere acts as the functional injection into an otherwise geometric form. Although it seems to levitate with this streak of light passing through it, the materiality itself helps ground the object to the space. Based in Paris, Segard has been involved in numerous exhibitions and the recipient of many awards. Weighing in around 3kgs, the Galalux is one of many of her experimentations with concrete. Her work is articulated form-wise with a somewhat lightness, somehow due to the aeration of the concrete itself, but there also exists this a duality and juxtaposition, through the material’s strength. This experimentation and playfulness has given birth to this beautiful piece of industrial design that subtly illuminates and just as subtly adds a sense of curiosity. Photography courtesy of Xirel Segard.


Unusual geometry and minimalism makes for an incredible pair, especially when applied to renovation projects and updating old structures to contemporary standards. Taking over an existing post-and-beam building, maintaining all the best elements to its advantage and adapting the inner workings to the owners’ lifestyle are Patrick Tighe Architecture’s triumphs for this Malibu based residence. The ceiling makes its presence quite obvious throughout the house, as it shapes itself as a main feature; for this reason, the visual dynamic is built around the roof’s geometry. The windows and furniture work their way around it, with unconcealed adaptations in the bedrooms, living rooms and even bathrooms. This residence remixes a timeworn architectonic element that is often hidden or modified to achieve uniformity, and breathes new life with eclectic variations. The owner’s art and design collection is tastefully incorporated into the daily life; as display niches, special lighting and white canvas spaces make room for each piece to shine. The end result is a very dynamic and vibrant residence, with sharp angles and various textures in all rooms. The grand entry door says it all, its uneven shape introduces the concept in a glance. Minimalism can flirt with eccentricity from time to...