Hideg House is a sculptural form emerging from the rocky landscape. Located on the site of a former quarry in Koszeg, Hungary, this wooden structure is the first realized project of the young firm Béres Architects. After three long years of construction, Hideg House is a modern vacation home which merges the natural and built environments. The single story design features a dark timber frame punctured with windows and natural wood cladding. The rooms are placed to the far sides of the home, while the voided center is a covered patio. The interior is bright, white, and simple. It is a welcome contrast to the dark exterior and busy terrain. All of the rooms are arranged to maximize the views of nature. The cabin overlooks the best of both worlds: one side faces the exposed rock face of the former quarry, while the south side offers a panorama of the forest. I love the juxtaposition of this design. Pairing nature and man-made structures side by side results in a captivating aesthetic.
Aires Mateus & Sia Arquitectura’s House Melides on the Grandola Crest in Portugal takes the palette back to the basic elements. Situated amongst undulated terrain, overlooking the valley below, it acts as a portal to the vistas of natural elements that exist around it. In this sense, the importance of its quiet minimalism roars loudly. Comprised of unobtrusively, unusual main volumes that overlap in the shape of a cross, the resulting architecture sit both monolithically and subtly amongst its landscape. The interior is comprised of strict whites that seem to imbue its own softness through its interaction with the entering light. The otherwise metered corners throughout the interior are softened through the play on the other lines throughout the architecture. The stillness of space through finishes and articulation of lines is beautiful. The collaboration resulting in House Melides by Aires Mateus & Sia Arquitectura is to be commended. Photography courtesy of Fernando Guerra.
Maria Van Nguyen — @vnyen — is originally from Oslo and born to Vietnamese parents. She is currently based in New York where she studies fashion design at Parsons, and works at the fashion house Acne Studios. Maria also runs a beautifully curated blog where she celebrates and discusses minimalist fashion. Today we explore Maria’s Instagram and gain an insight into how her superb collection has come about. What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? Minimalism is not only an aesthetic pleasure but a lifestyle. I’m attracted to things that are serene and calm, but somehow bold in its own way. On the other hand, it’s important that things are real and untouched so every now and then there will be photos that might not be the most minimal. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? New York is a busy city where you can always go somewhere to find inspiration if you need it. Still, I tend to shy away from any disturbance and surround myself with clear and open spaces that breathe instead. It keeps my mind at ease and makes it easier for me to focus. Other than that I like to surround myself with...
By transferring the shape of a common shopping bag into soft and snug calf leather, Hamburg based product designer Sandra Thomsen created a simple and most luxurious companion to carry your day-to-day necessities in a classy way. She calles it the Fluo bag. The disposable plastic bag recast in soft calf leather with standard proportions, right down to the punched out crescent handle and bottom placket. The bag becomes even more beautiful while using it a lot. The leather softens and will get a great patina. In my opinion the transfer works both ways. Not only does the leather refine the everyday shape of the original plastic shopping bag, but the plain, unlined cut also exposes the amazing quality – the shine, touch and the velvety nubuck back of the calf leather — perfectly. You can see it in the beautiful way the leather folds in when the Fluo bag is empty. Or in the nice geometric shape, accentuated by the leather polish, when you carry it around. A highlight.
Created in New York City and inspired by Scandinavian esthetics, Kunst K is a contemporary apothecary concept that connects individualism, beauty and a unique creative vision. Scientifically developed over several years of extensive research to best suit individual skin regimes and to highlight the importance of vitamins, as a result each person has the freedom to custom blend their own formula. The concept was developed by makeup creative director Kiril Hristovski, who is also responsible for the design and branding of Kunst K. The line of products consists of two base creams, an eye cream, a mask, and five vitamins (A+D3, B, C, E and K) that are individually packed in breakable ampoules, which are to be mixed in with any of our four products. Easy, simple and personable – a refreshing and enticing concept, all wrapped up in bold and minimalist packaging.
Desnahemisfera is a design studio collaborated by Dejan Kos, Damir Islamovic, and Klemen Smrtnik. With a simple and quirky aesthetic to their designs (and even their website), who would have guessed that the process is composed of multiple conversations about the little details. Symbiosis is one of their latest products, which was specifically made for Kolpa, a company specialized in bathroom furnishes in Europe. With the catchphrase of “Coexistance of Waves,” this pristine bathtub shares its figure with a washbasin to form a sleek silhouette. The transition from the tub’s curvy contour to its abrupt geometrical end brings attention to the cantilevered basin on top, creating a harmonized uniform for the design. Not only appealing to the eyes, this hybrid was made to also please the skin — with a button that controls water pressure and temperature, and the ears — with a built-in audio system for one’s favorite music. Technologically advanced and beautiful-looking, to me, Symbiosis is almost a monumental piece of sculpture on its own and a cherish of functional minimalist design.
It is not easy to romanticize veneer, but Netherlands based studio Oato succeeded by designing this minimalist coat stand, aptly called Peel. Created in collaboration with woodworking company Kuperus & Gardenier, the peace makes the best of the material - Finnish birch plywood. Here is how the designers describe their approach: We call our way of design a search for ‘the poetic side of industrial design’. Our goal is to reshape the everyday objects that surround us, by balancing emotion and industry. The Peel coat stand is definitely a harmonious equilibrium between aesthetics and utility. Inspired by the way veneer is created (carving thin strips of wood from a log) we returned the strips to a stem, from which small parts seemed to be peeled to create the coat hooks. I love the fact that the function here arises from the quality of the wood, and because of that, it looks spontaneous and, yes, very poetic.
Look carefully or you might miss the tiny Yokaya restaurant and residence in Fukuoka, Japan. This humble white rectangle is nestled on a busy street between several tall condo buildings. Designed by rhythmdesign, the structure is a mere 135 square meters and houses a restaurant on the ground floor with an apartment above. The front facade is entirely opaque on the upper stories, while a cutout on the ground floor invites passerby into the restaurant. Wood and concrete are the main materials used in the interior. In the restaurant, the simple design allows the food to take center stage. The apartment above is arranged with a similar aesthetic: built in storage keeps the space uncluttered and the furnishings are limited to essentials. I love the modest design of this duplex building. The clean lines of the architecture and precise use of materials come together quite elegantly. Yokaya is quiet and reserved, but it is its little form that stands dignified on this bustling street.
Kebei Li’s Bronze Cable Holder reinterprets the utilitarian. Fusing functionality and form, this piece helps to express the beauty in the un-ornate. Simplistic in finish and beautifully crafted, Li has really crafted something minimal, from an everyday untapped opportunity for assistance. Inspired by his daily frustration of charging cables falling off of the table, the intent was for this to be a very function-driven design approach with clear affordance. Rhode Island-based Li is very passionate about the use of raw and genuine materials and the absence of decoration. I find this approach very interesting, especially his quality of honesty with the materiality. His work focuses on the human-object interaction and how the reliability of use and the making of the design all connect in some way. The material itself, being bronze was specific due to its layer of patina that forms through use over time. There is also an emphasis on the controlled geometry which I appreciate on many levels. Photography courtesy of Kebei Li.
Cathérine Lovatt is a Belgian freelance ceramicist who’s work we previously featured towards the end of last year. We have since kept a close eye on her ceramic creations and today I would like to share with you her beautifully simplistic ceramic wall vase, designed for Belgian interior decoration brand, Serax. The minimalistic cylindrical design of this hanging vase, part of Lovatt’s Episode One collection, certainly adds an elegant touch to any wall. Measuring only 11cm, this fabulous little object is available in grey, but could quite easily be painted to match a particular aesthetic in one’s home. If you enjoy just a hint of greenery, this would make for an ideal and subtle decorative solution for the minimalist in you. Photography courtesy of Ale Besso.
The program guidelines for the Pocinho Centre for High Performance Rowing was to design a complex that not only facilitated training and preparation for the Olympics, but also to provide residential quarters and social interaction areas. Architect Álvaro Fernandes Andrade had the task of delivering the 8,000m2 project with a possible subsequent expansion phase of the housing area, without a significant impact on size and the landscape. Divided into 3 zones: Social, Housing and Training, the complex is built mostly into the terrain of Douro Valley in Portugal. I really appreciate how the structure echoes the undulating geography with deep respect to the context of the low buildings and slopes around it. The minimalist building of angled roofs and wave-like volumes blend in seamlessly with the terraces while the pristine white dry-stone walls give the Pocinho Centre an identity that is modern and chic yet functional at the same time. Photography by Fernando Guerra.
For the fashion house Rubens Luciano, Italian architect Simone Micheli has designed this spectacular office and showroomm inside a 19th century building near Venice, Italy. Its main feature is perhaps the careful use of light and glass, emphasized by the large open working spaces, the white furniture and walls, and the rounded edges and organic shapes along all elements of the building. On the other hand, the integration of these contemporary elements with the antique building is perfect, achieving a balance in some rooms and contrasting in others — yet always in harmony and very meticulous with each detail and finish. All previous elements of the building give to the project a great personality that makes it unique and distinguished. I like this.