The new headquarters of the Benéfico Social Padre Rubinos Institution is an impressive building financed by the Amancio Ortega Foundation and developed by Elsa Urquijo Architects. Opened last week and located in A Coruña, Spain, the building features the following facilities for people in a social emergency situation: hostel/refuge for transient people with no resources or home; redidence for the elderly and day centre with charitable nature; infants’ school for children born in families in a precarious financial situation; and the Padre Rubinos social headquarters. In total, a size of more than 15.000m2, the architects explain: It is a building that renounces the academic composition of the facade and turns it in a front porch that surrounds and defines the square. This invites us to move in that protected porch, discovering the different spaces that are linked to it, creating a frame in which life can flow and develop. A truly wonderful project with a predominantly white colour palette, where luminosity and horizontal lines produce a stable, calm and relaxing environment, and every detail is carefully considered.
FREAKS Free Architects recently designed this one-story apartment in downtown Geneva, Switzerland. Completed this year, Geneva Flat is arranged to utilise every inch of space and does so brilliantly. The open floor plan is divided by thin white walls and panes of glass. Most of the walls serve more than one function. The walls become a wardrobe, bookshelf, and even a platform for the bed. The glass is a room separator but still allows each space of the apartment to feel connected. It also creates a bright and airy aesthetic throughout the home. Geneva Flat is decorated with monochrome furnishings and an artful light fixture. The gray and white palate of this apartment couldn’t be more simple. Yet, in a space as austere as Geneva Flat, every material is crucial to forming a comprehensive design scheme. Each element was chosen which great care, resulting in a composition that is both minimal and luxurious.
Ari Kanerva’s Tiuku Clock is a subtle and minimal take on the traditional grandfather style. His work is a dedication to minimalist details and to tirelessly researching functionality and ergonomics. His ethos is to make my design simple and functional, yet play with forms. There is a clear delineation from the formal and a strong divergence into design that emanates clarity of purposeful design. Function being key. Measuring 190cms in height, the Tiuku Clock transforms the conventional structure of the grandfather clock into the ideal urban representation of utility and consistency. Comprised of powder-coated sheet steel, it is available in four colour variations where the piece requires that it is mounted to the wall, but still remains in a subtle leaning-type stance. Born in Finland, with a background in Spatial and Furniture Design from the University of Art and Design Helsinki, Kanerva established his own design studio in 2010. His main focus is furniture and product design and he also assists companies with product design. The Tiuku Clock is just one of his many beautiful love children. Photography courtesy of Ari Kanerva and available through Covo and Luminaire.
Tokyo-based design office id created a charming wooden garden, for coffee appreciation in its simplest form, for Café Ki. The ambient is a case study for tiny shops, affirming its visual identity through a strong concept and leaving unnecessary embellishments behind. The café consists of a large white canvas in which tables are organically supported by black branches; mimicking a patch of woods. It is worth noting that Ki means Tree in Japanese — the pictogram-like simplification is quite elegant and straightforward — no gimmicks here. The brand identity of Café Ki keeps it functional and affordable with smart stickers and simple print materials as tools for serving each customer’s coffee needs. Not only does the café offer a sharp visual distinctiveness, but I reckon, would make for a great brand to import as a franchise. An increasingly rare and satisfying equation: affordability + style.
The Tumble Lamp or Tuimelled is another remarkable table and floor lamp design by renowned Dutch industrial designer Aldo van den Nieuwelaar. Originally designed in 1968 and re-produced by Dutch lighting brand Boops, in his honour, the tumble lamp is comprised of powder coated aluminium, an LED warm white lamp, featuring dimmer control, and is available in black and white. On his design work, Aldo van den Nieuwelaar wrote: My challenge is the experimentation with geometrical forms, which can be traced back to the work of modern visual artists such as Donald Judd and Jan Schoonhoven. It is precisely this successful experimentation with geometry that makes Aldo’s work so wonderfully appealing to those of us who appreciate minimalism, leaving an everlasting legacy of geometric abstraction and simplicity in design.
You may not yet be familiar with designer Chadwick Bell, and although he has been showcasing his fashion at NYFW since 2008, he does seem to be a bit of a newcomer. Aimed at a mature, sophisticated audience, he spent the last six years refining his collection from fur and feathers to minimalist silhouettes, and a clear sportswear appeal. This makes the few journalists that have discovered his work, place him next to The Row or Organic by James. I love the structured, graphic layering of his remarkable Spring Summer 2015 collection. It is easy to identify with the image of a strong, but sensitive woman in effortless, but very distinct attire. There’s something really worldly about this woman. She isn’t just sitting all the time. She travels, she has collectibles… I like the idea of keepsakes. — style.com review The looks are deconstructed yet never random. Like Bell says: European tailoring mixed with a sense of American ease. Images curtesy of style.com.
From one of Japan’s luminaries of simplicity, Tokyo-based design studio Nendo, comes a delightfully ethereal furniture collection created for Italian company Desalto, known for their metal furniture. The wonder of the collection lies precisely in the fluid, light way the hard steel is worked, bent as naturally as if it were paper, as described by Nendo. By adding flipped, bent and wrapped details to metal sheets and rods, the ordinarily hard material gains new functionality and a light, flexible feel, as though the metal has become paper or cloth. The collection comprises three benches, a chair, a family of small tables, a coat rack and a family of wall shelves. Imagery courtesy of Desalto.
Monochromic, structural, and minimal can all be the words that describe Neil Barrett Spring Summer 2015. Based in Milan while born in England, Neil Barrett is one of the leaders in minimalist menswear. Contrasting the usual flowy silhouettes, the strong presence of shorts, and the thinness of outerwear, the designer rotated the whole collection 360 degrees with dark colors, boxy jackets, and many pullovers. The vibe of spring only shows itself through the breath of the exposed ankles, along with the occasional sunglasses. The only yellow piece of the collection perhaps was the reminder for the February sun, when the cold still lingers. Lining the dark fabrics are metallic zippers and buttons, giving definitions to the already-defined cuts and seams. Barrett’s reinterpretation of the season is both exciting and odd. Rather, it’s refreshing to not see floral prints or anything sheer. Although the designs might be deemed safe, it’s very understandable for the designer to hold his shows in Milan as the clothes are minimally wearable and undeniably classic. Photos Courtesy of Style.com
Viabizzuno founded in 1994 this year celebrates 20 years of life. Via Bizzuno is the name of the main road of the small village Bizzuno located in the province of Ravenna, Italy, where Mario Nanni — the founder — was born. In 2014 Viabizzuno continues the series Roy (Parete, Tavolo, Terra) — born two years ago — with Parete, a floor light fitting for indoor use in steel and aluminium painted nero royal or made in copper bronze brass. Roy Parete is made up of a head containing the light source, assembled on a metal arm with 8mm diameter that can rotate around the longitudinal axis by 180°, inserted on bracket size 120x60x20mm that is, in turn, fitted to a 240x120x10mm size steel plate. The head is wired with 6W 3000K diffused led light or with 3W 3000K led for the spot light, adjustable on two axes with a special brass hinge and a thin rod that allows easy and precise adjustment. The bracket fitted to the base houses a touch control switch to turn the light fitting on and off.
Taipei Apartment is a clean white apartment in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. The apartment was designed for a young couple by Tai & Architectural Design. The couple wanted a beautiful dwelling that didn’t require much renovation. The architects answered their request with a bright and causal living environment. Every surface of the apartment, from the floor to the ductwork in the ceiling, is painted white. The whiteness is intended to celebrate the purity of the space. The living room features a grey sofa, pastel-colored end tables, and a projector screen. Across the room is the dining area which includes a white table, wooden chairs, and built-in shelving. A wall of glass highlights the view of the city and opens to a small balcony. A narrow hallway leads to the bedroom and study. These rooms are furnished similar to the living room: white and wood furniture accented with soft colors. I love how such a simple design can express so much character. The white interior is the perfect backdrop for the residents’ colorful furniture and textiles. The stark interior allows these objects to pop and bring personality to the space. Taipei Apartment is sure to be a hit with the current and future occupants.
Tony Smith’s current exhibition Forms through Matthew Marks Gallery is a testament to his life’s work. The series of space-enveloping forms are striking, bold and minimal. Tony’s iconic, geometric metal forms actual emerged in tandem with the burgeoning minimalist scene, and this exhibition is a nod to this dedication. Responsible for more than fifty large-scale sculptures in the final two decades of this life, his work as a contemporary of American art still stands relevant and as beautiful as ever. His works, in particular, the curation of Forms, highlights how art can have a transformative ability; that through art and sculpture, spaces and architectures can be created and changed. Smith’s work is described as contributing to the idea of reductionism that lies at the heart of minimalism. And that contribution is to be celebrated. His estate is handled through Matthew Marks Gallery.
Swiss artist Zimoun, creator of exceptional minimalist sound installations, some of which you may already be familiar with, has recently introduced me to his latest work. As a collaboration with architect Hannes Zweifel, Zimoun installed 81 boxes between two levels of a room at the Mannheimer Kunstverein gallery in Germany. The boxes hang between floor and ceiling and can be seen from two different levels. 20 dc-motors are mounted and distributed along a handrail. When activated, they set the boxes in motion by means of thin nylon ropes connected vertically to the individual boxes, causing them to move with varying intensity and directions. Since the spaces between the boxes are small, the movement of one box affects neighbouring boxes, leading to a very complex overall performance of the suspension, which constantly changes and progresses. Zimoun explains: The collision of the boxes and the friction caused when they collide gives rise to a multitude of sounds and noises. The acoustic perspective changes as the viewer moves along the exhibition space and can be experienced in constantly new ways. Minimalist, ambient sound with wonderful visuals. Outstanding work. → Watch the 20 dc-motors, 81 cardboard boxes video