Minimalissimo


The Cozy House, located in a populated residential area of Japan’s Shiga prefecture is an interesting and strategic architectural project developed by Japanese architect Kouichi Kimura, founder of local firm FORM. This beautiful grey house is built on one of the small sites crowded with houses and surrounded by narrow roads. With these conditions, the architect designed a compact house that includes enriched inner spaces with strategically placed windows to create privacy for residents. A great solution. In small houses I like to see custom furniture that delimits and emphasises the space throughout. In Cozy House, furniture is integrated into the architecture, including a padded bench set into the back of the balustrade. A long concrete bench runs along the front of the dark wooden wall, providing a storage area. These solutions make the project very elegant and functional. The architect explains: The comfortableness, which is produced by the small space and would hardly be realised by a broad space, was my major fascination of this house. A small and intimate house with a beautiful simplicity. Photography courtesy of Kimikazu Tomizawa.


This Nendo designed chocolate shop is located in a small storefront plot in Tokyo’s Ginza District. The illustrious Nendo created this shop for the Belgian chocolatiers BbyB, who describe their treats as “haute couture chocolate.” It is only fitting that the BbyB Ginza store be held to the same high standard as the products sold in it. The long and narrow shop is cut in half by a central glass case equipped with rows of drawers to hold the chocolate bars. This glass case lets the colorful packaging of BbyB’s product to take center stage. Nendo designed each flavor to be displayed in its own glass case, with the drawers of the product installed directly behind. This warrants the user to browse the sweets at ease, opening each drawer in search of the perfect treat. The chocolate bar design, printed in white, is displayed on the walls behind the glass case. White marble floor tiles and recessed lighting allow the physicality of the store to melt away, so the customer is only focused on the delicious chocolates in front of them. A cafe is located in the back of the shop and follows a similar design as the front. The glass display case becomes...


Ando Corporation’s Rooms project is a submerged Japanese house set into hillside, peaking out over the ocean. This minimalist series of volumes that all seem to play cooperatively together in the landscape, are a stark and beautiful contrast to the coastal terrain. At nearing 290 sqm, Rooms is a modest nod to the Japanese lifestyle; discreet, contained and respectful. Each volume of white plaster seems to come together seamlessly through a series of walkways and terraces, to create this unassuming sanctuary, nestled in the sloping elevation. The site’s location is optimally primed to maximize on the incredible Pacific Oceanic aspect. Fenestration is purposely restrained to not be full-height, to frame views and to leave some of the unknown, unknown. Set in Wakayama, Japan the clean white plastered forms contrast the natural site, while playful formal landscape geometry engages in nuances and details throughout. Rooms is the epitome of what residential dwellings should aspire to be, a sanctuary; a closing of the door to the chaos, and an opening to the beyond (in this case, the limitlessness of the ocean beyond). Ando Corporation has created an incredible example of reflective architecture, celebrating minimalism. Photography courtesy of Kimikazu Tomizawa.


In the last few years alternative ingredients brought forward a new wave of products to counter balance the dominance of dairy products on the market. That’s where almond milk steps in as one of the most interesting choices to join in on the soy, rice and coconut food revolution. UK-based The Pressery stands bravely on retail with its elegant and understated presence. Graphic designer Tim Jarvis was comissioned to create a brand identity that translates the purity of the product in hand meticulously. The serif-clad typography is often used to translate classic and old-timey persona, the opposite of what minimalism stands for with its modern and often geometric embodiment. A simple logo goes a long way, and in this case it is a pleasure to see absolute clarity above all else on this range of products. The collection of assorted flavours are given plenty of space to shine, the emblematic milk bottle exposes each colour shamelessly; may it be the cacao, berry, turmeric or the classic plain-almond. A wall of anonymous and saturated logos is the worst enemy for brand recognition, clearly The Pressery doesn’t need to worry about that.


Hamburg-based label Nebel has created a label that is principled on a versatile and minimalist style for both men and women. Founded by Daniel Bartels and his girlfriend Hanna Lundvall, the idea of the brand is to possess the appeal to both sexes, a style that is unisex, neutral and timeless, one that can be shared in a relationship. Buy less, Share well as their motto goes, the result is a palette that identifies as an urban, avant-garde aesthetic as the pieces take on a different characteristic when worn by the different sexes. Large pullovers can transform more femininely as tunics; layers are draped and folded in various ways because of the differing physical proportions of the sexes, yet they are neutral enough to allow the wearer to express their individuality within the blurred lines of this unisex style. Like its name which means fog in German, Nebel has undefined the need specificity and achieved versatility as a style.


Inspired by East Londoners’ pastel-hued hairstyles and boasting a 30-year heritage of traditional British manufacturing, accessories brand Ally Capellino‘s SS15 collection features a rose-tinted collection of rucksacks, satchels and bike-bags in ice cream shades and pastel hues, with every design constructed using waxed cotton and Italian veg-tanned leather. Photographed by Agnes Lloyd Platt with styling by Aurelia Donaldson, make-up by Sky Cripps-Jackson and hair colouring by Olivia Crighton of Glasshouse Salon, the lookbook materializes a beautifully simple idea brought to life by colour-blocking, elegant set design and flawless execution.


Fit Pack is a stylish, functional and minimalist gym/work bag designed and created by Aer from the San Fransico Bay Area. Fit Pack is a versatile backpack that you take with you to the office, gym and everywhere in between. We aim to create products that balance a clean, architectural aesthetic with smart functionality. The design is smart: distinct gym and work compartments keep your gear organized and protected. The front-load main compartment gives easy access to store your gym gear. A smaller separate compartment, lined with a moisture resistant polyester, gives space to store shoes or dirty clothes. But the 19L volume backpack has more to offer. The back compartment gives storage for office tools and accessories. The padded laptop pocket in the same compartment fits up to a 15″ MacBook Pro. Your personal items are always within reach with the quick access pocket on the top. The exterior is made of heathered polyester. This water repellent layer keeps your gear dry and protected. The stylish and minimalist appearance makes that the backpack is suitable for many occasions. Take it with you to the office and afterwards to the athletics track for a training. I think you can also...


The Headquarters Building at Science Park at the University of the Basque Country, located next to the University Campus of Leioa, Spain, is a fantastic architectural project developed by ACXT. The building was conceived for being an innovative space to link the business world to the university and students, attracting new companies based on knowledge and technological research. A particularly notable feature of the building is its spectacular north and south façade composed of a double skin, an inside curtain wall and a expanded metal skin outside, with a gateway for maintenance between them. In spite of this, the predominantly white interior is a bright and wonderfully minimalistic space throughout.


Sarah Oppenheimer is challenging the distinction between art and architecture with a unique collection of windows and wall openings. Using wall incisions and glass as her mediums, Oppenheimer blurs the line between room and painting. From 2012 to present, Oppenheimer’s work has been featured in the PPOW Gallery in New York City, as well as in Kunsthaus Baselland and Von Bartha Garage in Switzerland. While each piece is unique in its form and location, they all bear striking similarities. Glass and black aluminum jut from the walls in a playful geometry. Each opening looks different from various angles and distances. These pieces play with the mind as they distort the structural components of the room and challenge our perception of size and space. The use of glass and cut-outs invites the user to interact with the work by looking out a window or passing through a doorway. In this sense Oppenheimer’s series is firmly rooted in architecture, as we rarely get the chance to interact with art in this way. Yet it is impossible not to relate the aesthetic of these pieces to the oversized cubist paintings of artists past and present. These gorgeous designs are architecture, painting, and sculpture all at once; a combination...


Swedish designer Malin Henningsson brings a minimal curation of brass lines, marble and perspex. Founded in 2013, Henningsson’s jewelry collection brings together a curiosity in form, through materiality and line work. The combination of the natural, untamed and unaltered marble pieces with the smooth lines of the gold-plated brass elements, sees a collection of necklaces, bracelets and rings that adorn with an inquisitiveness. Described as wearable sculpture, the basis of this Collection is to express a devotion to craftsmanship with a renewal as key. The basis of the design is shaped around utilizing and pushing boundaries with regard to shape and the way in which materials are incorporated and combined. Hand-crafted in Stockholm, this collection is an ode to traditional formwork, but contrasts with the composition of its elements. Henningsson is one to watch. Photography courtesy of Malin Henningsson.


Located in Abiko, part of Chiba prefecture, stands a fractal-like structure completely alien to its surrounding premises. A modern and futuristic white residential building, designed by Japanese architecture firm fuse-atelier, graces the neighborhood with a sense of drama and originality. The building boasts beautiful large glass panels on both extremities, albeit hiding inside a striking concrete monocoque and panels from passers-by. The living room sets the tone for the rest of the house, an obligatory passage way and link throughout every ambient. It’s interesting to note the modular-like quality the project defines every function, from the kitchen to the bedrooms. The sense of perception and depth is toyed with on this modernist project, presenting an aesthetic parallel to German Expressionists set designs in movies. The theatrical strength of the concrete walls are clear, with unusual angles and shadows drawn all through the day. The gallery stands tall and absolute as a firm minimalist presence, even if future owners take the interior design to a rustic or traditional style. It sets the mind at ease knowing the owners are more than satisfied with sharp contemporary design to furnish it. This house is in good hands. Photography by Shigeru Fuse.


London based design duo BARBARA ALAN highly values research and experimentation in their approach towards design. Their aim is to reduce every piece to its very essentials, while still paying close attention to detail. For Spring / Summer 2015 it is all about juxtaposing lengths, new structures and floating silhouettes. While shapes are cut in geometric patterns, the free flowing, sometimes transparent fabrics add a soft touch to the summery layering. It is a pleasure to dive into the modernist world of BARBARA ALAN designs, where sculptural cutlines and a laid-back attitude are no contradiction. My favorite detail is the clean and pure stitch-free hemline finish, made possible by a high-tech bonding technique. All in all, a perfect collection to build a long-lasting, pure and modern wardrobe upon.