Minimalissimo


UK practice John Morgan Studio recently undertook the redesign of the prestigious London publication ArtReview, art directing and developing the design of each issue and special editions since September 2013 in an elegant, clean fashion. For the Future Greats issue, an annual special edition that that declares the artists to watch out for over the coming year, Morgan commissioned these whited-out portraits by photographers Luke and Nik, creating an experimental and disquieting set of covers that immediately catch the eye.


Once again, Jil Sander has left her own label after expelling Raf Simons from the house in 2012. For Autumn Winter 2014, the brand’s design team took over to produce a minimal collection that proves even without a creative director, a show can still carry on its identity without any compromises. The collective effort has created a new Jil girl that’s both tomboy and feminine. With her popped collars and bright creepers, she knows where she wants to go, and what she wants to do. The outerwear and the pants especially emphasizes this masculinity undertone, while the floral dresses totally contrast that. With a few tailoring twists here and there (literally), there is an additional newness to what is seemingly ordinary. The trend of pastels is apparent through a combination of soft colors applied onto vibrant textures, from the glossy finish to the interwoven feel of knitwear. Accessories were simplified to small bags and exactly one pair of sunglasses, which I found quirky and humorous. All these elements fused together to elevate the energy of youth with an elegant manner. Although there was no innovation, the ready-to-wear aspect was highly regarded and the collection was wearable at its finest. In...


REN is a beautiful laconic creation of Japanese studio Karimoku New Standard. Inspired by traditional Japanese seating, this chair has a square frame and a low backrest. Designers claim that this shape and the position of the back promote healthy posture. I love how well thought out the piece is. Each part of a wooden frame is assembled using the traditional Japanese woodwork technique tomegata sanmai tsugi, or Triple Tenon. This principle allows to achieve a sturdy construction without the use of toxic adhesives. REN comes in two different frame colours and offers three choices of upholstery – paper yarn, textile and leather.


South Korean artist Yoon Sol has produced a wonderful ceramic series titled From the Archetype, which involves layering porcelain in thin sheets to create different shapes. He writes: I work from a sphere to produce thin layers of bowl shaped elements with different diameters and heights. If these layers are placed one by one, small and big bowls can form an installation piece. From the Archetype tells a story of building up imperfection status through decomposition of a typical and perfect image, and of seeking the right pieces to complete my own pictorial puzzle. Here, Yoon Sol beautifully demonstrates the limitless of variation spawned from a single shape, resulting in a flawless collection of simple white ceramics that go beyond the aesthetics.


Nendo’s N Bottle is the perfect vessel for beloved sake label Nakata Hidetoshi. Conceived in 2003, its classic and timeless formality is as befitting and appropriate as ever. The cap is made by spinning aluminum into its tubular form on a lathe with the slightest of dimples set into the surface to aid the pouring process. Japanese and minimal, this piece embodies understated industrial design. The original brief requested a bottle that shields its contents from ultraviolet rays that also would explore a shape not ordinarily used for sake. Formally akin to a stick of charcoal, the resulting container is slick. N Bottle is made with Yamadanishiki and Aiyama rice varieties, making it an extremely high quality sake. The parent collaboration of great product and design, sees birth to N Bottle as a pillar in industrial design and brand alignment. Photography courtesy of Hiroshi Iwasaki.


At the beginning of the year, Sydney based fashion brand, Uniform Studios (UNIF.M), announced their Autumn/Winter 2014 collection containing remarkably simple, stylish and undoubtedly sought after designs for both men and women. Like many simple, minimalist garments, it is the fabric and the details that make a design successful. Here, UNIF.M have carefully considered their fabrics, sticking to the classics — wool, silk, cotton, leather — fabrics of quality and wearability. There’s minimalism, elegance and a casual feel to this range that I really do appreciate. UNIF.M explains: We see this collection as an extension of our previous ranges. We don’t really like to limit our designs by one particular story or mood. We focus on each garment individually and tend to be item-driven. It’s the small details that may not be noticeable at first that make each garment loveable to us. We care deeply about the details. Photography by Bowen Aricò.


This residence on an irregular site located in Islington, London is designed by Atelier ChanChan. The complete demolition of the previous building allowed the designer to instill her own design language into the facade of the house, a Herringbone brick pattern. Brick, being the material that is familiar to the context yet in a pattern that is seldom used on the exteriors. The warmth from the materials used both inside and out of this house exudes the comfort in its minimalism. The stunning detail of the floating staircase brings much light through the interiors; the sliding doors that provide a frameless opening to the courtyard; the walls in the bedroom that extends to the pitch of the roof – the architecture connects the spaces in an elegant and subtle manner that exemplifies understated, minimalist design. Photos via Atelier ChanChan and Dezeen.


Recently opened to the public is the Infinity Bamboo Forest, a spectacular passage in a public annex building located in Wuxi, China. The installation is a reference to the traditional Japanese culture with its characteristic bamboo forests, and from the beginning experienced limitations of space, time and budget. So the result cannot be more magnificent, developing a passage of twenty meters as an infinity bamboo forest essentially using a combination of light and mirrors. The design of the installation was conceived by Prism Design, a Shanghai-based architecture and design studio, founded in 2009 by Tomohiro Katsuki.


In February Noon Studio launched their latest iternation of the steel stool we have featured in the past. I did like the previous edition, the simple construction and use of honest materials, but I like the latest iternation even better. The founders of Noon Studio, Gautier Pelegron and Vincent Taiani, have worked on a few important details in the construction and decided to powder coat paint the high grade steel sheet. I love the contrast of the oiled European ash and the black steel. Pelegron and Taiani say the stool is influenced by traditional English craftsmanship and Provencal (southeastern France) rawness. The stool tries to express the direct simplicity found in real traditional antique Provencal furniture and the know-how of British craftsmanship which still holds today. The stool is not just a stool. One can easliy use it as a side or coffee table, book holder or shelving system.


Multerim is a polished minimal timer app, recently released by Evan Gulyas. It is designed for the multitasker and is useful to someone who has to juggle several deadlines at a time. The sleek intuitive interface allows you to set and name multiple timers. It required a bit of a learning curve, but once you have figured out the principle, it is very easy to set up, name, adjust and start up to six different timers. The time is arranged vertically, the upper squares give you hours, the middle ones – minutes, and the bottom ones – seconds. Swipe any square to set up a timer, tap with two fingers to start it, tap and drag to give it a name. And to reset everything, just swipe across the screen with two fingers. A good-looking app with the clear purpose.


Contrasted against the sunny, arid landscape in Portugal is the House in Quinta Do Carvalheiro. The home is designed by Italian based firm Giorgio Santagostino and Monica Margarido, also known as GSMM Architects. The form of the residence is directly related to the topography of the site. The structure is kept small so as to limit human intervention in the landscape. All of the rooms are arranged around a central patio. This patio connects the home to the outdoors without expanding the structure’s rectangular footprint. Large windows embrace the exterior while opaque walls protect the home from overheating at the sunniest points. I love how the house sits low on the horizon. At certain angles the landscape appears about to engulf the residence and pull it back into the ground. House in Quinta Do Carvalheiro achieves a perfect balance of man and nature. Photographs by FG + SG Fotografia de Arquitectura.


Marco Guazzini’s Tre bien umbrella stand stands as a pillar of beautiful minimalism. His philosophy is based on a sensorial contact with the matter and the beginning of things generating emotion. For him, the emphasis is to design to return processed experiences. He plays with a combination of shapes, feelings, sensations, details, memories, lights, suggestions, colors and gestures. Born in Florence, but now based out of Milan, Guazzini is focused on being utilitarian and simplistically beautiful. Tre bien is an umbrella stand designed to accommodate both large and small umbrellas. Structurally, this item inspired by three radial elements, stemming from a central spine. The piece is also fitted with a powder-coated metal tray at the bottom to capture the moisture present. This piece hints geometrically at something really interesting, and fits its brief quite suitably of being functional and fearless. Photography courtesy of Beppe Brancato.