SIMON&ME is located in a small store, founded by Simon Freund, in Kreuzberg, Berlin where they sell selected menswear and hand picked selected goods. One of their goods is this beautifully minimalist copper bracelet. Produced in Munich by a blacksmith, the bracelet has an understated elegance. It is void of any logo, embellishment or detailing other than formed during the forging process. Over time the shine will fade giving the bracelet its unique color. We believe that there is nothing greater than the satisfaction of possessing a cherished piece that simply lasts; and knowing that the product you are holding is made from craftsmanship and passion. Last weekend I had the pleasure to visit SIMON&ME in their store and have a look at the products. The bracelet is a simple, beautiful, jewellery piece that will last for years and will endure seasonal trends. A perfect gift for someone special.
Roll is a recent minimalist creation of French designer Ferréol Babin. The T-shaped object combines in itself a well thought-out functional idea with visual simplicity. The piece is composed of two independent yet complementary elements. The tube with the lighting source fits on the base. Thanks to the rotational motion, you can adjust the light, going from an indirect and soft one, to a direct light perfect for reading or working. I also love how portable Roll is. You can easily take it apart for storage and transportation. The transformer is hidden inside the hollow body of the lamp, which is another beautiful touch.
Standing in a row of traditional townhouses is the long and narrow House in Lisbon. Designed by ARX Portugal, this modern beauty is comprised of two main materials: limestone and concrete. The front facade is enveloped in limestone, one of the most common materials used in Lisbon. The limestone is set in a modern design yet still links the home with its conventional neighbors. The rear of the house focuses on the outdoors: giant windows and several balconies overlook a secluded backyard garden. Almost the entire interior of the house is made of raw concrete. This material twists and turns to define the walls, floors, stairs, and furniture. The house is arranged with the public areas on the lower floors and the more private rooms above. An outdoor refuge is located on the roof: limestone walls hide the user from the street below while a lone tree brings life to the space. Overall, House in Lisbon is a lovely design which uses simple materials to create a harmonious space.
Jeroen van Leur’s Woodstock Wardrobe is a lightweight and mobile furniture collection. The robe system is designed and inspired by the construction apparatus and mechanisms of traditional tent poles. The system comes disassembled in a tent-like travel bag, with each component separated and articulated for an interior purposed aesthetic. Essentially this is a modular system, which can further be customized with a variety of colours and finishes available. The system combines wooden sticks and copper connection parts and is available in three differing sizes. The primary idea of the Woodstock Wardrobe is to exhibit your favoured pieces, instead of hiding them in the traditional robe scenario. Woodstock is about pieces for the urban nomad. Only requiring a wall to lean on, the lines and minimal everything about this piece, make it an easy, and easily transportable addition to any collection. Photography courtesy of Jeroen van Leur.
Two designers, Starr Hout and Laura Cramer set out on a trip to explore the austere texan west. Inspired by the beautiful but harsh landscape they decided to found a clothing label called Apiece Apart. Back in their home town of New York they go to work designing a collection of simplified, impeccable garments. The idea is that it could be packed into a single bag and mixed and matched to fit any occasion or scene you might find yourself in. Starr Hout, one half of A Piece Apart, explains: I will go hiking in Apiece Apart, and I love that. I think that is just so cool, and I wonder why more people don’t hike in silk and linen. Upon examining the beautiful, well chosen fabrics and the chic but simple shapes of the A/W 13 collection, the suggestion seems all the more tempting. I adore the way Hout and Cramer fit color into the winter concept. Color is mainly used to emphasize the shapes and the high quality of fabrics. It is not ornamental, but used as a shade of light to sculpt the silhouette. Just like the texan landscape is mainly structured by light and shadow.
San Francisco based audio accessories brand Native Union, strive to bring communication back to how it should be: simple and enjoyable. With this in mind, they have designed the award winning Switch – a compact, lightweight, and portable Bluetooth speaker. It pairs to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with wireless ease, letting you listen to all your audio with unmatched sound and quality. The name Switch derives from its ability to play audio effectively in both a vertical and horizontal position. Aside from its sound quality, it’s the beautifully minimalist box design that has me particularly impressed. The speaker’s rubber exterior encases all sides of the box except the metal speaker screen. The exterior also features the Native Union logo, which unfortunately is its only aesthetic flaw. I would have preferred a more subtle (same colour) engraving. However, an intuitive volume wheel inspired by hi-fi audio systems is convenient to use, regardless of the speaker’s position. Switch comes in a variety of colours and is available on both the Native Union and the Apple stores. Images courtesy of Apple.
The office of Pasel Kuenzel Architects has recently completed this project, Urban Villa, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In an almost utilitarian language, the residence is designed as stark and minimalist while the exterior and the details of the construction tell the story of what the house is about. The large 3300sf house is made of up 2 intersecting volumes – a horizontal for living spaces and a vertical for the more private office, bedrooms and a roof terrace. Using white painted raw timber boards made of Douglas fir that clad the exterior, the architects included large windows with black frames to punctuate the facade. The clean detailing of both the interior and exterior makes this project extremely elegant. My favorite part of this architecture is that all the white floors, ceilings and walls seamlessly define the space, leaving the texture of the exterior walls and grounds to reflect back through the large window walls, further emphasizing the personality of the building. Photography by Marcel van der Burg.
My wire sculptures tell stories of simple human moments: a woman adjusting her hair, a face gazing from behind tightly wrapped arms, a mother gently cradling her baby. The honest, unguarded moments are the ones that I find to be the most beautiful. Simple human moments executed in a simple and poignant physical form, Zimbabwe-born Gavin Worth‘s wire sculptures are mesmerizing in their beautiful frugality. By bending black wire into free-standing life drawings, he creates sculptures that engage the viewer in their subtle changes – when the light in the room shifts, so does the mood of the piece. Worth is a self-taught artist, having cultivated a lifelong passion for drawing, painting, and sculpture. He worked for nearly a decade in San Francisco as an actor and musician before moving to Cairo, Egypt to teach at the American International School.
Industrial designer Lorenzo Buffa recently launched a Kickstarter for his newest project – the Carpenter Collection. Carpenter is a series of watches that varies in materials that have flexible wooden straps. Yes, you can indeed bend it! Carpenter is a part of a grander brand that Lorenzo himself founded – Analog Watch Co., with the intention of bringing a little bit of nature into daily lives. The collection consists of different types of woods like bamboo and maple with the integration of leather free loops . The contrast between the metal watch hands and the wooden case is beautifully subtle. I’m a sucker for big watches, especially big wooden watches; they are timeless and unique. The design is minimal and efficient. If you are interested, the designer wouldn’t mind a little support. Meanwhile, I will continue fawning over the silverheart and maple design.
Cords and cables are notorious destroyers of visual peace and laconic beauty in minimalist designs. That is why it is so unusual to see a minimalist idea sprang from a humble cord and not much else. Petrus Palmér Jonas Pettersson and John Löfgren of Swedish studio Form Us With Love created the Cord Lamp for the brand Design House Stockholm. A textile cord is merged with a steel tube, holding aloft an oversized globe bulb. Here is how designers describe the concept: You can let it irritate you, break your neck tripping over it, or you can surrender, hide it behind the skirting board or press it into a groove. But it’s smarter to make friends with the enemy. Cord Lamp turns the cursed flex into a simple eye-catcher. If there’s any message to a lamp, just for the fun of it, what about ‘make peace not war’. I love how delicate the piece looks. A simple cord and a simple bulb, just by being made a focal point, appear quite exquisite.
Bitten House derives its name from the four “bites” in each corner. What started as a simple cube has been carved away to create openings in the north, south, east and west. The “bites” allow for a covered entrance and back patio, as well as the decks on the second story. Anau estudi d’arquitectura designed the home with privacy and connectivity in mind. The rough concrete exterior creates a quiet, intimate interior, while the openings allow the home to embrace the surrounding environment rather than guard against it. The carving away of space is a design technique not seen enough in architecture; many designs are focused on the addition of form and material. Bitten House is a lovely dwelling which embraces this simple and effective approach to design.
Stockholm-based designers Superfront bring a fresh approach to the customization of accessible cabinetry design. Their collection is conceived on the possibility to create high quality furniture at a sensible price. There is an emphasis on affordable design that bridges the gap of accessibility to the masses. I have a great deal of respect for this philosophy. The concept is simple; their pieces (cabinet fronts, legs and handles) are all interchangeable with current Ikea stock. Based on using the standard Ikea components as a basis for the cabinetry, clients are able to create pieces that have a greater and diversified sense of individuality. All pieces are minimal in their design aesthetic, and therefore also align with the classic lines of a broader audience with little influence from trending. We design furniture based on a well-established foundation, a concept that allows our furniture to fall into a completely different price category compared to any equivalent. This collection and its concept are worth a look. Photography courtesy of Superfront.