Minimalissimo


Naples based Italian photographer Salvatore Pastore recently drew my attention when I was introduced to his strikingly minimal and monochromatic Blank series. The work comprises 11 black and white images featuring exterior and interior shots of various buildings. It concerns the blank not as an empty space, but as the feeling of disorientation in the spectator staring at these images. Blurring the lines between the real world and the virtual world. Are they digital creations, photographs or what? Furthermore, this disoriented observation is slowly guided by slightly and purposely imperfect geometries and only at the end — when viewing the final image — do we understand and realise that we are looking at photographs and nothing else. Compelling minimalism that has been beautifully captured. I’m excited to see what Pastore produces in the future.


New York based fashion designer Melitta Baumeister just made her second big impact after graduating from Parsons MFA Fashion course with her critically acclaimed White Collection. Despite the pressure of delivering a collection as good — or even better — than its precursor, Baumeister stayed true to herself and to the recognizable collaboration with her creative partner, photographer Paul Jung. The Spring Summer 2015 collection is a full-on, positively surprising exploration of new forms, materials and silhouettes. In fashion it is rare that one can honestly say: This work is unique. For Melitta Baumeister and Paul Jung, it is simply true. The color palette is broadened from monochrome white to include black and a very light nude. But as to be expected with Baumeisters signature style, the collection is much more about the extraordinary surfaces, shapes and production methods than it is about colors. I am stunned by Melitta Baumeisters abilty to create a collection that is so avant-garde while never loosing track of the right proportions and the perfect wrapping of the female body. While cuffs, volumes or drapings are sensibly exaggerated, the balance is always maintained by an hourglass outline, huge transparent areas or downright feminine silhouettes. It seems...


Lebanon-based architect Paul Kaloustian took advantage of the height a dense pine tree forest offers, and opted to invert the thumb-rule of broad and horizontal modernism. Designing a residential house infused with a courageous vertical visual identity; often found in museums and university campuses. Taking concrete and applying an interesting curve was vital to inject an unusual shadow play and amplitude of the surrounding woods into the domestic area, such a manoeuvre is often let in the sole hands of wide glass façades. Kaloustian sets this project apart, daring to narrow each room and let the focus be the height feature and achieve an unexpected sense of openness considering the size of each area. Two extra elements are worthy of mention: the interior design selection with raw wood material and an explicit minimalist intention; as well as the very competent and alluring photography of said project, it is an achievement in itself as well. A clear example of what contemporary architecture can achieve deconstructing old-school modernism with maturity and an authentic visual statement.


Not everyone is familiar with the name Gabriele Colangelo. However, that might change soon with the current rise of this Milan-based designer. Colangelo started his career designing for Versace and Cavalli. With that background, we would expect his namesake label to be just as maximal as his previous mentors. However, it’s rather the complete opposite; lying under each and every design of his is a sense of minimalism that directly ties with maturity and luxury. His most recent collection for Fall Winter 2015 proves that just right. If there was anything maximal about Colangelo, it would be the cuts of his garments. The forms were so complex with twists, drapes, and slits, that we started to question the deconstruction of each look. While the colors stay true with a minimalist essence (such as navy, white, and ivory), fuchsia acted as a device to glue the whole collection together as one cohesive story. There is a kind of elegance in the way circular metal ornaments hold the clothes’ structures together. The neck pieces are also a delightful addition that I adore so much. Overall, it was a show that challenged minimalist fashion, especially in the setting of Milan Fashion Week, much...


Israeli architecture studio Pitsou Kedem continue to impress with this 700mq family home completed in 2014. The White Gallery House is a private residence situated in a white box with large windows as decorative elements and a large open space that seems a lot like an art gallery. Vertical lines open like geometric slashes connecting the house to its surroundings, to the garden and to the long and narrow swimming pool that stems from inside the house. The openings make it possible to look out into the surrounding environment if you are inside, or look into the house if you are outside. They allow natural light to penetrate the structure or artificial lighting to seep out into the surroundings during the hours of darkness. These vertical openings also serve as a reminder of a modern stilt house when you see them from the outside through the surrounding trees. Photography courtesy of Pitsou Kedem.


Prazeres, or Pleasures, rests on an unassuming street in the Alcântara district of Portugal. From the exterior, this home looks very similar to its traditionally designed neighbors. On the interior, however, José Adrião Arquitectos transformed the home into a bright and airy paradise. For many years this building was allowed to fall into disrepair. When renovations began its interior was in danger of collapsing, forcing the architects to replace the floors with three slabs of concrete. The new floors divide the building into two main areas: a functional core, for utilities and bathrooms, and open space for the living areas. One of my favorite features of Prazeres is the rooftop terrace. This space is smartly designed as an extension of the interior living spaces, forming a casual environment that can be used all year long. Overall, Prazeres is a gorgeous renovated structure that any family would be happy to call home. Photography by Fernando Guerra FG + SG.


Dish 60 by Minimalux is a seductive and sophisticated gesture to the professional desktop. Amid the gadgets of interconnectedness, this piece sits as a sculptural nuance. Made with a stainless steel base and from solid brass, mirror polished by hand and electroplated in black nickel, this bowl is beautifully crafted. Also available in a plain, non-plated brass finish, this 60mm x 30mm piece is available through Leibal. The Liebal Store is a place of curated items focused on quality, minimalism and functionality. Dish 60 is no exception. Photography courtesy of Liebal Store.


Kristalia, an Italian furniture design studio, has designed a new version of the stunning Thin-K table, introducing the minimalistic Thin-K Longo Outdoor table. It features a top that is not only very thin but also considerably long: almost 3 metres. Kristalia wanted to create an extremely long top reaching a truly impressive length while maintaining perfect linearity and sturdiness. To achieve this result, the legs and the under-top frame have been strengthened, but these details have been concealed. In order to perfectly finish tops of 120cm x 295cm dimensions, an ad hoc procedure has been developed, in which the under-top frame acts as a support during the lacquering stage — this is carried out using epoxy powders that are UV-ray resistant and weatherproof. The aluminium top is available in a choice of coloured lacquers, or in European oak or black oak wood veneer with a brushed finish that highlights its natural grain. Thin-K Longo is almost entirely made of aluminium, with the addition of a few steel components. Remarkable work.


Strong architectural shapes and sculptural silhouettes take the lead in LA-based designer Jasmin Shokrian‘s Spring Ready-to-Wear 2015 collection. Since she started her eponymous fashion label in 2003, Shokrian’s collections have been articulated with a strong emphasis on craft and detail. With a background in film, painting and sculpture from the School of Art Institute in Chicago and influenced by her mother who is a professional tailor, Shokrian’s designs exhibits her own talent for tailoring and draping material into beautiful architectural curves and forms. Silk faille dresses and tops are suspended by thin straps which add dimension that exudes femininity in the resulting flow and drape of the piece. Sharp Vs are explored across multiple depths in necklines, back lines and even in an overlapping tunic. Large, soft block-coloured totes made of mesh and canvas punctuate the clothes with a contrast of colour and form, adding yet another detail of interest to this minimalist collection which could appear deceptively simple at first glance. I also love the fact that hems of shorts and shirt dresses are also included in the strong geometry played subtly, culminating the attention to sculptural detail that Shokrian is most experienced in. Photography courtesy of Style.com.


Enthusiastically handcrafted in southern Germany, VOR‘s A1 Reinweiß shoes are the epitome of the company’s timeless, minimalist ethos – going through incredible effort to eliminate details and be identified more by its refined appearance than any impactful presentation. Passionate about perfectionism, premium substance and the finest possible execution, VOR believe that handcrafted items are an expression of the modern consumer’s demands regarding a product’s origins and are solely made of best genuine full grain leathers and premium leather linings, proudly creating pieces that are unique and have their own individual characteristics and natural beauty.


Scales is a minimalist range of ceramic tiles that generate unexpected reflections. Neon colors are used along two rear sides of the smooth white glazed tiles. The individual tiles, arranged as fish scales, irradiate a colorful glow over the adjacent tiles. The 12x12cm square tiles, made in Spain, are available in eight different colors and one can create multiple compositions. We seek to imitate the feeling of vibrating movement transmitted by the sheeny skin of fishes when they ripple under water. Scales is a project between Alberto Sánchez, founder of Valencia based design studio Mut design, and Peronda, ceramic manufacturer for over half a century. What I particularly like about Scales is that you can make your tiled wall really stand out. You can easily create a colorful composition without it being too dominant in your space. Photography by Asier Rua and Designboom.


Squared is an education initiative developed by Google and its new identity has a curious story, because it was developed by the young London-based multidisciplinary designer Jack Morgan, after he published his conceptual redesign on his site, catching the attention of Google. I was fortunate enough to discover Squared when it was first introduced and instantly identified with their vision and way of doing things. However, I had always felt that their branding was severely lacking. It wasn’t congruent with their can-do attitude and innovative teaching methods. So Morgan worked on a full rebranding from concept to reality, producing a modern, minimal and instantly understandable new logo with Google’s design philosophy in mind: simple, abstract and colourful with a geeky undertone. The logo also has various references: the brackets of the old logo, playful hand signs like a frame made by the Squared students when posing for pictures together, and, obviously, the initial “S” of Square.