Montreal-based furniture designer, Mitz Takahashi, created a pencil stand named “Writer’s Block”. The stand is handmade from recycled/offcuts wood in Montreal – Canada. Takahaski uses a combination of pine, walnut, mahogany and birch. Beautiful woods finished with Danish oil and water-based varethane. Each stand is a unique piece. The collection of Takahashi with mid-century feel ranges from lightning to furniture and desk accessory.
Japanese company Muji has recently unveiled MJBTS-1, a new wall-mounted Bluetooth speaker. This good-looking piece is a redesign of the classic CD-player by Naoto Fukusawa. While adhering to the same minimalist aesthetic as the original, the new product is much more timely, as far as technology is concerned. It can be controlled by any Bluetooth-enabled device, like smartphone or a tablet, as well as a traditional remote. A built-in FM radio is another technological perk of the piece. Designers purposely kept the shape of the MJBTS-1 similar to its predecessor, which took its inspiration from a humble kitchen fan. Perhaps not as metaphoric as the original design with its rotating CD, the unit still hints on that same idea. And just like Fukusawa’s classic it can be turned on and off by pulling the cord.
The Sundial House gets its name from its orientation and design: the home faces the south and blocks the sun, creating a shadow that moves slowly throughout the day and changes with each season. Designed by Hironaka Ogawa and Associates, this Japanese home reflects the lifestyle of a farmer. The shadows cast by the home and the home’s connection to the surrounding fields reflect the changes of the seasons. The home feels different in winter, spring, summer, and fall. The Sundial House feels different in every season due to the way the structure interacts with the sun and landscape. In this way the seasons become part of the design of the home. This is a lovely approach to minimalist design: the home draws its characteristics from the natural environment, which is not built, rather than the built environment. What a great concept!
Taizo Kuroda’s pure white Ceramics collection is an inspired by-product of his close relationship with fellow Japanese artisans; architect Tadao Ando, designer Issay Miyake and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. They share the same sure discipline and taste in editing out all that is unnecessary. I am in awe, and filled with jealousy, of this association with such a collective muse. Ando describes Taizo Kuroda’s aesthetic, and dedication to pure white, to reflect the colour of his spirit in the unceasing pursuit of truth. I have an immense appreciation for the subtlety of this truth, and the beauty in the un-ornate. I find this bare-ness creates a sense of illumination in the materiality of the ceramic itself. The colour is described as a warm, milky white – something akin to that of Greek island houses seen in the Cycladic light of late afternoon – a magical colour that makes his ceramic wares seem to softly glow. I couldn’t agree more. The Ceramics collection is a fusion of forms that depart radically from the cold, technically perfect, moulded porcelains associated with Arita, Kakiemon and Nadeshima; the result being an almost accident of perfectly fused shapes and sharp considered lines. These embody the beauty...
Belgian interior architect Luc Ramael, who’s no frills design work of furniture and lighting objects spans over thirty years. He designed this wonderful Biluna floor lamp in 2008 for Italian interior lighting brand, Prandina. The lamp, which has been produced in three versions – F5, F7 and F9 – all of varying sizes, comprises painted polypropylene outer diffuser, opal white thermoformed methacrylate inner diffuser, electronic ballast, and a transparent methacrylate support ring. The smooth, simple form, appearing almost as if it were hovering above the floor, along with the size options to accommodate different spaces, makes Ramael’s design an incredibly attractive interior feature. Biluna is available in matt sand, matt or glossy white and matt or glossy black. It is also available with a foot controlled power cord dimmer. Stunning.
Sitio Da Leziria is a former mews located in the highly agricultural region Alcácer do Sal of Portugal, which has now been redesigned into a contemporary residence by the architects Atelier Data. The project conserves the significance of the horse stable typography: the ‘horse path’ as an axis and for circulation; service walls that once provided sustenance for the horses now hold the modern day services of bathrooms and closets – and translates it into with minimalist architectural details and aesthetic. I appreciate Atelier Data’s sensibilities in approaching the project: The conversion of the mews into housing, gave us the opportunity to think about domestic space and also to test the way that people can inhabit again ancient rural areas. This project is the result of the first phase of a wide strategy that aims to revive an old agricultural land, combining new agricultural techniques with a new way of living. I love the fact that they decided to use resistant and affordable materials as well as that fit both the logic of the modern usage of the building and the old mews, preserving the vernacular architecture as well as the details such as inviting the artist João Mouro to create the...
Young Frankk is a jewelry line launched in 2011 by Virginia-based US artist turned jewelry designer, Christine Young, drawing inspiration from simple and minimal designs, yet infused with bold graphic, geometric, and even organic shapes. As a graduate of Parsons School of Design for Illustration, she incorporates her drawing experience into her designs by translating line work onto metal. Every piece is made by hand by the designer, creating one-of-a-kind and unique pieces. I’ve always enjoyed the simplicity, minimalism and geometric quality of Young Frankk’s lookbooks. Every piece has a boldness and completeness to it, like a story being told with each one.
Chris Packer exhibited a series of paintings titled ‘The Planes’ for Factory 49 in February in what’s known as the ‘Office Space’; for the same duration, I exhibited a new project in the ‘Showroom’. The paintings were white canvases with cotton tape arranged geometrically across them; the cotton tape was white on the outside, but coloured on the underside. As a result, the white canvases were illuminated by the reflection of colour from the underside of tape in a very alluring way. In the catalogue available at the gallery, Packer comments: In the present work, the cotton tape acts as ground and curtain, at once carrying and hiding the painting. What struck me most with Packer’s exhibition was the way he utilised a small space with comparatively quite large paintings that were compositionally connected. Speaking of this aspect of his work on his website, Packer writes: Where you might ordinarily create a series which you then cull to make a cohesive offering, this show proceeded from a design based on the shape of the space, then isolated parts of the whole to produce independent ‘easel paintings’. It was a delight to exhibit alongside Packer and I look forward to seeing...
The T3 Player app for iPhone has recently taken the internet by storm. And its interface alone makes you see why. Inspired by Dieter Rams’ iconic T3 radio from the 60s, the app is made to appeal to design lovers. Creator of the T3 app Eder Rengifo did not envision it as a substitute for your built-in iPhone player, but rather as a handsome and streamlined addition to it. The app allows you to add your favorite songs, organize them by ranking or alphabetically and enjoy. I like the simplicity of the controls and the fact that this application does not kill you with the excessive number of features. Just a few essentials, beautifully put together. T3 has special support for the iPhone 5 and Airplay. Watch the video to see it in action.
House Floradas is designed around interactions. The home is structured so each occupant knows where the others are located: allowing them to seek interaction or individuality. Designed by Obra Arquitetos, House Floradas is located in São Paulo, Brazil. The home consists of three stories with strategically placed openings. The openings on the exterior flood the home with light, while the interior voids distribute light and connect the internal spaces. House Floradas is a simple home with a big voice! The binding concept of interaction is brilliant for a family home. This concept is apparent throughout the structure, allowing for an elegance often found in form-follows-function design.
Chiyodanomori Dental Clinic by Hironaka Ogawa & Associates was originally completed in 2011, in Japan. The one sloping roof encloses and conceals both the dental clinic and a two-storey residential component. This concealment and enrapture of the one form on the site creates both a notable presence and destination for the un-attuned. The absolute dedication to proportion is evident throughout the number of spaces, and works across the variety of functions. The Chiyodanomori Dental Clinic itself encompasses a mere 55sqm, but the use of white throughout helps to reinforce the function and sterility of the space, as well as a perception of space also. Throughout the build, there exist a series of square doorways, that match proportionately, the ten square courtyards that are scattered throughout. Much akin, you could say, to the way in which the traditional tatami mat is used in Japanese spatial planning. Hironaka Ogawa & Associates, established in 2005 is on the rise. Although a relatively small practice, much like its work, it has an in-durability that should see this firm’s name get quite the attention it deserves. Images courtesy of Daici Ano.
Fabian Bürgy is a Swiss born sculptor and independent digital creative, who’s diverse and artistic practice includes sculpture, installation and digital imaging. His work explores the aesthetic of things through random encounters of materials, misplaced situations and spatial relationships. It is a series of Bürgy’s incredible installations and digital creations that I would like to share with you here. He creates conceptual situations and small interventions, which are inspired by a wide range of mundane objects and appearances. All of which are characterised by a slightly violent and disturbing process of transformation, misplacement and dysfunction of things. Bürgy takes specific thoughts and develops conflicts with precise and absolutely minimalistic means – constantly exploring the point where known things become something else, where metamorphosis is reached. Personal favourite has to be the lonely and misplaced black cloud floating in space. Wonderful.