Minimalissimo


In this age of rapid developments, more architecture firms have resorted to the method of adapt-and-reuse — a sustainable approach to repurposing unused structures. Recently, Dominique Coulon et Associés, a French architecture firm, have inserted openings for light to an original concrete building. They also enhanced the original two swimming pools and bleachers with a synchronizing blue color that unites the interior space. On the exterior, grey concrete were applied onto the extension to expand the old building’s facade and create a continuous conversation between the old and the new. The children’s area is doubled in height with curved walls, resulting in a spacious area that holds a different spatial quality. At the resting area, there is an organically shaped opening that provides a visual connection to the private garden. The minimal approach that the architects have adopted to the original structures, was what captivated me so much in the first place. The clean division of blue and white, and the play of curved and geometric lines, engulf this swimming complex with different pockets of space. In my opinion, such a simple change to the interior can cause a big direction of change in the usage of a building —...


Located in a residential area of the northwestern part of Takashima, Shiga Prefecture, Japan, lies a beautifully minimalist white structure. On the first floor is an aesthetic dental clinic White Essence Takashima and on the second floor an aesthetic salon — Salon de M. Following his client’s requirements, designer Ryutaro Matsuura explains: The building can give the neighbourhood a sense of affinity and good impressions as a symbolic object in the town. The interior offers a the space that is enclosed by four buildings into a void area with a top light. It was turned into a comfortable place with natural light. Perforated metal screens are fixed on the outside of the windows of the first floor treatment rooms to set up buffer spaces bridging the inside and outside. This made the cozy treatment spaces with soft daylight and patient privacy. Waiting in a dental surgery has never been so pleasant. We hope that this building will endear itself to the town’s people and be nurtured by them as a new landmark of the town. In this Japanese town, a visit to the dentist will no longer a daunting experience.


Pâtisserie À la Folie is a lovely little bake shop in Montréal, Canada. Designed by the Montréal based firm Atelier Moderno, this shop uses a minimal, neutral palette to show off the baked goods. The interior is a renovation of a former retail space. Existing concrete floors and exposed brick are painted in a warm, soft gray tone. Natural wood panelling has been added to parts of the ceiling and walls as a contrast to all the gray. A few hanging lights illuminate the register and display cases. While the design of this bakery is stunning, the real star of this interior are the rows and rows of colorful macaroons, pastries, and cakes. I love how the store’s simple palette highlights the goods for sale. Pâtisserie À la Folie is a bakeshop not easily missed on the streets of Montréal!


Yield Design’s Geo Stand Set adds an elements of quirk. This trio of sculptural anecdotes can be used as paperweights, name cards, photo holders, business card holders or sculptural elements. Made from brushed brass, these geometric pieces are beautifully executed. Yield’s emphasis on no need for compromise sees this series produced with an attention to detail, where sustainability and ethical production are not at odds. This is great to see. Their claim that the buyer should buy for keeps or please do not buy at all is one of boldness and a refreshing response to an ever increasing consumerist culture. Based in St Augustine, and conceived in San Francisco, Yield is a duo to watch. Photography courtesy of Yield.


I was recently introduced to Taiwan based design studio, Chi and Chi. The studio has a strong minimalist aesthetic, designing everyday objects with content and purpose, and with simple functions in their essential forms. A standout design? This striking Polygon watch. The Polygon watch is a modern and unique timepiece with special geometric features in shape. The elements on the watch are designed with simple geometrical forms consistently and unlike the usual round contours of regular watches. The 24-cut case and dial present the time in a distinctive aesthetic way, which enriches the sense of touch as well as the sense of sight. Featuring a 316L stainless steel case housing a precise Japanese movement and a durable genuine calf-leather strap, the Polygon timepiece is a unisex watch available in three colour combinations — silver/grey, gold/black, and gold/brown. I particularly like the grey. Absolutely beautiful.


The design agency Nendo has created yet another retail space for the Japanese label, Beige. In addition to clothing, this concept store located in  Tamagawa Takashimaya was also intended to sell interior goods, hold books for lending, and even turned into a gallery space for events and art exhibitions. Maintaining the brand’s minimalist direction, Nendo cleverly optimizes the already tiny space, zoning it vertically: library on top, clothing in the center and display gallery at the base. A 7.5mm beam installed at 2.05 meters above the floor serves as an attic-like shelf for the library of books, with magnetic bookends that keep them in place. Clothes and bags placed on hangers freely located around the store while low plinths serve as fixtures for display or for customers to step on and reach the clothes and books at the height of the beam. What a simple yet clever detail that takes the customer’s journey over the multiple levels. Its intentionally clean and pure finishes let the products and the activities stand out in the space. The space, though designed for the specific retail needs of the brand, manages to achieve a unique and flexible customer experience in a very simple concept. Photography courtesy of Takumi Ota.


Sophia Molen — @sophiamolen — is a Dutch fashion blogger originally from Amsterdam. Having previously studied in Bio-Medical Sciences, Sophia now runs a number of successful blogs including Blog and The City and Minimal Blogs. With a strong focus on minimalist fashion, we take a closer look at Sophia’s beautifully captured Instagram, selecting some of our favourite photographs, and discovering how she has come to create such a striking and stylish collection. What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? The philosophy of Taoism is a great inspiration to keep things simple. I find harmony and peace in minimalism. And you know what? I do even find spontaneity in simplicity. I guess because of the truth lying in harmony. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? To be honest, being surrounded by people tends to decrease my creativity. Being surrounded by things associated with my dreams, positively influences my creativity. Yet something as simple as light, might have a magnificent effect on me as well. When and how do you decide to take a photo? I don’t really randomly take photographs. Mostly trying to be in the moment, I often don’t even consider capturing it. However, during planned photoshoots for my blog, I’m searching...


The German design label Studio Hausen has rethought a modern classic of design; the hanging shelf. The link shelf is stripped down to the essentials; a number of massive ash wood shelve boards and a set of black steel mounting brackets. I like the contrast of the natural wood and dark steel and the open structure of the shelf. The open character makes the shelf perfect to store and display acquired treasures. One can easily arrange, and expand, the elements of the shelf by himself adapted to his needs and space requirements and play with the many potential compositions. The link shelf was exclusively availabale in two variants through MONOQI and was a real hit.


A hundred years after the start of the First World War in 1914, The International Memorial Notre-Dame de Lorette was inaugurated last week, to reconcile the 580,000 casualties of the war in northern France. With a great sense of respect, regardless of nationality, rank or religion, all names have been written in alphabetical order on three-metre high walls, along a giant elliptical ring comprised of concrete for the exterior, and inset with 500 copper-toned panels. The memorial has been designed be the architect Philippe Prost and explains that he looked for a sense of unity with this form: I was thinking about the rings you make when you’re a child, or a human ring when everyone holds each other’s hands in a sign of fellowship, and that seemed to me like the image, the form, best suited to speaking about these soldiers killed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, and who today are brought together all in one place. Brusque and delicate at the same time, symbolic and sensitive, a work full of emotion that does not leave indifference.


Stevan Djurovic’s Luna Lamp is a bold and beautiful statement in lighting. Standing, literally, as a beacon of illumination, it also has its own sculptural presence. This piece sees a minimal powder-coated matte finish metal frame, supporting an almost floating bulb-type piece. The bulb itself is also moveable, and its movement is the method by which the light is switched on (demonstrated here). There is an almost weightless quality to the lamp, creating the illusion of it floating. The resulting form is gallant but somehow subtle. Born in Kraljevo, Serbia, Djurovic’s has seen a number of creative collaborations, international design awards and publications. He is currently studying Interior Architecture at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts in Kragujevac. The Luna Lamp is available through Monoqi.


Berlin based store, SIMON&ME, has an approach to design that strips away superfluous embellishments, emphasising the very core of a product and unveiling their minimalist signature. Their latest product is an expansion of the beautifully simple, copper bracelet, this week announcing the design of a sleek silver version. This quality, hand-crafted bracelet is designed and developed from scratch in Berlin and is the perfect minimalist accessory I’ve been looking for. The silver bracelet is also nicely wrapped in white paper, presented in carefully embossed SIMON&ME packaging, and will be rolled out early next year to stockists. Simple and striking jewellery — the ideal gift. Photography courtesy of SIMON&ME.


Amsterdam based fashion label Avelon claims to whisper, not shout. Still, the word about its impressive, effortless yet sophisticated style has spread worldwide, starting with Erik Frenken taking over as the label’s head of design in 2010 and peaking with its first show in Paris for Spring/Summer 2015. But let us have a look a the current collection first. The sculptural but relaxed silhouettes are monochromely bathed in nude tones, black, white and an extraordinary jade green. Classic styles like sporty sweaters, basecaps and shirts are deconstructed, exaggerated in their shape and combined with feminine waistlines or hemlines. A perfect blend of streetwear and immaculate tailoring. Or as the designer himself puts it: Avelon is something that changes every season but stays close to its signature: luxurious yet raw, effortless yet directional, and feminine yet tough. But I have to say that the real goal of the brand is to create energy. — style.com review