Minimalissimo


Last week I was introduced to SUITED — a new beautifully designed biannual fashion and art publication with a singular mission in mind: to celebrate those who have found what they are well-suited for. The first issue highlights the latest work of fashion designers Melitta Baumeister and Rad Hourani, featuring remarkable photography by the talented Paul Jung, which focuses on South Sudanese models Mari Malek, Mari Agory, Nykhor Paul and Atong Arjok, in a quest to raise their voices to effect change in their home country. Passionately dedicated to the needs of others, these women are opening up a dialogue not only among their fellow citizens but around the world. With a strong minimalist aesthetic, the magazine strikes a superb balance of extraordinary visuals and insightful articles. A hugely impressive début publication, which has left me excited to read future issues.


The Autumn Winter 2015 collection by Singapore based avant-garde label Max. Tan goes by the name of XY. It combines floating handkerchief cuts with strict skirts and collapsing silhouettes with masculine textiles. Max. Tan considers XY to not be a distinction of opposites, but a seamless flow between them. It’s not just simply… women in menswear, or men in frocks. It is a collection that reconstructs her boyfriend’s wardrobe, a state of gender neutralising. I’m delighted by the balance and flow of the current Max. Tan collection. The combination of classic tailoring and deconstructed draping does not only lead towards a refreshingly androgynous design, but also adds a vivid energetic vibe to an avant-garde set of clothing. Especially the black pieces express a great sensitivity for the history and cultural background of fashion: always in motion.


As it is expected, the label printed on a wine bottle represents the persona of the winery, so it’s no surprise to find brand identities based on traditional and rustic ornamentations. Taking the concept in the opposite direction for Carchelo Wines, designer Eduardo del Fraile created a double-feature concept showcasing the bottle in a modern light and yet another outer shell representing what Extenso is about. Extenso, as the name implies, extends the experience far beyond your run-of-the-mill disposable wine bottle, enhanced by housing the product in an exquisite box. Sporting a stylish black and white matte finish, the first Magnum bottle holds an impressive design by itself; the simple logo with bare typography brings a freshness and timelessness not often found in wines. The outer bottle continues the trend, this time around inverting the colors; made from ultra light wood and silkscreen printing and paint, the end result is extraordinary. There’s a great deal of personality to find in a minimalist concept such as Extenso. For those lucky enough to get hold of one of the 600 limited edition units, it’s an opportunity to embellish any room with a sculptural piece. Stupendous design.


Fall 2015 in New York will come with a new warmth for American fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez. In design, especially fashion, appropriation and interpretation of cultures share a fine thin line. However, the India-inspired collection for Fall Winter 2015 of the Rodriguez’s namesake label was carefully tailored (both literally and figuratively) to positively reflect the taken elements. Colors like saffron and peach were so visually effective that I could taste the sun in my mouth, only to have my palette thrown off by the gorgeous iris blue coats. The story was a brief travel to another land, minimally delivered through embroideries and elongated silhouettes. Deep cuts and transparency layer a new depth to the method of color blocking, adding another dimension to the garments. I simply enjoy the classical approach toward construction, especially the creases along the high-waisted trousers that adorn the models. Rodriguez’s method does remind me of Francisco Costa’s early work for Calvin Klein, but not out of coincidence; simply out of the mutual respect for minimalism itself. Photography courtesy of Style.com.


I met Studio Vit for the first time two years ago at Fuorisalone in Milan. I was affected by their radical minimalistic design, even through their business card and website. The studio, founded in 2010 by Helena Jonasson and Veronica Dagnert in London, design and create well made products, lighting and furniture with great attention to detail. After Globe and Marble Lights, Cone lights is a collection which is about opposites. It consists of two elementary forms, the cone and the sphere, that are combined in different ways. Spheres in handblown glass and cones in matt white or mirror polished metal make up lights that cast light from the ceiling, wall or floor. The materials are hollow or solid, matt or reflective. The pieces are sold as numbered editions from Etage Projects and each item is handmade in London. Light, materials and volume are key elements of Studio Vit production in relationship to the space. The objects should coexist harmoniously and at the same time create a tension in relation to each other. Cone Lights are not just simple lamps. They are beautifully geometric.


3 Vaults is a refurbished apartment located in Turin, Italy. Designed by r3 Architetti, this small one-bedroom is the perfect home and occasional holiday rental. The three vaults the name refers to are the living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Each room has its own distinct styling, yet all three are tied together beautifully. A diagonally shaped hallway connects the various rooms. Wood paneling mingles against reinforced concrete and smooth white plaster. The home borders on an industrial aesthetic, yet more refined details allow it to feel cozy and polished. The furniture follows a similar theme: old and new pieces are artfully mixed and matched. The original ceiling remains from the building’s 1905 construction. Each unique space in 3 Vaults feels sculptural. The angles of the design and the chosen materials come together to create a modern and fashionable home.


The Protagonist’s latest, Collection No.4, is a crisp and clean addition to the portfolio. Based in New York City, the label is mused by the ideal to elevate the modern wardrobe. There are nuances of traditional tailoring and subtleties of form, fit and fabrication that add depth beyond form to each of the pieces. The collection sees a line of monochromatic shapes for women, emphasizing minimally-shaped profiles. There is an obvious and overt emphasis on the classic and structured, which is brought forward through tapping into current shapes. This unique balance of restraint and distinction results in refined silhouettes that evolve from season to season. The Protagonist is a creative, with determination, to watch. Photography courtesy of Matthew Sprout.


Marja Wickman — @mustaovi — is an art director from Finland. She also runs Musta Ovi (The Black Door) — a blog focused on house building and Scandinavian design. We take a closer look at Marja’s striking photographs of her beautifully styled home and gain a small insight into how such a collection has materialised. What is the inspiration behind your minimalist photo collection? The bright and spacious layout of our house is the main source of the inspiration behind my minimalist photo collection. I have photographed our brand new house with each construction phase until this moment. How does your surroundings impact your creativity? Surrounding nature and all the white and light spaces as well as the contrasts and simple forms inspire me. Various architectural solutions capture my attention as well. When and how do you decide to take a photo? The most important is the light. When you capture the moment, when the light comes from the right angle, is magical. Just about anything else is not needed! What are your favourite words on minimalism? “The simplest things are often the truest.” — Richard Bach, 1936 Would you like the opportunity to have your minimalist Instagram collection featured?...


GOBLANK is an independent design label established in 2013 by Meerim Kim. A sombre appearance in its all black répertoire, the 2015 Spring Summer collection is partly influenced by Japanese avant-garde designers. Its lithe, feminine forms of bell sleeve tops and cocoon coats; 60s mod and bat-winged dresses; A-line and accordion skirts are all familiar yet the inherent beauty of GOBLANK’s story lies in the details that sit quietly in the folds, layers and silhouettes of the entirely black collection. When asked about her inspiration behind the brand and the collection, the Seoul-based designer shared in a heavy yet beautiful realization of her own mortality upon turning 30 years of age. It is a manifestation of all the emotions Meerim experienced in isolating herself from her feelings:  the fear comes from becoming an adult, every process of life and death, the feeling that wants to disappear and the emptiness. Basically my looks are simple, have not much details but they have dark and heavy atmosphere with only a few lines. It’s about a square and the compositions of a square, in some way they comfort me. The idea that minimalism as an expression can be a providence that relieves and reassures through design is what makes this brand and collection so poignant and beautiful.


IKEA has recently launched Sinnerlig, a collaboration with London designer Ilse Crawford from Studioilse, on a range of cork and natural-fibre homeware products prominently featuring neutral colours that were chosen to fit into any home. In Crawford’s words: It’s supposed to work in a bathroom in Mumbai as well as a kitchen in Neasden, it has to fit into people’s lives. It is quite low key but we deliberately designed it like that, we see it as background, it’s not trying to compete with these fantastic icons of design — it’s a different thing. Set against the beautiful backdrop of Ett Hem hotel, also designed by Studioilse, the collection contains a range of around 30 products, from larger furniture pieces such as cork-covered tables and a daybed down to hand-blown glass bottles. The collection was unveiled during Stockholm Design Week and will be available in stores in August.


Gerard de Hoop, designer and interior architect from The Netherlands, has created a beautiful, minimalist, free standing bookshelf named Frames 2.0. My ambition is to make unique designs that carry the elements simplicity, surprise and versatility in them. Simplicity is mainly brought about by the use of basic geometric shapes. The bookshelf is a grid made of 12 wooden rectangle frames. De Hoop makes use of oak or American ash. When de frames are assembled the shelf has an inconsistent composition creating an interesting play of graphical lines. I love the negative space! The inset tracks give the opportunity to store books but you can also place a hanging planter and use Frames 2.0 as a room divider. Thanks to its clever design one can easily dissamble the bookshelf and store it into a pair of flat boxes. Ideal for transport.


An identity, stationery and promotional materials design for the architectural photographer Luka Žanić, realised by Studio8585 — a Croatian design studio which provides simple and elegant brand solutions. The project takes advantage of a typographically challenging set of characters in the form of a monogram, cleverly framing Luka Žanić’s beautiful photography within the context of cues associated with modern architectural identities. The logotype is based on a monogram in which a characteristic and potentially awkward second initial “Ž” is used as a device which brings the two initials together, juxtaposing them through a diacritic. The designers make use of simple forms to create a bold monogram, producing a sculptural quality in its asymmetry and vertical balance. Outstanding.