Minimalissimo


Beller’s Equal seating ensemble personifies minimalism, emphasizing a sense of delicate sensibility. The collection is a set of chairs and stools all made from retracting wood in a tight grip of a single, seamless piece of cast metal. The philosophy of the strength between the relationships between objects, and people, is the basis for material selection and composition. The ash wood and the cast aluminum stand as these opposites, united in the Equal chair. Norway-based Lars Beller Fjetland studied at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts focusing on furniture, interiors and lighting, and his Norwegian coastal roots are clearly overt in his work. It is typical of the beautiful Scandinavian tone of combined considered tradition, restrained form and impeccable and seamless detailing. Equal is the spawn of this fascination with detail and a timeless aesthetic. Photography courtesy of Magne Sandnes.


Parisian architects duo Betillon/Dorval-Bory took on the renovation of a 20 sqm apartment with an unyielding minimalist grip. The white color feels fresh and does a marvelous job infusing amplitude to a narrow space, whilst not losing sight of a bold conceptual statement. It’s all about two simple light installations calling the shots. It is satisfying to behold a small apartment project with special care to lighting, considering the usual method of installing ready-made product design; this case in particular brings to the forefront tailor-made raw and naked lamps fixed on a small partition. The dividing barrier defines the living area and kitchen from the sleeping area and bathroom. For the larger area seven fluorescent tubes are tasked to light the way, with its colder blue-ish glow. In the private area in the corner, it’s up to a warmer glow to fill the space with two low-pressure sodium lamps (aka SOX), the same technology used on street lighting. The effect of the SOX lamps are unusual and daring for a residential project, since it annuls and reduces every color down to a monochromatic variation. In this case, the minimalism sensibility isn’t limited to a adornment free interior design, but to...


Shiro Studio is a London based design practice established by Andrea Morgante, committed to the creation of unique architecture and objects. Shiro means ‘white’ in Japanese, but here it implies a philosophical translation where white is perceived as the purest creative approach. An approach which has seen the design of the award winning Nivis — a strikingly sleek and minimalistic bathroom sink for Italian manufacturer Agape. Nivis pays homage to the most intimate and fragile sculptural qualities of snow, its unblemished whiteness and deep blanket fallen on everyday objects. Comprised of white cristalplant, Nivis’s surface becomes a soft, fluid mass where water can seamlessly flow, from the main to the secondary basin by rotating the overflow hole on the horizontal plane.


An exciting balance between Scandinavian minimalism and slightly melancholic drama: that is what Copenhagen based womenswear designer Vibe Johansson light-handedly fuses in her current summer collection. Maybe it’s due to her growing up in the Hamlet city of Elsinor, or maybe she just perfectly manages to integrate the impressions of her extensive travels into her northern soul. Whatever the cause, Vibe Johansson’s designs radiate a subversive elegance which makes its wearer stand out without being invasive. Questioning beauty and looking for it in dark places, physical as well as mental, is where it all began for me. — The Kinsky Interview I simply love the way this collection combines expressive textures with pure geometric shapes and a soft flow of fabrics. Vibe describes the behavior of her garments as defiant, yet controlled. And I feel like this is an attitude which might nicely mark off onto its wearer. Photography by Emil Monty. Art Direction by Marlo Saalmink. Styling by Vibe Johansson.


When elements of nature come together, the role of a designer is to become the spectator instead of the author; he or she no longer has control of the process, but the idea and power to transform the incidents and accidents that occur along the way into a product of growth. Martín Azúa, perhaps with that idealism, understands this very well with his Vase Stone design. Using physics as an element to deform the clay mold, the Barcelona-based designer place a stone around the peripheral of each vase’s mouth. The minimal bend and indentation then creates something strange, yet whimsical. Vases with new forms then become something more than just regular objects: sculptures with a complexity in form. That new figure is a result of nature affecting nature, rather than something that the designer superimposed onto the process of producing. To me, there’s something so modest and respectable about that. As a collaboration between Martín Azúa and Marc Vidal, the series of Vase Stone blends the rugged beauty of nature into a minimal manmade product. The result is both unique and impeccable.


Exhibited at this year’s Milan Design week this beautiful and minimalist collection of shelves and tables is designed by Japanese studio Nendo for Glas Italia. Slide is a collection that includes two shelving units, a counter unit and a pair of small side tables that express a “slide” of position by focusing on the technology that bonds glass to glass. One black sheet of glass is bonded in a way that it has slid from its original position. Nendo comments: The shelves are particularly challenging to develop, since the black glass that is sticking out has to be attached to a transparent glass using an extremely small area of the cross-section. The same materials are used for the cuboid tables, which have tops shifted away from their dark bases in a similar way. The tables look as though the surface on top of the black box has been opened in a slightly slid position. Extremely simple. I love the glass, which is a radical and pure material and the Slide collection interprets these characteristics perfectly. Photography by Kenichi Sonehara.


The Australian Pavilion for the Venice Biennale is complete, just in time for the opening of the 56th Biennale in May of this year. The International Art Exhibit, taking place once every two years, has been held in Venice’s Giardini della Biennale, or the Biennale Gardens, since 1895. It is traditional for architects to design their home country’s pavilion as a unique identifier for their nation. The gardens include works by architecture greats such as Carlo Scarpa, Gerrit Rietveld, and Alvar Aalto. Australia’s Pavilion was in major need of an update: the country had been using the same temporary structure since 1988. Designed by Melbourne-based firm Denton Corker Marshall, the new pavilion’s dark square mass looms powerfully over its bordering canal. The facade is made from large slabs of black granite which protrude at points, allowing natural light to enter the windowless interior. The entrance floats on a concrete terrace, accessed by a dark steel ramp. On the canal side, the structure cantilevers slightly; this subtle gesture both embraces and respects the distinct environment. The interior is a clean, white box: the perfect canvas for various art exhibits. Australia’s sculpture-like pavilion is sure to be a hit at this Biennale and many...


AÃRK Collective’s timepiece range is a fusion of tradition and precision. Each piece uses Swiss and Japanese Quartz movements and hand-dipped casings and soft Horween leather straps. The Eclipse is the epitome of this balance and discipline. Inspired by time and the duality of night and day through the dual-tones of materiality and formal placement. The simple, contrasting dial evokes the moon’s movement in relation to the earth and the sun. Based in Melbourne, Australia, AÃRK Collective sees a collaboration of four creative aligned by family and a love of design. Emphasizing the need for quality and considered pieces has meant the resulting design is the uncomplicated and imbues minimalism. There is a simplicity in the undoing, and the careful placement of elements coming together. AÃRK Collective put as much thought into the parts that most people won’t see, and the result is beautiful. Photography courtesy AÃRK Collective.


Milan Design Week is an interesting stage for cutting-edge innovations by newcomers, as well as a place for veterans to showcase their expectedly praise-worthy material. Although the press excitement is often directed for explicit solution-seeking projects; that would be ill-advised, because there is much to celebrate in new twists of traditional objects. Norm Architects unveils their new collaboration with Italian design brand Ex.t, stamping their usual world-class concepts and trustworthy minimalist sensibilities for a bathroom collection. It boils down to a simple metal structure, taking cues from the modernist style of the 1920’s and 30’s, the project reduces it all to very few geometric lines. The end-result is light and elegant looking, both unusual qualities for bathroom furnishings. The Stand bathtub and washbasin are impressive — they would fit perfectly as part of a Mies van der Rohe geometric house, a small and lean urban apartment or even a bucolic house in the country looking for a contemporary twist. The Felt modular wall unit plays off the eclectic potential for daily use in the bathroom, or throughout the house. Last but not least, the Hat lamp exposes the raw wood proudly. The new collection is yet another great addition to...


Celebrated minimalist architect John Pawson has created an ethereal physical space for London-based label and designer Christopher Kane‘s very first boutique on Mount Street. Kane’s designs in no way have a minimalist language, with bright colors and geometric patterns in the current season. Yet Pawson’s space is a match made in contrast heaven with the use of off-white surfaces, mirrored walls and glass vitrines and display shelves. Accessories are displayed on fluorescent-coloured plates that rest on glass shelves in the wall as a small subtle hint to Kane’s effervescent designs. Using highly polished stainless-steel mirroring on the rail down the staircase that connects womenswear on the ground floor to the menswear on the lower floor, the descent is illuminated by a large cylindrical chandelier that emphasizes the volume of this atrium. The rail sits recessed into the wall, a clever architectural detail of Pawson’s, so clothes can be hung on display along the shape of the rail. Having designed only a small number of retail spaces, Calvin Klein Collections Store in New York being one of them, John Pawson’s retail portfolio can look forward to the expansion of more Christopher Kane’s stores, since establishing the brand’s spatial identity in this beautiful, minimalist architecture.


A collaboration between London-based photographer Bruno Drummond and set designer Hattie Newman, Paper Mountains, recycles and decontextualizes the intricate paper sculptures created by Hattie for a project both had previously worked on, suddenly giving them new life. Generally speaking sets for photoshoots tend to be made as one offs — once the shoot is over the set might be stored, recycled or disposed of; an enormous amount of work goes into producing the sets yet the work of the designer might end up hidden from view. After realising how some of the elements of the set would make a great project in their own right, they set to create a series of formal studies, finding a fresh set of characteristics in the pieces. Some of the technical work that would normally be hidden, like the joining flaps of two paper mountains, were made visible. In some cases the pieces have been placed without reference to how they might stand in reality. For Drummond, the objects became suggestive of entirely different things than what they originally meant — beached ships or sea-creatures left stranded at the high tide mark.


The Italian furniture company, Kristalia, fast becoming a Minimalissimo favourite, recently introduced to us the beautiful OXO family of chairs, designed by Xavier Lust, which will be on display at Milan Design Week later this month. Oxo is the outcome of both ongoing research by Kristalia to find new production technologies and Xavier Lust’s in-depth knowledge of aluminium. In this design project, the designer highlights the hallmarks that have made him famous: curves created by his innovative process of bending metal surfaces. A long time admirer of Lust’s work, this is Kristalia first collaboration with the designer, which has resulted in an exquisite and minimalistic collection of outdoor stackable chairs where the beauty lies in the details, such as the twist that is seen on the base, the torsion of the aluminium tube. Wonderful.