Minimalissimo


Mexican branding firm Anagrama have designed the visual identity for the high-end pastry and confectionery shop Xoclad, located in the Mayan Riviera. In a place bustling with tourist activity, Xoclad needed to communicate the area’s strong Mayan culture in a classy way that could never be called cliché or tacky. The designs are based on a contemporary interpretation of antique mayan art and architecture ornamentation, with a bold monochromatic labyrinth-like pattern as the central element for all the visual elements of the brand. A pop of candy-toned green and pink complete the color palette, with just enough brightness to complement the sober, clean feeling of the brand and leave a mouth-watering desire to consume their products!


Glass and concrete are materials I believe make for a perfect combination. The Willmann Vase is that synergy that came out of those two materials. When calling it a synergy, it is literally made up of two separate parts. It’s quite daring to inverse their weight aesthetically — for the upper portion is dominated by the heaviness of concrete and the lower holds the fragility of transparent glass. By doing so, the product gives off a sense of weightlessness, effortlessness, and of course, elegance. When fused together, they form a harmonization of femininity and masculinity, almost calming. When separated, they are still functional — the glass underneath turns into a cup and the concrete top, with its modest opening, transforms into an object with numerous usages. This clever vase design was named after its author, Hanne Willmann. As an industrial designer based in Berlin, she constantly seeks new materiality combinations to articulate her work. The Willmann Vase, in my opinion, is the product that truly defines the minimalist in her.


London based designer Benjamin Hubert in collaboration with Canadian woodworking firm Corelam created this beautiful table, called Ripple. Made entirely from 3 ply 0.8mm birch aircraft plywood, Ripple is quite possibly the world’s lightest timber table of its size. The piece is 2.5 metres long, 1 metre wide, and weighs just 9 kilograms. The impressive strength to weight ratio is achieved by corrugating plywood and using it as a main material in this project. Designer explains: Ripple is minimal in its design language, employing a simple knockdown construction. The top surface is corrugated plywood overlaid by a flat sheet, and the A-frame legs are a sandwich construction of two corrugated plywood layers. There is also an eco-friendly aspect to this design. Thanks to its clever construction, Ripple takes 70-80% less material than a standard timber table. Check out the video to see the making of the piece.


MiniMod takes pre-fab living to the next level! Designed by MAPA Architects, this intelligent structure is a lovely solution for alternative and sustainable living. The prefabricated modules are completely customizable, allowing the user to design a dwelling focused on their needs and preferences. After construction, the modules are transported via truck to their final destination. MiniMod is composed of a steel frame with natural recycled pine on the interior contrasted with painted pine on the facade. Several green technologies are featured in the dwelling; among them is a rainwater filter, ventilated facade, green roof, and LED lighting. The single module in the photographs is located in Brazil. Off-site and no waste construction allow the home to leave a minuscule environmental footprint. The 26 square meter floor plan includes a bedroom, living and dining rooms, and a kitchen and bathroom. Floor to ceiling windows and a covered patio connect the home with the outdoors. MiniMod has it all: the elegant design proves that prefabricated living can be beautiful and good for the environment. Minimal in aesthetic and minimal environmental impact, MiniMod is truly a win for contemporary living.


Australian Bianca Chang is holding her first solo show Light Maps at A-M Gallery, Sydney. Bianca Chang is a self-taught designer and artist living and working in Sydney and has participated in numerous group exhibitions. Her work embodies a play of lines, through motions of movement and engagement with light. Light Maps is an exhibition comprised of a muted palette and restrained minimalist material composition. The way in which light is portrayed through her work and the approach by which light interacts with the pieces is where the subtle nuances emerge. I find these voids and subtleties are beautiful. Bianca is currently developing a body of work in ceramics and teaches design at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is one to watch, with no doubt numerous future solo shows to follow this one. Photography courtesy of Jacob Ring.


Hai Lien is a make up artist currently based in China, where she runs a make up academy. Her work covers skin care and colour make up and in order to initiate the wide market in the region into the true beauty of make up in a more effective manner as well as hand down her secret method, she has decided to launch her own cosmetics range in China — Hai Lien CC Cream. The design of the branding and packaging of Hai Lien’s new cosmetics line is by minimalist, a boutique design studio based in Gangnam, Seoul, Korea. Their philosophy in design is one I am certainly familiar with and one that most certainly applies to Hai Lien’s branding: We believe good designs can be achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. For this project, the designer’s explain some design characteristics: The distinctive staircase patterns are the motive of Hai Lien’s professionalism, and the classy black and white colour scheme will differentiate the range from showy colour scheme of its competitors on the shelf. From the minimalist aesthetic of the bottle, the type design of the logo, to...


Co is the collaboration between Stephanie Danan and Justin Kern whose Spring Summer 2014 collection is elegant, minimalist, strong and feminine at the same time. The selection of material holds an important part in their direction of this collection. The tailoring of leather and draping of silk in their designs are seductive in both the style and the comfort in its essence. The forms of pouf sleeves, reversed Georgian V-neckline and draped, cascading silk bring much femininity to the monochromatic color scheme. The duo behind Co have impressed with the subtle elegance and easy minimalism with this collection. Photos courtesy of Style.com.


Halo is a hanging lamp designed by the Spanish designer Martín Azúa for the also Spanish lighting manufacturer Vibia. There are two versions of the ceiling lamp available — with circular or straight pieces, that create a subtle and magical lighting effect, seemingly floating in the open space with its great formal lightness, due to the designer’s use of LED technology and PMMA plastic. The result is stunning. Halo is available in matt white lacquer, and much like other recent Vibia products, it has been developed with a variety of configurations in mind, depending on the needs of each space. I like this.


Nendo have designed, for their own brand by | n, a new stationery collection. The collection consists of eleven minimalist items: the flip pen, contrast ruler, circle tags, link clips, rubber bands, outline tray, cross pen-stand, peel pen-case, hard cover memo-pad, edge note and the dot envelope. I would like to feature four items that caught my eye: Contrast ruler A minimalist ruler with marking fading from white to black, making the ruler easy to read on dark and light surfaces. Circle tag Normal sticky notes can be easily ripped off. The pie chart shaped notes however will stay in place for a long period of time thanks to an increased sticky surface and reduced number of corners. Link clip The link clips, made of high frictional paper, come connected and are detached one by one for use. Desktops keep tidy and they can be recycled along with the paper. Edge notes The edge notebooks have a colourful edge to help with filling. Filed with the spine outwards the books present a neat appearance, filed with the edges outwards the books are distinguishable by colour. Pages of the books are printed in a light cross pattern to provide enough guidance but less restrictive than lines....


Copenhagen is a minimalist bluetooth loudspeaker created by the Danish studio design-people for the sound systems manufacturer Vifa. Simple to use and portable, the piece can work wirelessly or connect to your devices through a mini-jack or USB port. All the buttons and controls are carefully hidden to achieve the clean, uncluttered look. Here is how designers describe their approach: Nordic design addresses complex issues and turns them into simple and appealing solutions. Keynotes are respect for materials, details, and for the user experience. All details are toned down to the essentials with high finish and ease of use. The exquisite basics for anyone who values exclusive design just as much as authentic sound. I like the balance between the clean, sleek execution and the familiar shape, reminiscent of old radios from the 60s. Copenhagen comes in six colors – black, gray, yellow, red, blue and aquamarine.


Hideg House  is a sculptural form emerging from the rocky landscape. Located on the site of a former quarry in Koszeg, Hungary, this wooden structure is the first realized project of the young firm Béres Architects. After three long years of construction, Hideg House is a modern vacation home which merges the natural and built environments. The single story design features a dark timber frame punctured with windows and natural wood cladding. The rooms are placed to the far sides of the home, while the voided center is a covered patio. The interior is bright, white, and simple. It is a welcome contrast to the dark exterior and busy terrain. All of the rooms are arranged to maximize the views of nature. The cabin overlooks the best of both worlds: one side faces the exposed rock face of the former quarry, while the south side offers a panorama of the forest. I love the juxtaposition of this design. Pairing nature and man-made structures side by side results in a captivating aesthetic.


Aires Mateus & Sia Arquitectura’s House Melides on the Grandola Crest in Portugal takes the palette back to the basic elements. Situated amongst undulated terrain, overlooking the valley below, it acts as a portal to the vistas of natural elements that exist around it. In this sense, the importance of its quiet minimalism roars loudly. Comprised of unobtrusively, unusual main volumes that overlap in the shape of a cross, the resulting architecture sit both monolithically and subtly amongst its landscape. The interior is comprised of strict whites that seem to imbue its own softness through its interaction with the entering light. The otherwise metered corners throughout the interior are softened through the play on the other lines throughout the architecture. The stillness of space through finishes and articulation of lines is beautiful. The collaboration resulting in House Melides by Aires Mateus & Sia Arquitectura is to be commended. Photography courtesy of Fernando Guerra.