Minimalissimo


Designed for a group of artists to reside, work and exhibit, the architect Jun Murata of Jam Architecture transformed a house in Osaka, Japan, of former wood construction into one of modern simplicity and elegant, minimalist finishes. The spaces were carefully thought out to accommodate the needs of the artists. Public and private are logically separated: the living and dining, as well as the tatami spaces face south where one can assume the intent is so that the residents can enjoy the natural light. On the other hand, the opposite side of the house meant for reading and art installation is designed with more controlled lighting where slivers of light penetrating the interiors, making it an integral part of any art installation. The architect has acknowledged that as carefully designed this minimalist mix-use house is for the artists, plants can give the space a rich contrast. I especially love the fact that the number and type of plants chosen for the space is minimal as well, allowing the harmony of their presence compliment the spaces they are in. Images courtesy of Jun Murata / Jam Architecture.


Thaw sofa is one of the latest works launched by the Japanese design studio Junpei Tamaki Design during this year’s SaloneSatellite in Milan. It is a reference to images of thawed fluffy snow, producing a wonderful feeling of softness and comfort. The curved silhouette of Thaw is accompanied by a rounded oak detail that frames the whole piece — a continuous line to serve the seat, arm and backrest in one, resulting in a great formal simplicity. I particularly like how the wood is integrated so well on this kind of design, achieving a sense of quality and warmth. Photography by Takumi Ota


This minimalist Piggy Bank is created by Selma Durand during her Master thesis of Industrial Design in ENSCI-Les Ateliers, Paris. Durand wanted to focus on the everyday situation where people collect pocket change without being aware of its value. In fact they usually put it in a pin tray where it stays untouched. Especially the cent coins are undervalued and one can use Piggy Bank to collect those. Piggy Bank, made of a ceramic outer container and a brass inner container, uses a clever hidden mechanism to weigh the pocket change as coins are stacking. Both containers level when the value of the coins is approximately 1 euro. I chose to focus on 1 euro because it is a standard unit which also corresponds to the price of a baguette, a coffee or a stamp. Being one stashing my pocket change in an old box, where it stays untouched, I really like the thought behind this minimalist piggy bank. Love the combination of materials too.


Armada armchair has been created by Croatia-based designer Zoran Jedrejcic. The base of the piece is comprised of a steel frame covered in wood, and the seat features a thin steel layer covered in high quality leather. This combination gives Armada the structural integrity it needs while preserving the weightless appearance. I love how sculpturesque and beautifully balanced the piece looks. Additional elements, such as cushions, upholstery and back support, can be added to Armada via magnets. Different types of leather and wood are available. The chair can also be made to order and accommodate custom measurements.


Noisli — a project by Italian multidisciplinary designer Stefano Merlo — is an ambient high-quality sound and colour generator for working and relaxing. The sounds are designed to help you focus while working, relieve anxiety or just to relax. You may already be familiar with the web version, but today Noisli release their beautiful new iOS app for both iPad and iPhone. The app features various sounds including, rain, thunderstorm, bonfire, forest, train and seaside — all of which can be toggled and layered with varying emphasis, to produce your ideal sound combination. The app also features a built-in timer function, which can be used during work, creativity sessions or to simply fall asleep. The Noisli app lets you play all of the sounds offline and therefore you can enjoy its features and benefits while travelling, commuting or any other activity with no need for an internet connection. Since downloading the iPhone app, I have found the rain and thunderstorm combination a particular favourite when I require focus. An everyday app with a beautiful and minimalist user-interface. Available for download on iTunes →


Rene Schwolow’s Units of Time assembles as a triage of time telling line work. Made of powder-coated aluminum, the series of time telling devices are intended as a series of wall clocks with continuous sweeping elements. German-based designer, Schwolow is playing with time and its ephemeral nature through form. She plays with the idea of time being a notion that exists through the physical manifestation of its present through the clock. Units of Time discusses the subject of experience and perishability of time, as well as its apparent non-existence. Each piece of the series shows one element of time; hour, minute and second. Schwowlow is pushing the boundaries of our conceived notions through the simplification of something that truly has the power to control our actions. Through this simplification and stripped back motion, perhaps she is also asking us to see the beauty in time also; piece by piece. Photography courtesy of Rene Schwolow.


Last year we introduced Thisispaper’s beautifully basic Natural Irma Bag — and today we are featuring their new range of minimalist bags & rucksacks, showcased in their impressively designed online shop. Designed and manufactured by Thisispaper, by hand, in their Warsaw based studio, the range includes the beautiful Top Roll Rucksack — 100% cotton, the minimal and elegant Pocket Bag — 100% linen, and the stylish yet durable Market Bag — 100% cotton — all featuring vegetable-tanned natural leather. Some items within the collection are available in black, natural and off-white colours, as well as various sizes. All of which look just as impressive as each other. Perfect for everyday use, this made to order range offers everything you need in a bag. Wonderful work.


Livia Arena is a Melbourne based lawyer-turned-designer who brought her namesake label to life in 2010. Since the very first collection she committed herself to advocating natural fabrics such as silk, linen and wool, while keeping the silhouettes of the outfits straight and compelling in a very smart way. Her design is without frills while the garments are constructed with a great love for detail. And she is very much into knitting, as her statement regarding the AW14 moodboard shows: Lots of washed-out city landscapes and photos from far-away places. A lot of raw materials — a bunch of different mohair curls, felting samples and about a million knit swatches from my hand loom. — via pagesdigital Livia Arena’s latest collection is an amazing touch and feel experience that combines the softness of high quality fabrics with sculptural shapes. I love the invigorating appeal of Livia’s designs, which definitely make all of her clothing aspirants for long-term favorite pieces.


I have been an admirer of York-based graphic designer and writer Daniel Benneworth-Gray‘s for a while now — be it his beautifully simple, mathematical book covers or the captivating articles in his long-standing blog. His latest design work is particularly spare, balanced — there doesn’t seem to be a pixel out of place. His book covers show tremendous subtlety, power, and a welcome and refreshing pop of color. We caught up with Daniel recently and chatted with him a bit about his creative process. Being particularly fascinated by the way one achieves the delicate balance of minimalist compositions, I was very interested in how he achieved his particular brand of simple. My objective is always to find that perfect point just before minimalism becomes emptiness, where the aesthetic, mathematical purity of an idea resists clinical starkness. If I become too conscious of how I’m achieving that, or if I try to pursue it in a very precise way each time, I leave myself no room for chaos. Daniel says that as simple the end result may be, it belies a creative process of scribbles, mess and mistakes. I’ll work with pen on paper (or increasingly, the rather smashing Paper app) for a long time before going...


Issey Miyake is notable for its challenging take on the general concept of fashion. Along with the clever mind of artistic designer Tokujin Yoshioka, the collaboration between two creative visions have produced the TO watch collection that is both minimal in design and unique in material usage. TO, having four versions varied from SILAN001 to SILAN004, the fusion of the metal dial and the leather strap gives a certain boldness and masculinity to the user. With three circular layers, two for each hand, and one for the time marks, which bleed to the edge of the dial, there is something monumental about this small-scale piece of accessory. SILAN003 is the one that stands out the most to me, due to the contrast between the silver and the black, as well as the textures of the two materials. The correspondent silver buckle also helps heighten the elegance of this particular watch. Not only the watch is cautiously designed, its packaging is also carefully articulated with the use of metal spin-brushing. Nesting inside the black foam and the simple instruction is the product itself, waiting to embrace the wrist of the modern man. Photo Courtesy of Andrew Kim


Nostromo is a minimalist note taking app for iPhone, created by studio Coloramama. It allows you taking notes, making photos, incorporating existing images from your phone library, and creating sketches all in one interface. The navigation is fluid, intuitive, and requires zero learning curve. I love the cross-shaped control that lets you switch between the four functions. It is also pleasing that the app loads extremely fast on my phone. A slick, simplified tool for note taking that is delightful to the senses.


Tuneful House is a peculiar looking home in a busy residential neighborhood of Shiga, Japan. The home was designed by FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects for unique clients on a tight budget. Every space of Tuneful House has been carefully crafted to represent the personality of its residents while remaining affordable. The exterior of the home is quirky looking, with two horn-like forms protruding at the sides. This distinct aesthetic symbolizes the owner’s unique disposition. The interior spaces of Tuneful House are divided by platforms and a range of materials. This design limits the amount of walls in the structure. The most prominent room in Tuneful House, and the room which gives the home its name, is the music room. The music room is located at the entrance of the home: a prime location for a very important space. The rest of the living spaces are divided among the first and second stories. Tuneful House features neither expensive materials or elaborate details, yet it is a charming home perfectly suited to the personality of its residents.