Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and to many, so is art. In any case, the humble pocket has been elevated into the status of beautiful, spellbinding works of art through the lens of luxury still life photographers Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes, with styling by Sam Logan, commissioned for issue no. 9 of The Gentlewoman. It’s a straightfoward, simple enough concept, but the masterful use of light and shadows in highlighting the impeccable detailing of the garments portrayed gives the whole series – and especially the humble pocket – a mistifying, iconic sheen.
Founded in 2012 and based in New York City, Chiyome is a studio focused on creating exceptional products based on a key premise: what is essential? Their designs – shoulder bags, backpacks and pouches – are continually infused with a clean and minimalist perspective, manifested through sharp lines, subtle color relationships and smart proportions. HOVER, their Spring/Summer ’14 collection, is all about harmonizing dissonant materials, fusing high (leather, marble) and low (rubber, vinyl) into a sophisticated, luxurious blend. The brand is also committed to designing through social efforts and radical means, sourcing materials from minority-owned local businesses in order to strengthen the social fabric of NY and reduce their carbon footprint, intrinsecally bringing minimalism to all aspects of their practice.
The Other Guy Next Door, the debut collection of the young New York based menswear label Cilantro + Ginger, presents well-tailored clothes in fine fabrics and unique, monochromatic prints, infused with Chinese born designer Zhang Qingyun’s approach of simplicity, attention to detail, and a dry sense of humor. The Fall 2014 collection interprets the closet of an unfamiliar neighbor. He has perhaps four shirts in his wardrobe – clean, but rarely ironed. Every now and then you encounter him outside the corner store. He holds a plastic Thank You bag. He wears white, head-to-toe. You never say hello. The core concept of the brand is to capture the continuity of imperfect, everyday minutiae, seeking beauty in the mundane and searching out quality in profusion. This is reflected in the entirety of the label’s visual output, from Jiao Xiang’s pared down styling of the lookbook to a Tumblr feed filled with monochromes and softly-toned palettes. One of my favorite aspects of the brand is the artist collaboration launched alongside each collection, serving as the backbone of the brand’s artistic expression. Kicking off with photographer Ross Mantle and his A Map With Open Space series, the imagery complements the collection pieces as displayed in C+G’s...
UK practice John Morgan Studio recently undertook the redesign of the prestigious London publication ArtReview, art directing and developing the design of each issue and special editions since September 2013 in an elegant, clean fashion. For the Future Greats issue, an annual special edition that that declares the artists to watch out for over the coming year, Morgan commissioned these whited-out portraits by photographers Luke and Nik, creating an experimental and disquieting set of covers that immediately catch the eye.
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!
Created in New York City and inspired by Scandinavian esthetics, Kunst K is a contemporary apothecary concept that connects individualism, beauty and a unique creative vision. Scientifically developed over several years of extensive research to best suit individual skin regimes and to highlight the importance of vitamins, as a result each person has the freedom to custom blend their own formula. The concept was developed by makeup creative director Kiril Hristovski, who is also responsible for the design and branding of Kunst K. The line of products consists of two base creams, an eye cream, a mask, and five vitamins (A+D3, B, C, E and K) that are individually packed in breakable ampoules, which are to be mixed in with any of our four products. Easy, simple and personable – a refreshing and enticing concept, all wrapped up in bold and minimalist packaging.
151E is a shop based in Fukuoka dedicated to Japan’s finest teas. The name is written in alpha-numeric characters, but is pronounced ichi-go ichi-e (一期一会), which is actually a Japanese phrase nearly impossible to translate for its multiple roots and interpretations. However, the term can be used to encourage one to cherish a once in a lifetime moment, or perhaps a cup of tea, in the tradition of tea ceremonies which are always of significance in Japanese culture. 151E opened in Fukuoka in October 2013 and boasts the finest varieties of teas from the Kyushu region. In typical Japanese fashion, the shop features an elegant interior with clean, raw materials and showcases an beautiful range of minimalist packaging for each tea.
Swedish graphic designer Oda Haugerud creates beautifully simple and carefully considered printed matter, combining analogue and digital techniques. Throughout her portfolio of self-initiated and academic projects, her subdued but potent style consistently shines through in lovely paper products. All of them results of thoughtful process and research, no doubt influenced by her multidisciplinary background in art history, film studies and art & publishing apart from graphic design. My personal favorite is the featured work Meteorit, a collection of illustrations and products inspired by the event on February 15th of this year, when a meteorite was 2 minutes from hitting Malmö, Sweden before landing in Tjeljabinsk, Russia.
Systems is an exhibition of commissioned poster designs and ‘60s Braun products, presented in a single grid at the Walter Knoll London showroom from 25 Nov – 31 Dec 2013. The exhibition is curated by das programm and produced in association with Braun. An international group of graphic designers respond to the systematicity of Braun Design, each one of them notably minimalist, such as Experimental Jetset, Hey Studio, Ross Gunter, Antonio Carusone, Spin, Tomasz Berezowski, Spin and more. Featured here is Berlin–based studio Neubau‘s series of posters, exploring the concepts of Form, Typography and Colour. Find out more about each poster and the specific concept developed in each design. All the works are available for purchase as a limited edition of A1 prints, individually or as a cased set. I’d love one in my living room!
P.A.C.O. is a minimalist bluetooth speaker created by Italian studio Digital Habit(s). This is a stand-alone piece, it can be placed on a desk, shelf or any other surface. Here is how designers describe it: P.A.C.O. is a digital loudspeaker manufactured in concrete and Fir Harmonic Board. The body, heavy and amorphous, enhances the deepness of bass and the harmonic wood gives warmth to the treble. Aside from the bluetooth controls, the speaker can be operated via hand gestures. For example you can place and hold your hand over one side of the sensor to change volume. And to stop the music, you can just cover the sensor with your hand. Simple and intuitive.
The Gentlewoman is a biannual magazine that celebrates modern women of style and purpose. From the same creators of men’s lifestyle and fashion magazine Fantastic Man, The Gentlewoman offers a fresh and intelligent perspective on fashion that’s focused on personal style – the way women actually look, think and dress. Known for its elegance and simplicity, issue no. 8 of the magazine brings a truly pared down front cover featuring French actress Léa Seydoux. The Autumn issue also brought the launch of the magazine’s new website, designed by Denny Backhaus, true to the minimalist set-up of its physical publication. Beautifully designed, with a fresh journalistic perspective and gorgeous photography. Be sure to also explore the website, a virtual place where real women, real events and real things are enjoyed.
Creative minimalist minds at Tokyo based Naruse Inokuma Architects (Jun Inokuma & Yuri Naruse) came up with this unusual piece of tableware. One For All plate is a serving piece, designed for multiple dishes. Crafted from a single piece of wood, the elongated plate has differently sized indentations, allowing you to plan your salads, snacks, condiments etc. I love the fluidity of this piece. Designers purposely chose the natural wood shade in order to visually blend the plate with the table. This way the dinnerware disappears, and only the food remains in focus.