Seattle-based company Up Dog Toys created the Odin, a puzzle dog toy with a modern modular design, with the belief that dog toys can be functional and beautiful without compromising anything. Fun and expandable like Legos, the Odin was carefully researched and designed, prioritising ergonomics, functionality and aesthetics. The puzzle toy has four differently sized holes for treats to be placed inside and spilled out at different rates, engaging dogs on multiple levels, giving them mental stimulation and physical activity. It’s also dishwasher safe and constructed with non-toxic tough materials, providing peace of mind for pet owners – I love that on top of everything it also works perfectly as a stylish piece of home décor! The Odin launched this week as a Kickstarter campaign. Head over to learn more about the product and help fund this unique, innovative endeavour.
New York-based, Finnish designer Lotta Nieminen has recently updated her website with a year’s worth of projects, each of them refined and showcasing a mastery of subtlety, now a trademark of Lotta’s style. One of my favorites is the branding, art direction and website design for Paintbox, a modern manicure studio in New York offering classic manicures and a curated selection of nail art. Making something look simple, effortless and beautiful is one of the trickiest aspects of creative endeavours, and usually the result of relentless study. I had the opportunity to witness Lotta present the making of this project during OFFF Barcelona 2014, and follow her initial struggles that ultimately culminated in a beautifully rounded, successful project – not surprising from a designer of her caliber. Brand strategy by Figure NY and website development by NoFavorite.
This collaboration between French lingerie line Maison Lejaby and Belgian designer Lea Peckre has bred an Autumn Winter 2014 collection focusing on a sophisticated use of light toned neutrals in see-through bodysuits, with sheer fabrics in asymmetrical drapes and geometric volumes. The figure-hugging shapes emphasize the female curves in a feminine, ethereal and seductive way. Paris-based creative studio Twice were responsible for the art direction and graphic design of the lookbook, framed in simple and elegant graphics that highlight the collection’s power. Photography by Harley Weir.
London-based designer and British bone china specialist Richard Brendon has been developing a number of studio collaborations with Patternity, a specialist organization dedicated solely to pattern, the latest being a bone china collection with the British traditional luxury homeware shop Fortnum & Mason. Resulting from Brendon’s dream of rejuvenating and repositioning the British bone china industry, the collection warps perceptions of what bone china can look like, featuring a precise, pure geometric pattern in Fortnum & Mason’s signature delicate color Eau de Nil, and are available for purchase. Born from a drive to use pattern as a tool to inspire, explore and innovate, Patternity comprises a pattern research/consultancy department, a pioneering events and education hub, and an award-winning creative studio, frequently developing collaborations with designers on a number of different fashion, interior, and product design projects.
Created by an all-Belgian team, the Spring/Summer 2014 campaign for Linda Farrow‘s male eyewear collection features highly elegant still life sets created by photographer by Frederik Vercruysse in collaboration with art direction studio Uber and Kosher. Merging architectural shapes and eyewear in a pure and conceptual manner, the sleek compositions feature clean lines and somber color palettes that offset and highlight the pieces created by the likes of Dries Van Noten, Phillip Lim, Oscar de la Renta, The Row, Matthew Williamson and Kris van Assche. Vercruysse aims to photograph his subjects in their purest forms — sometimes realistic, often minimalistic, and always highly stylized — the perfect companion to Uber and Kosher’s monolithic, elegant sculptures, grounded in a dry Belgian minimalism with a timeless signature.
HANK is an extremely simple product with a very sophisticated concept. Designed and developed by Berlin-based llot llov, Hank is an adjustable harness that holds glass mirrors with a v-shaped rope and a single drill hole, helping abandoned mirrors regain their rightful place on the wall. The kit consists of a wooden knob, waxed cotton rope and small aluminium plates, and comes in two sizes that cover every size and shape of mirror — as clever as it is light, says llot lov. The studio develops furniture, products, light and interiors and organize manufacturing and dispatch of their own label. Their design is both functional and emotional. According to their philosophy, they are often playful, always visionary, and work conceptually to aesthetically improve our day-to-day world. Photography by Ender Suenni.
You might be familiar with London-based photographer Bruno Drummond and set designer Gemma Tickle‘s work through their contribution to Printed Pages magazine’s spring 2014 edition, but the pair’s collaborations span many other playful projects. Very informed by a minimalist aesthetic, their collaborations often use graphic, formal arrangements, clean sharp angular lines, plain untextured surfaces, and as with Printed Pages, repeat the same elements again and again as a stylistic device. Continuing my on-going investigation about the process behind minimalistic work, Bruno shares with us that he wouldn’t necessarily describe their process as minimalist — It is often quiet elaborate, with ideas being discussed extensively but it does tend to result in a specific vision prior to shooting. A lot of the work is pre-visualised with ideas, materials, colours and lighting discussed in advance, although they always leave room for the unexpected, which isn’t surprising considering the joyful nature of their work. Unsurprisingly, their individual portfolios boast several other beautifully simple projects — head over to be further visually delighted!
Lucas Dias is a young Brazilian photographer and video-artist based in Barcelona who has recently opened the second show of his touring exhibition Cuerpos Urbanos (Urban Bodies). The series of double-exposures explores the limit between people and their surroundings — the skin of the body and the skin of the city — ultimately communicating the complexity of those relationships in an elegant, effortless manner. It is in the limit between body and landscape that the proposal for Urban Bodies is drawn. In an attempt of reenchantment with the world, diaphanous mirages are drawn, ethereal and subtle, provoking the observer’s eye. They reveal skins of transparent folds, and within the folds, invisible landscapes. With a background in Architecture studies, Lucas maintains the concept of ephemeral and diaphanous even in the exhibition design — the images were printed in large plates of transparent acetate, floating suspended in the air. Discussing the process behind his work, he reveals that Cuerpos Urbanos was the result of long and painful exploration, after many experiments and thoughts, confirming that a simple result is often the culmination of many iterations and hard work. Cuerpos Urbanos will be open at the aDa Gallery in Barcelona until the end of June...
Hey is a design studio working mostly in brand identity, illustration and editorial design. Small in size but very big in outreach, the Barcelona-based studio is much beloved internationally, with a marked a style based on simplicity and synthetis and a lovely use of color and geometry. Verónica, Ricardo and Mikel kindly received me for a brief chat about the process behind their very own brand of minimalist work. When you work with synthesis, ultimately you are seeking a concept, and for the most direct way of translating and communicating that graphically. Their poster work is prolific and one of their favorite ways to distill their graphic philosophy. Using the power of cogency — the capacity one has for remembering something visual — they create work that is immediately memorable. Hey always search for the essence in their concepts, and approach a problem with a methodical functionality that is refreshing and produces results that are so well-crafted they become endearing, like with their latest personal project, Every Hey — a daily Instagram feed where they illustrate characters from pop culture. Every illustration is created based on a modular grid system, without ornament, in an effort to optimize the eye in order for it to see better, a strategy they have applied time and again with their popular Monocle maps. The studio’s...
With a French name and a Catalan heart, Deux Souliers is a Barcelona-based footwear brand led by designer Nunu Solsona, who also shares the creative direction with Folch Studio. Deux Soulier advocates a slow fashion spirit and a contemporary craft ideology, prioritizing comfort, quality and responsible manufacturing (every shoe is handmade in Menorca, Spain). The Spring/Summer ’14 collection de-contextualizes classic shoe designs, featuring sandal-shaped and often unisex models with a sophisticated sport aesthetic, and materials like cowhide or clean cotton provide subtle texture to their neutral-toned color palette. Albert Folch, creative director of Folch Studio, shared with us a bit of insight into the process behind the brand’s aesthetics, which he described as reductionist in itself. Deux Souliers means Two Shoes in French – simple as that, a simplicity that is at the core of every byproduct of the brand – from beautifully crafted shoes to advertising campaigns, branding and online presence. The focus is the product, and every aesthetic decision revolves around featuring it in the most straightforward, best possible way. Nunu is also interested in maintaining open door sessions at their studio in order to maintain closeness with the client – in fact, it’s how I had the opportunity to experience first-hand the lovely ethos of the brand. Campaign photography by Teddy Iborra.
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.