Devon-born and London-based fashion designer Charlie May (of the blog Girl a la Mode fame) launched her Autumn/Winter ’13 collection in the beginning of the year, giving continuity to her signature minimalist, androgynous style. The collection plays with solid, pure colors and instances of sheer transparency, gravitating stoically from pure white to pure oxblood, going through blacks and grays. In counterpart to the contained color palette, May plays with layering and materials, adding texture and depth to her pieces. The collection is bold and equally ethereal, two interesting contrasting sentiments. The collection’s styling and makeup, achieved with the strong red lip look, add an impeccable finish to the whole. I’m quite enamored with the featured long white dress myself!
Designed by Japanese master Naoto Fukasawa, the ±0 (Plus Minus Zero) wire ware collection consists of beautifully simple black wire tableware objects (a bread basket, a toast stand, an egg cup and an egg carton) that you wish you’d thought of first. Plus Minus Zero seeks, essentially, balance as a leitmotif. With their brand and their ±0 symbol they want to communicate the concept of just right - be it in shape, in size, or in price. ±0 believes that designing things that coexist together is natural. It’s not just about matching colors or shapes; it’s about designing the harmony between these devices and life. Photography via designboom.
This light-filled apartment in the Bialik area of Tel Aviv was refurbished by Italian-born and London-based Chiara Ferrari Studio. The open-plan arrangement and the expansive surfaces with no visible joints allows for the original concept of seamlessness desired by the designer. The high-ceilinged space was split and used to create flexible and functional niches, and there is also a glazed extension, providing the master bedroom and bathroom with beautiful natural lighting. Set within a historic building, the project used locally sourced materials, keeping the design true to its surroundings. Images courtesy of Chiara Ferrari Studio.
Developed by Korean studio WV Design, the Holder Series is designed to improve the ease of management and organization, with the ultimate focus to create ease of access for all desk objects: Whether it is a pen or important documents, the Holder Series aims to reduce the trouble of finding, sorting and tidying. Combining powder-coated steel plates, natural plywood and aluminum plates, the design achieves an interesting balance both in materials and shape. I would most definitely benefit from this system!
When you look at the shelves of skincare products in a shop, they’re normally so full of information and busy designs that a mere glimpse of Swedish brand Verso Skincare‘s packaging is already refreshing and interest grabbing. Championing the innovative Retinol 8 formula (it helps the skin cells to mimic how young cells behave and is an improvement on the standard retinol formula, 8 times more potent and with none of the famed drawbacks like having to avoid sunlight), Verso is Latin and means reverse, a clever metaphor reflected on the elegant packaging. The brand identity & packaging design were developed for over a year (!) by Swedish studio Today Creative, resulting in a thoughtful brand image that reflects the product’s uniqueness.
NY-based multidisciplinary creator Joe Doucet strikes again: this deck of regulation playing cards called MINIM is an exercise in editing and stripping things down to the edge of comprehension. The already fairly straightforward and classic signs for hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades have been reduced to minimalistic geometric symbols. My personal favorite is the spades, and the diagonal mark across the back of the cards is so brilliantly simple it could’ve always been there. The deck will be available as a limited edition along with seven other products at Doucet’s Play exhibition in the Wanted Design NYC pop-up store in from May 17th-20th.
There isn’t anything quite like the pleasure of beholding the careful and considered crafting of a beautiful, solid object, and that is exactly the sensation brought by watching this video for the construction process of London-based luxury accessories brand Oliver Ruuger‘s umbrellas. The incredibly sleek and elegant line of umbrellas was comissioned by LN-CC, a progressive retail concept comprising of clothing, music & books. After honing his craft producing exclusively made-to-order pieces, this is the first retail collection from Oliver Ruuger. The collection launches with four distinct umbrellas, in a custom range of materials. The umbrella is such a traditional, everyday object that it has almost been forgotten in design, but this brand reintroduces the familiar item as something luxurious and indulgent, with an according price range.
Designed with a very specific purpose — to separate the owners from a loud, busy street in downtown Miyasaki, southern Japan, into their own private sanctuary — architect Michiya Tsukano of Tsukano Architect Office delivers this monolithic white structure with only a narrow vertical slice to interrupt it. The home was designed around a private courtyard, that provides natural lighting for the interiors and is overlooked by every room. Concrete walls and surfaces are balanced with light-colored timber panels, warm ceramics, white plaster and glass. My favorite part is where the concrete dining table meets the white pebbled courtyard floor at the same level, a flowing continuity barely interrupted by a large glass pane. The design exudes the calm and peacefulness of its statement of purpose and is an interesting contemporary hybrid between traditional Japanese design and Western standards.
Young Frankk is a jewelry line launched in 2011 by Virginia-based US artist turned jewelry designer, Christine Young, drawing inspiration from simple and minimal designs, yet infused with bold graphic, geometric, and even organic shapes. As a graduate of Parsons School of Design for Illustration, she incorporates her drawing experience into her designs by translating line work onto metal. Every piece is made by hand by the designer, creating one-of-a-kind and unique pieces. I’ve always enjoyed the simplicity, minimalism and geometric quality of Young Frankk’s lookbooks. Every piece has a boldness and completeness to it, like a story being told with each one.
There have been many exercises in paring down the wallet to the ultimate minimalistic design, but I believe London-based Taiwanese designer Chieh Ting Huang has arrived at that ideal quite successfully. Nothing Fancy is a collection of non-stitched minimalist solutions for the wallet, re-imagined for the contemporary lifestyle. Using only a foldable leather hide template and rubber bands and eliminating everything else (stitches, snaps, zippers, etc.), Chieh delivers a wallet, a coin case, an iPhone holder and a passport holder within the same principles. The result is a well thought, beautifully executed and impeccably styled range of products that has left the design blogosphere wishing for one of their own. My personal favorite is the passport holder and I’m especially in love with the customized rubber bands!
AaPFAFF is the artistic project of Catalan painter Guillermo Pfaff. His GRADO:0 exhibition in the prestigious La Taché gallery in Barcelona is an exploration in concise, self-contained geometry. His Portable Paintings, canvases that can be folded and stowed away at one’s leisure, are quite a pragmatic and maybe even revolutionary approach to art as a consumer product. I had the opportunity to ask the artist a few questions and was fascinated by his system and methodology, very minimalistic and sustainable in nature, consisting basically of producing art with minimal gestures and materials, as well as only producing work that has a specific finality. Quite the example of precision.
idea ink is a series of Japanese books focusing on the theme of “ideas of the future”, published by Asahi Press and designed by Tokyo-based design studio Groovisions. The books focus on themes from gastronomy; environment and social issues to information graphics and even love and the quest for marriage outside of Japan. The graphic design for each book is clean and crisp, yet colorful and alive at the same time. A refreshing approach considering the excess of graphic information in a city such as Tokyo, yet still coherent with Japanese philosophies of simplicity and elegance in style. Groovisions also have Muji as their clients, another Japanese company notable for its minimalistic products. I particularly love the monoweight lines of the illustrations and the pastel color pallete. One of the things I love in Japanese design is the potency of “silent” designs, and to me this definitely falls into that category.