In the summer of 2011 the Ratio 3 gallery organized the first solo exhibition in San Francisco of Margaret Kilgallen’s (1967–2001) work in 13 years. Considered by many to be one of the most influential, yet under-recognized, Bay Area artist of her generation. Kilgallen, along with a handful of other artists came to emergence in the late 1990s, as part of an art movement that is now commonly referred to as the Mission School. The artist’s imagery includes her iconic motifs such as leaves, trees, topography, and female figures, all executed in a delicate and adept hand. Her style is beautifully simple and humble, almost folkloric, at times working with basically abstractions of color, lines, and repeating shapes. She was an avid reader and thinker, looking to Appalachian music, signage, typography, letterpress printing, hobo train writing, and religious and decorative arts to inform her work. In addition to her comissioned mural work, she was also a graffiti artist under the tag names “Meta” and “Matokie Slaughter”, the latter used specifically for freight train graffiti. Kilgallen was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33 and decided to forgo chemotherapy so that she might carry a pregnancy to term. She died in 2001,...
This three bedroom house renovation and extension was designed by London-based architecture firm Coffey Architects. It’s comprised of a series of levels connected by steps, with the living spaces cascading from the upper study area into the kitchen and dining area below. Reflecting the firm’s principles of light and composition and a connection between interior and exterior spaces, the house is full of visual connections with the outside, with glazed balustrades, steps and mirrors offering glimpses of the garden and sky into the lower levels. Since the rear garden is small, the garden fence is reduced in height to borrow the neighboring trees and plants while maintaining a decked area for relaxation in the summer. I’m in love with the way the surrounding greenery penetrates the smooth, polished white interior, lending the building a surprising warmth that’s reflected and complimented by the materials used inside (wooden surfaces contrasting nicely with white walls, steel and glass).
This is Real Art is a London-based advertising, design and branding agency and they strike a chord with the beautifully meaningful design for the Privacy International prospectus. Privacy International is a human rights ‘watchdog’ organisation, an NGO focused on fighting against unlawful privacy intrusions by government and businesses. The prospectus outlines the current work and future targets of the organisation and is packaged within an embossed cover that doubles as an envelope, keeping the ensemble minimalistic in function and design. The perforated cover even keeps the content private until physically opened by the reader. Beautifully simple, mindful and inspiring work.
Madmoiselle Favre is a french illustrator based in London, having grown up in Paris and moved to the UK to pursue illustration after graduation. Her work spans editorial, music, fashion, and basically a wide variety of many other mediums. My approach to illustration is about paring things down as much as possible. I try and get to the essence of my subject by using as few lines and colours as it needs to convey the core of the idea. Her combination of sinuous curves, clean and fluid lines, and bright, pop color palettes enables the creation of playful and alluring artwork that always leaves something to the imagination. Malika Favre has an upcoming exhibition at the Kemistry gallery in London. Check out the beautifully geometric and minimalistic teaser video here.
Designed by the Chilean architecture studio 01Arq, Casa W sits in the windy seaside town of Huentelauquén. The house has 3 rooms, 2 bathrooms, living and dining room and a set of courtyards. The proposal addresses the main demands of creating spaces protected from the winds and staying within the predetermined budget. The house was situated parallel to the seafront, facing west. Common areas are to the south, with privileged views, integrating kitchen, dining and living rooms. Most of the façades are composed by a wrap-around wall built in vertical planks of pine wood, which allows for the articulation of a series of intermediate spaces and visually controls any future neighboring constructions. These inner courtyards reference the need to contain the predominant wind of the area – one expands the common areas and the other provides a safe environment for the family’s leisure. Predominantly built in wood, glass and stone, this transparent house salutes the classic mid-century modernism of Mies Van Der Rohe and Philip Jonhson, while remaining fresh and elegant in the style of contemporary Chilean architecture, transpiring peace and quiet and long sun-bathed hours. I love it. Photography by Aryeh Kornfeld and Mauricio Fuertes.
Based in São Paulo, independent fashion design brand Cotton Project seeks to produce quality pieces for a group of individuals who share the same lifestyle and a different perspective on beach culture. They aim to create clothes that are coherent with a tropical country like Brazil, but that nonetheless carry the cultural baggage inspired by youth subcultures of music, art, photography and fashion, and apply typical urban elements to the brazilian beach culture. We believe in a downsized brand, that connects to a global culture and is responsible for the environment it lives in. The clothes are visibly well-tailored and the brand styling is an exercise in simplicity. I love the apparent softness of the materials and their fit. The brand also pairs up with musicians, artists and designers in several one-off side projects, sell a range of accessories, magazines and other international design products often not available in South America, as well as housing open happy hour parties in their studio. A true lifestyle brand.
Amsterdam-based graphic designer and illustrator Tim Boelaars has a series of limited-edition screenprints based on his sets of icons for everyday use, printed as different colored posters of 18” x 24”. Tim has drawn a lot of attention to his unique iconography work, with an established technique of bold, geometric, monospaced line work that illustrates a range of whimsical yet quirky commonplace things (well, except for the weaponry series). While each and every object may not be absolutely minimalistic in their portrayal, the arrangement of the icons in a monochromatic, perfectly ordered and straightforward fashion is very elegantly simple. Photography by Tim Boelaars, featured image from The Noun Project.
Jennifer Hagler is a North-American, Idaho-based jewelry designer and blogger. She is also the owner of the most thoughtful, elegantly minimalistic and carefully curated Instagram I’ve ever seen to this date. Every frame seems to be a perfectly calculated still life portrait, from foodie shots to random objects, her work in jewelry, geometric patterns and even her impeccably styled family and home. The main enabler of her photographs, I imagine, is her beautifully decorated home, awash in white surfaces and objects and cloths, with calculated pops of color to add interest and contrast, positioned just so. However, even her exterior shots are filled with light colors, smooth surfaces and quiet compositions. Simple images and seemingly effortless. A truly minimalistic Instagram!
London-based designer David Weatherhead strikes again, having paired up with GOODD for Thorsten van Elten in designing the Primary Clock. Made from solid 3cm Douglas fir with a screenprinted face and a German Quartz time mechanism, it comes in two styles, one with a half circle of color (Half) and the other with segmented blocks of color (Segments). Half can be hung three different ways, displaying the color part either on the bottom, the right side, or at an angle. Each clock is unique despite its repeated screenprinted design, due to the variation in wood-grain that stands out even through the color. David’s objects are born from his interest in the everyday and in designing things with a particular gesture and semantic. His inspirations come from everything, from the Bauhaus to a road safety sign. The Primary Clock is a beautiful exercise in simplicity and well-crafted objects (for instance, the clock is hung with a key-hole fixing so it sits nicely and flush against the wall).
IXXI is a surprisingly simple modular connecting system where one can create their own graphic collage or pixelated photo enlargement, which can be used as wall art or space separators. Born from the discovery that there was no modular system to connect postcards, the creators developed the prototype for a project called The Brabant House, where they connected 20.000 postcards. Responding to fantastic reviews (including a nomination for the Dutch Design Awards), the founders decided to develop the system to a consumer product. The decorative packet consists of the IXXI connectors and printed synthetic paper cards, which are moisture resistant and tear-proof. Featured in this article we can see the brightly colored, geometric Loco! tiles designed by Studio Boot, which are presently my favorite, but aside from the Loco! design, there are also reductionist renditions of famous portraits and artworks, such as the Frida Kahlo portrait and my other favorite, the Girl With A Pearl Earring.
Diary fragments is an on-going illustration experiment by Serbia-born and Croatia-based visual artist Mario Kolaric. Two simple elements combined – lines and color – are the basis for most of these drawings, so beautifully simple and yet each one is potent with personality, brought on by the bold pop of colors and the delicacy of each precise line. Coming from a background in Fine Arts and now dwelling in illustration, Kolaric’s minimalistic and pop sketches become even more intriguing when you see the rest of his body of work, filled with strongly narrative drawings with a deep folkloric and melancholy essence. His other interests are in merging his illustrations with spatial installations. I’d definitely love to see a spatial representation of these Diary fragments series. I’d also love a wall full of his drawings!
Karen O’Leary is a North Carolina, USA-based architect and artist that simplifies the classic map, rendering a clean design as a result of intricate hand-cuts or repetitive black hand-drawn lines. With maps ranging from New York City to Paris and London, O’Leary erases every information judged unnecessary, be it by cutting out land and water into negative space, or by electing only the barest elements to draw. What remains is the dense and intricately woven web of a very real geography, turned delicate by a meticulous work of reductionism. I love the possibilities of dramatically changing one’s perception of a map by electing what kind of information is shown… O’Leary’s minimalist editing of these complex graphics produces very simple yet strikingly beautiful results!