When it comes to minimalist design, one aspect that often comes into question is comfort. Minimal design is about finding the purist form of an object or structure, while also being innovative and functional. There is often a compromise to achieve a desired form or aesthetic. And as far as we’re concerned, that is absolutely fine. It’s all about balance.
Achieving this balance incredibly well is Hangzhou-based Mario Tsai Studio, who has created the Grid Bench—a minimalist piece of furniture which plays with stability and balance. Utilising 5mm plywood sheets, Mario Tsai has mimicked this rectangular gridding of pixels in physical form, which is both functional and unique. Horizontal plywood sheets are set at precise intervals and form the main structural component of the bench. Employing a hidden plug structure, the horizontal plywood sheets are then fixed onto vertical plywood sheets and appear to seamlessly balance atop—a detail which creates a sense of floating and an unstable critical state.
The Grid Bench mimics both the structural and visual components of the processing of pixels and the formation of an image. It has been designed in black as well as a striking green colourway. The green gradient version of the bench is the designer’s experiment of pixelation of colour intervals, each piece showing a shade of green, so the seat with 19 pieces presents 19 different green gradients.
Beyond the Grid Bench, Mario Tsai Studio has created a wonderful and at times, humorous, array of furniture and lighting designs with minimalist sensibilities throughout. Whether it is the Pig Side Table, the Mazha Lighting System, or the Gongzheng collection. We will continue to watch this small design studio closely.