Minimalism

Save it for a rainy day.

One of the advantages of having an attached garage is the fact that I can get into my car when it’s raining with out the need for an umbrella. No umbrella means, no umbrella stand in the house. Actually there is no need for an umbrella stand because if I had a wet umbrella I could just leave it in the garage as well. OK enough of that. If I needed an umbrella stand, I think I might be inclined to go with the one designed by Oki Sato for Japanese design firm nendo. Meji is a minimalist design that takes it’s inspiration from the joints in a tiled floor. This minimalist, sleek stand is made from a Polystone, a dense resin that is covered with silicone which offers durability and pliability. Using grooves to hold the umbrella upright the stand maintains a clean appearance even when it isn’t in use. Options include a single-umbrella stand or a three-umbrella stand, available in five different colors.

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Chiuet.

Creating something with a minimalist style is harder than you think. It’s more than just stripping away superfluous decoration, pattern, and color. It requires that keen ability to create something visually balanced, visually appealing, stripped down to bare geometry and form. 

  
Earlier today I had an email from a friend pointing me to this stunning table from Jay-Design. The Chiuet table is a masterpiece of balance, line, and form, abstracted from the shape of a pond or perhaps a water lily floating in it. The table top becomes both the shape of the pond and the lily, while the thin steel legs become the roots. 

  
Executed in a high grade steel the table is at times almost invisible, especially in profile. The legs disappear beneath, creating a floating surface that appears to hover. Chiuet is realization of minimalist finesse, that is representative of his Asian aesthetic mixing nature and minimalism, in a deep black. No word on where to get this, or if it was ever produced. If I find out more, I’ll post an update.

   

  

  

  

  

Anabella Vivas 100 Percent Sand Vases.

Anabella Vivas has created a series of vases that investigate how the design process is benefitted by using natural materials during the creation of the object. Vivas, wants to create a balance between the materials used and the final outcome. To reach that goal on this project Vivas has mixed concrete and glass, both reliant on sand for their existence.  Each vase is a balance of 40 percent glass to 60 percent concrete in materials use.  Working with the most amount of sand possible in her concrete mix, Vivas was able to blow glass into the concrete vessel, because of the slightly cooler than normal temperature which helps to fuse the pieces together. Each piece is hand made and no two are truly identical. Each one has a unique textural qualities to it in both the concrete and glass components. I love the subtle tonal color ranges in the cast concrete combined with a minimal aesthetic. And the balance between the heaviness on the concrete and the lightness of the glass is simply sublime.

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Give Me a “T”. Leica Has a New Camera.

Photo websites on the internet have been burning up with news about the new Leica T mirrorless camera system today. I have to admit it is a stunning piece of industrial design. The thing looks gorgeous, but will it make you a better photographer? Probably not. You are only as good as you are, and you improve with practice. This is why a pro photographer can get a pretty impressive image from an iPhone.

The real kicker for me with this camera is the price. I did a recent Pounds to Dollars price conversion using the prices shown on DPreview and the entire set up, not including the case will set you back $7807.00 before taxes. For that kind of money you can get a hell of lot more gear that is equal to or better. It might not look as pretty, but will still take a photo and get you behind the lens time. The second part of that sentence is what helps you to become a better photographer.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the price Leica has set. All their gear is outrageously over priced. They are a premium luxury brand, and people will pay just to have a camera with that red dot on the front. And, Leica lenses are some of the best in the world, so the price you pay for good glass kind of makes sense.

OK, I’ll admit it. The video above makes me kind of want this camera like everyone else. I do love good visual design, and the Leica T has it in spades.

Paris Kabbinet from Septembre.

A little over six months ago my wife and I made a very conscious choice to downsize my living space by moving from just under 2000 square feet of modern expanse into 1000 square feet of urban loft. I’m still getting use to the reduced footprint and the challenges that come with it. One thing I do know is, it requires a much more minimal lifestyle, and you use every inch of your space. There is no room for clutter, or things you don’t use. This is why I can appreciate the Kabbinet project from Septembre Architecture. This 85 square meter apartment (approximately 915 square feet) features smart built in furniture that functions as seating as well as storage.

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The former manufacturing workshop in a Parisian alley uses the multifunctional wooden cabinetry to line the perimeter of the space opening up the central living area to create a sense of larger volume. High end finishes and a simple black and white color pallet help make the small space feel larger and exaggerate the feeling of luxury living in a small footprint.

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The Appeal of Peel Light.

This minimalist lighting design from Tokyo based designers Naoki Ono and Yuki Yamamoto from studio YOY shows a bit of whimsy while keeping things clean and unobtrusive. The fixture illuminates through a space that looks as though the wall has been peeled back at the corner. Fitting flat to the wall surface the lamp blends into its surroundings and creates an optical illusion at night. In a dark room the fixture could almost be treated as an architectural detail.

Ono and Yamamoto used OLED as the light source in order to get the fixture as thin as possible and still produce enough light to be a solid source of illumination. The fixture is also designed so that the cord travels down the corner channel of the wall joint. That it won’t stand out and the fixture disappears into the plane of the wall surfaces.

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A Modern Tree House, by Chris Tate

At a period in time when the average size of an American home is right around 3000 square feet, it’s nice to see other parts of the world still think modest. Or at least some architects still think modest. I’ve never understood the need for a massive house with tons of unneeded, unused, space. Modular 4 was just under 1500 square feet. My current loft is a mere 1000. That is one of the reasons I really like this modular glass home in New Zealand by Architect Chris Tate.

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This house is not large. If you look at the photos and the schematic, I would say this space is between 1200 and 1500 square feet at most. The house feels huge though, thanks to the copious amounts of glazing that literally blend the dwelling into the surrounding forest. The interior and exterior spaces fold together where the structure is perched in the branches of the densely forested hills of Auckland’s suburb of Titirangi.

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I like the small footprint of the home, but I love the clean minimal lines. The limited color pallet, and the fact that the structure forces the occupant to live with less. From every angle of the interior, you are surrounded by dense green foliage. The forest becomes an ever changing backdrop. Even the bedroom which is isolated at the opposite end of the main living area offers a panoramic view of the world outside. This is definitely a place that I could call home.

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Photos: Patrick Reynolds