All Posts in Design

July 12, 2018

Simple Sustainability

Incorporating sustainable practices in a throw-away culture.

When I began my minimalist journey, I found it hard to hold myself back from diving head-first into the wide variety of lifestyles that minimalism presents. There are so many to choose from—a nomadic lifestyle, zero-waste living, living with only essentials—just to name a few. Though there are many paths to explore in the world of living with less, the freshly curated trail of sustainability caught my eye and I began to tread softly into the benefits it had to offer.

In my eyes, living sustainability meant that I could easily reduce the amount of effort, time, and money I put into purchasing items, completing tasks, and generally living life. There were immediate benefits to incorporating sustainable living into my everyday life, such as knowing that I was doing the earth/environment a favor while swapping things out for more sustainable items, increasing the longevity of the items I was using, and saving myself so many resources by only purchasing things I truly loved and fit within my values.

I soon began to look for companies that fit within my values and allowed me to spend my money wisely, knowing that the item would be long-lasting. While there are few companies that are dedicated to sustainability, Modern Essentials is one of the few that allows their personal values and minimalist journey shine through their products.

Modern Essentials is a New York-based clothing brand that is dedicated to sharing their passion for minimalism through their products. While living in a throw-away culture, they bring together minimalism and sustainability in order to create the ideal closet for people aspiring to live with less. As minimalism transitions from being a trend to a lifestyle, CEO Michael Frattaroli and his team are dedicated to bringing a simple, minimal, and modern touch to clothing in a world of fast-fashion.

Modern Essentials combines what we need to strive for in our fashion industry today—minimal style, simple, and modern designs, and sustainability at an affordable price. Unlike the fast-fashion industry, Modern Essentials carefully curates each item of clothing and ensures that it passes an intense quality control line before it ever reaches the boutique doors. 

Times are always changing, which means that the fashion industry is constantly releasing new ideas and clothing. Modern Essentials has created their product to be timeless in a society of ephemeral joy. These essential pieces can be worn from season to season, and through every change in the fashion industry. Without being weighed down by the industry, these products allow you to be more free in thought and action as you enjoy the more important things in life: realizing the true color of the sky, hearing your partner laugh, and being in touch with reality—the life that is happening right before your eyes. 

As you continue to make room in your life for the important things, remember that less is always more. Appreciate the quality of things, not the quantity of things. If we buy fewer products but better ones, we tend to have more joy using what we already have.

June 6, 2018

Simple Isn’t Easy: Mastering the Basics

Timeless style can be more than just an aesthetic ideal. It can be a manufactured reality.

I love coffee. I also love cafés, but I often struggle to find exactly what I am looking for. In my eyes, a perfect café would meet a small but essential set of criteria: great service, a relaxing atmosphere, well-made drinks and reasonably fast internet. However, these things are rarely found in one place. Some cafés have bland coffee or slow internet. Many go out of business before they have time to build a base or identity. These establishments aren’t paying homage to the basics and consequentially, they are unsustainable.

It turns out that simple isn’t necessarily easy. Leonardo da Vinci once said ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ and nowhere is this truer than within the fashion industry. Creating refined clothing is often a gradual process that is at odds with the commercial production of immense volumes. Decisions are based on profit margins, rather than individual suitability and long-term sustainability. This can lead to items of low material quality, produced via dubious working conditions. Shortcuts are so common that brands with real integrity and clarity of purpose are worth celebrating.

One such company that refuses to cut corners is the Scandinavian clothing brand ASKET. Swedish founders Jakob Dworsky and August Bard Bringéus initially set out to produce the ultimate white T-Shirt which, like my café, is something so simple and unassuming that it is frequently neglected. ASKET’s T-Shirt comes in 15 sizes, making sure that you can find the perfect fit for your body. They choose to avoid extravagant marketing campaigns and glamorous stores and this has allowed them to challenge ‘premium’ price-tags, creating real value, without compromise. ASKET aim to create permanent collections that cultivate traceability and transparency so that consumers can see the often invisible side of production. All details are carefully considered.

Brands like ASKET couldn’t come at a better time. We have more clothes than ever, yet we use only 10% of our wardrobes. We wear items 7 times on average before they contribute to the ever-growing clutter of our lives. These numbers reflect the growing lack of connection with what we have and a modern obsession with the ‘new’ that is leaving many of us paralyzed by choice.

But there is a transition underway. We, as consumers are increasingly calling for brands to produce simple, elegant and long-lasting clothing that we want to wear 100% of the time.

Timeless style can be more than an aesthetic ideal. It can be a manufactured reality, made possible by slowing down and mastering the basics.

January 17, 2018

Interview: In conversation with Daniel Rueda

“I want to bring a smile into the lives of my followers.”

We recently caught up with Daniel Rueda—self-taught photographer, storyteller and architect—to talk minimalist photography, perfectionism, and his very popular and inspiring Instagram page.

Developing a minimalist approach to photography is something you’re known for. Why this style and what influences lie behind your unique visuals?

I think part of it is the fact that I come from an architectural background as I am an architect myself. So, it’s kind of a minimalist approach to architecture which has defined my career as a student and as an architect. But what’s also very important to me is in photography, rather than architecture, whatever I try to do, I try to communicate just one thing. One story, one simple message. So, as I use the minimal objects and elements in a story, it’s easier to communicate. That’s why in my images I try to come up with a minimalist background, minimalist setting or something like that. The fewer objects you need to identify, the easier it will be for you to understand the message of the story I am trying to portray each time.

Daniel Rueda

With a modern, sophisticated yet playful aesthetic, your photography has gained a very large following on Instagram. What has been your favorite scene to shoot and why?

In every picture, whenever we try and tell a different story, whenever we try and come up with a different idea, we consider where we should try and make it. How do we take the photograph, or what props should we be using? What’s the clothing we are going to wear? So, it’s a complicated process and we do many different projects. Although, having to choose one is very simple in that people have said out of our recent collection, the one they enjoy a lot is where you can see the model wearing an orange hat. Like she’s a visual trick, where you can see the egg in the wall when it is instead a lady looking at the white shape in the wall. I think that is a very unique photo because of the process it took to produce it—it was for me, the perfect ending. From concept to reality, it was quite simple and we thought about the idea, in Anna, who is 50% of the responsibility of every photo. We drew this image and did some very tiny sketches and we began thinking “we need a grey wall, we need this type of clothing where we can play with the types of pitch.” This way, we can understand the shape of the egg. Then we needed an orange hat, so we had to buy a hat and paint it orange. So, we did that and then we just needed to go to the location and take the photograph which indeed, was the easiest part. The whole preparation was a lot harder than the process of taking the photo itself.

Daniel Rueda

What tools do you use to make your photography look so intriguing? How much time do you spend editing each photo?

That is a very interesting and unique thing about this dialogue, as people tend to ask us how much a photo is worth. Especially as one photo shows these types of visual tricks. What is very interesting for us is not using Photoshop on the images. Of course, you use types of software to edit the brightness, edit the levels of the towers to make it pop up. However, we don’t like to overly edit the photo. We like to do everything by hand, so then when you view the image, we try to make things as real as possible, rather than digitally enhanced. This photo with the egg is the perfect example. We preferred to paint it by hand with some wet paint, in the color orange. You don’t really need to use Photoshop, even though it would be much easier and faster. If the preparation is right, the concept comes to life.

Can you give us an insight into the dynamics behind your photos? Do you take them all yourself? Or do you get help from others to in order to create these artistic shoots?

The images which are in my gallery are a combination of two people which are myself and Anna, who is the subject in most of my photography. The workload is simple. We are always trying to bring different ideas for images and then we try to come up with a new concept. We sketch some ideas at the beginning of the process, to get a simple drawing—the most minimal drawing we can use. Then we can get a shot which is so simple with so few elements—so we can instantly understand the image. Then we try to go into the processes behind each photo. Where we go, we need this type of clothing and must show it at this type of elevation. As sometimes, you need an extra sense of scale, as you might need extra space. You need to clearly understand what the subject is doing in the image, so you need to be closer, you need to be in such a spectacular background that you can go for the photo. But other times, you need to showcase the larger architecture which is much more difficult. And then we scout the location where we identify the best time to go there for the shoot. We always use the same type of light, which is when it’s about to go dark. Or the moment when it’s about dawn and sunrise is near. Those time frames where the lighting displays remarkable rays and when you do not have shadows, that’s the kind of light we are always looking for. We have the location, the props, and then we just need to set up the camera and take the photo.

Daniel Rueda

We often see a female model in many of your visuals. Who is this mysterious model?

Anna Devís is my partner and runs the Instagram page with me: you can also follow her here. She is currently working in an architectural studio in Valencia as the head of communication. We live and work together, we are both architects, and we met whilst studying architecture at school. We both enjoyed taking photos as a couple when we were traveling so instead of taking selfies we tried to show something we particularly loved about the place, in a very artistic way. During this process, we discovered that our work was actually much more enjoyable when we wanted to tell a story. So we started to think more in-depth about building a concept behind each photo, even before we started traveling. Anna is the creative mind while I am focused on the technical aspects of our work: we are a good balance together.

Daniel Rueda

Do you travel often for your work? For the photoshoots outside of Valencia, how do you choose those specific locations?

We do travel a lot for creating new photos, and shooting abroad is certainly not as easy as when we are working in our city, Valencia. Here, we know each corner where we could capture great photos. We know the exact time to take the best photo. When you are abroad, you need to control these factors more carefully and it is not that easy as you don’t have much time. So, sometimes, you only get one or two days in a city and you have to take a couple of photographs. You have to seek out and scout the right location and schedule which will be the best time to take photos. Whenever we travel, we try and do our homework beforehand. We study the location carefully and decide to shoot during the sunset, for example. Therefore, we look at the sunrise/sunset time so we can go there when there are no people and just a little sunlight in order to take a unique shot. Shooting abroad requires more preparation, and sometimes there could also be unexpected surprises. For example, once we arrived at a building building we wanted to use only to discover it was under restoration. Therefore having a plan B is always good.

Daniel Rueda

What’s the most challenging aspect you’ve faced when capturing compositions? And how did you get past it?

Finding the perfect idea for a photo. We don’t post that often as we have to try and tell a different story in every image. It’s not easy to come up with new concepts every day: we tend to post once a week. We’re very lucky to be working with many clients, companies and agencies because they always give us a specific brief. You have to come up with an idea and solution which is clear with our workload and aesthetics. Bringing all of these elements together is very complex and challenging but interesting. It is not so easy to find the right concept for a picture that promotes a car, for example, and communicates it to our audience without it appearing too commercial. You have to do something that is very coherent with your work. Before posting a picture I always ask myself: “Is this our type of style?” We often also have to reject some requests for collaborations even if there is a big budget behind it. We don’t want our images to be shocking to our audience. We want to give them what they expect: beautiful, architecture-related images, with a minimalist approach. There are high expectations and we want to deliver what we do best.

Daniel Rueda

During your photography career to date, you have collaborated with various global companies including Bacardi Limited, Coca Cola and Netflix. How do you see your brand evolving from here?

Working with brands is very challenging. They give you a problem which you need to solve with photography. We are always keen to work with clients related to our field of expertise. For instance, it’s always great to collaborate with an architectural studio that wants to promote some of their buildings in my gallery. Our audience is composed of many architects or designers so it would be very interesting to create images for them. Alternatively, we also like to work with fashion brands as in every image we also have to consider the right clothes to use. We are working on a lot of projects for many different companies at the moment, including collaborating with tourism boards of different countries. For example, we have been in Italy discovering Bologna and Milan recently. We have also been in Austria photographing Vienna, and a couple of months ago we visited Argentina. We look forward to seeing what other cities we can explore through photography and architecture.

Your photos are clearly a great source of inspiration to your followers including us when curating our color series on Instagram. How connected are you to your audience and does this impact your approach to photography?

When I say I want to be honest with my work, I mean I want to be honest with my audience. I do what I do because of them, the people who follow me. I work the way that I do today because there are people who appreciate and support my work. I try to be as communicative as I can with them and I always capture my photos thinking about the people who are going to be seeing them. I always write my stories thinking: “Are people going to enjoy this photo? Are the images up to the standard which they expect from me?”

I would say the people who are following me are very inspiring. They force me to be more creative and to ask more of myself. Whenever someone asks me what my favorite photograph is, I always say it is the last one. I try to be better as I go, more precise and learn every time I'm on a shoot. I know there are going to be people watching and giving feedback on my photos. They are very inspiring to me and are one of the reasons for why I do what I do. I always try and have conversations with them. I don’t comment back as much as I would like as I have way too many things to do. However, I always appreciate the fact that someone has spent some time not only to admire my image, not only liking my image but also writing about it. I thank them by replying with a nice comment which would eventually get a new conversation started. I try to speak to them as I owe them so much, I want to be as supportive and thankful as I can.

Daniel Rueda

How do you think your work will change in the next few years?

I would like to step-up the quality of the infrastructure we use to take photographs. I would like to have better camera equipment. Not that it is that important in the type of photography I take but as I said, I’m very precise and pinpoint with my content. I always try and edit every single detail so that it is perfect. I always try to be better in my profession, to come up with better ideas, to be more creative and funny. The whole idea is to make people smile. I’m not going to make anyone laugh from what I do, but If I can get one person to stop and admire my image and wonder about the building that the photo was taken in, that is good. I want to bring a smile into the lives of my followers—that’s what it is all about.

September 13, 2017

Interview: In conversation with håndværk

“We produce for the one that is truly thoughtful when investing in a product.”

We recently caught up with Esteban Saba—co-founder & managing director of minimalist artisan fashion brand håndværk—to talk fashion basics, thoughtful consumption, and the importance of quality.

Developing a minimalist design for fine fabrics is a unique market to become affiliated with. Why håndværk and what were your motives behind starting the brand?

We are a small, artisan label offering a thoughtfully curated collection of high-quality everyday essentials. Made from the finest natural materials and innovative fabrics, we specialize in the classics that form the backbone of a modern and timeless wardrobe.

We celebrate the ‘craftsman’, and proudly share in the understanding that making quality garments is a humble, and tedious endeavor, miles away from the hype of the fashion world.

My family has a deeply-rooted history in the textile and apparel industry, which extends over a century. After my career in investment banking, there was a natural draw for us to start a label that specialized in this niche segment of the market.

Our sense is that there are a lot of talented designers that are working to make their mark, and for that reason tend to over design—they have something to prove. We like to keep things simple. Our label is about exercising restraint, from branding to product design with a single-minded focus on important details that set our products apart.

We want to provide a high-quality product grounded on sourcing the finest materials and a differentiated manufacturing process—minimalism is a pure avenue as we are not keen on imposing a certain style upon the individual.

Håndværk appeals to minimalists through the brand’s clothing range. What is your most popular item and why do you think that is?

Our most popular items are our Pique Polo Shirts, and the Flex Sweats Series. These items do well because of their multi-functional nature. The Polo shirt is a casual piece that works extremely well as per of your off-duty roster, but given the visible quality difference it works equally well if you wear it to work or dinner.

The Flex Series Sweats are somewhat similar in that nature—they are so comfortable and soft that are perfect as a lounge piece but elevated enough to be worn to brunch or the gym.

Håndværk design perfect basics, using very high-quality materials from Peru. Why do you think minimalism enthusiasts or those looking to adopt a minimalist lifestyle should invest in premium garments rather than inexpensive high street brands?

Simply put we believe that it is best to buy less but better. We produce for the one that is truly thoughtful when investing in a product and appreciates the rigorous process required for high-quality manufacturing.

Thoughtful consumption has positive implications to the environment which is impacted by the manufacturing process and also the disposal of goods.

Imagine the impact on your quality of life, a closet packed full of low quality pieces vs. a handful of pieces that you actually want to wear… sort of a uniform.

Can you tell us of any challenges håndværk has faced when developing minimalist products into the global market?

Launching any sort of brand is full of challenges, figuring things out along the way is part of the excitement. Key is to understand your customer base, in essence your market. The other key component has to do with understanding what sets you apart, and making sure that you stick to your knitting, and not to try to be everything to everyone. Everyone is not going to like what you are doing, but that is fine.

Håndværk publishes newsletters along with journals on its website, illustrating inspirational minimalism from designers such as Dieter Rams and brands like Instrmnt. How important are these features in relation to customer interaction?

We tend to cover topics that are of interest to the team; we have a natural bias for features that touch on minimalism, which basically solidify the vision around the lifestyle. We believe that the key is to expand beyond the view that minimalism is only about aesthetics, and try to bring a more holistic understanding of what minimalism stands for—a viable option of how to go about life.

Håndværk was founded in 2013. Now the collections are available to a worldwide audience from New York to Tokyo. How do you see your brand evolving further?

We are a specialized brand, focused on the basics, therefore, we will maintain that focus going forward. We are working to continue to expand our wholesale business with the right partners, as it affords us the exposure needed for a small brand. We want to position håndværk as the go to brand for high quality basics with our retail partners.

As you mentioned, we have nice exposure in Japan, and in the U.S. and we would love to continue to expand in Europe. Today, in the U.K., Mr. Porter is our key partner; it would be great to expand into independent stores in the region as well.

We take a measured approach to our expansion.

Petra and I have been discussing opening up a small flagship store in NYC—there are no formal plans for it yet, but we feel it would be a great way to more holistically convey our vision. Everyone is quick to point out the perils of brick and mortar retailing, but we believe that if done the right way, it could help us build the brand.

The Minimalists and artists such as Dan Flavin have sparked popularity into the ‘quality over quantity’ ideology amongst global society. Why do you believe this theory has captured the imagination of people around the world today?

I feel that the ideology of ‘quality over quantity’ is truly in the early stages—it has captured the imagination of a small number of people. People are starting to better understand that a lot of mediocre things (or people) around actually takes away from your quality of life, in a way, it pollutes your day to day.

But I am not sure it will ever have a wide appeal. We are overwhelmed by a consumer culture, in the U.S. specially—fast fashion as an example… it feels like everything is over-hyped.

Personally, I need clean spaces, with a limited number of well thought-out pieces—in my life and work—otherwise, my brain simply cannot function.

During your experience with Håndværk, can you name three key recommendations to start-ups with minimalist aesthetics?

1. Fire the “designer”.
2. Stay true to your vision.
3. Don't chase, chart your own path.

July 5, 2017

The Light Phone

A phone designed for going light and to be used as little as possible.

The Light Phone is not only an exciting design product, it is more a physical manifestation of philosophical questions. Those question may be:

What does it mean to be connected? Am I connected if I have the chance to get in touch with any person I know or even total strangers any minute of the day? Do I feel connected if I have 80% of the global catalogue of music in my hands in seconds to browse from? Or do I feel connected if I manage to be fully in the moment? If I experience the most mundane aspects of my life with all of my attention for at least some time of my day?

The Light Phone gives you a chance to find out what kind of connectivity feels better. In a way, this phone is a device to create a gradual withdrawal from constant technological social pressure:

The phone does not try to “solve all of our problems” like most other technology products and apps claim to do, but rather to ask questions… Our (smart)phones have become our nervous habit, our invisible crutch, reaching for them without thinking. We love the illusion of productivity and stimulation that is socially acceptable to abuse.

So what if you could feel safe not to miss out on the most crucial messages which usually reach you via phone call, and still get away from all the buzz for a little while? The Light Phone is created to enable exactly that experience. It uses your existing phone number but gives you the chance to leave your smartphone at home. The most genius aspect about it is that it’s such a beautiful object that you’d want to take it with you. It very much encourages to go light by design. And it’s always a conversation starter once you pick it up. So again, the goal to ask questions would be reached.

April 26, 2017

Fundación Casa Wabi

Ando’s unique architectural design impresses for its visual impact and perfect fit for its art residents.

Wabi-Sabi is a famous Japanese concept representing the beauty and wisdom behind imperfection. To create art, abiding to said concept, it is to embrace the continuous process behind each work. With that in mind, Fundación Casa Wabi, located in Mexico, fosters art residencies for six artists at a time—a true opportunity to better themselves and exercise their creative process in an extraordinary dwelling by none other than Tadao Ando.

Tadao Ando, the celebrated Japanese architect was commissioned to create a multipurpose space facing the Pacific Ocean; the ocean view is left unhindered with the natural vegetation left untouched. Since the site has a generous length, the starting point was an absolute 312 meters single concrete wall dividing the public and private program. And thus, the minimalist aesthetics start to seep in. Not only does one color reign all walls and stone flooring, the texture of the burnt cement is clearly a feature in itself throughout. As the red and orange reflect the beautiful sunset, Ando specifically chose these colors for potential visual variations. An impressive feat indeed considering the usual path for costal abodes.

The pool area manages to steal the spotlight for itself. The true star of the Fundácion is the inconspicuous area for the students’ well deserved breaks. Acting as an extension of the house, the rectangular pool makes for a gorgeous visual composition alongside the thin runway.

To represent the Oaxaca Coast region of Mexico, Ando did not forget to infuse a strong regional element into the project. The modern lower part meets an interesting juxtaposition with a traditional element of huts: the Palapa roofs. A risky maneuver in the hand of an experienced architect that proved to be worth it. The mix of Ando’s trademark minimalism with the thatched roof made of dried palm leaves is a strong statement of the versatility of the aesthetic in hand.

February 15, 2017

The Artistic Sound of Minimalism

The project of Palazzo Grassi proves that minimal design and performances can live beautifully together.

The main concept of minimalism in society is that along with this aesthetic there is always calmness and peace. It is hard to imagine something active, hard or heavy within it. But as time passes, even this aesthetic evolves and experiences change too, which perhaps 5 years ago might have been impossible to imagine. World renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando—a clear trailblazer and vanguard—has proven to people that minimalism can have a connection with a slight touch of industrial design and performance arts.

His project—Palazzo Grassi—represents the aesthetics which are displayed not only through the choice of materials, but also in the choice of forms, that silently hide the vibes of music that are produced in the building's conference halls and rooms.

Palazzo Grassi is a contemporary arts centre inside an eighteenth-century palace in Venice. The location itself offers a touch of charm to the project as well. The Teatrino is the third phase of Tadao Ando's renovation of Palazzo Grassi, which is now owned by luxury goods tycoon François Pinault. Ando added this extra building as a venue for conferences and performances. The curved concrete walls separate the 220-seat auditorium from reception areas and also creates an illusion of never-ending forms, reminiscent of waves of music and art. The dressing rooms and storage areas provide a blank canvas for hanging artwork or film projections.

The most interesting effect was created through the well-considered lighting design. The ceiling lights are hidden, creating a mystical effect which also gives a very clean look to the space. Only the façade of the original building remains, with the new structure erected behind. It is a typically outstanding project Ando that keeps us wondering what kind of performances might be shown in a minimalist and aesthetic place like this.

February 1, 2017

30 Days to Minimal

An opportunity to rethink how we blog and the very essence of what we create and why we create.

We're all driven by an endless sense of expectation and intrigue. We dream to make something of ourselves and that should never dissipate. Dare to create the space needed to birth new dreams as you work steadily towards them.

Designer Ana Degenaar, creator of Blog Milk, recently wrote a book that aims to give you ideas that you might not have had until now. 30 Days To Minimal Blogging is an interactive, digital, and focused 30-day journey to a stunningly more mindful blogging experience. Presented in 6 powerhouse sections, this guide gets to the heart of what you need—from how to create balance in your blogging career to monetizing your blog. The drive behind it all is getting more done while doing less—and adding a world more of meaning to your blogging endeavors.

The book features hands-on worksheets in every chapter that will provoke you to think, spur you to action and draw out your creative mission. Then there are the timely interviews with big influencers in the Minimalism and Mindfulness world.

Without bringing new standards based on mindfulness and minimalism in your life's repertoire, it's mighty difficult to even phantom achieving any type of control and awareness in the future. The presence of these in your new life and career are priceless. Not only do they afford you more freedom, they also allow you to accomplish something deeper and more meaningful on a daily basis.

Minimalism is an art in and of itself: it opens up the paradoxical experience of having and doing less while gaining more. And although that is often easier said than done, minimalism is far from a radical lifestyle. It's main purpose is to allow you to be the master of the things you posses and to be able to only acquire that which is of function and which positively impacts you. That's why the common way to explain minimalism is through the principle of Less is More—because we often find the true use and the true meaning of things through less. Cut the superfluous and see the essence—see the value.

In terms of blogging, it's about finding perspective. Asking yourself the right questions. Why am I blogging? What do I want to create? Who do I want to be? Where do I want to go with it? How will this journey make me feel? This is day one.

Additionally, The Minimalists have also written a fantastic guide to starting a successful blog in 2017, which includes very simple step-by-step instructions that will add a lot of value to you.

January 24, 2017

Minimalism Reinvented

High-end streetwear and future-inspired designs are revealing the rebellions potential of minimalist

Clean tailoring combined with sportswear. Refined details mixed with the invigorating roughness of hi-tech fabrics. Bold, functional, and cool; minimalist street style uncovers a rebellious potential of minimal fashion, bringing together sartorial opposites like a tailored coat and a hoody, or wide-legged trousers and sneakers. But as laid-back as it may seem, minimalist street style is far from being a simple case.

The idea of minimalist street style is to embrace the tension between urban and minimal fashion. Being the most significant style movements of the last decades, they are both the legacy of the 1990s—the era shaped by minimalist designers such as Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela, and Issey Miyake on the one hand, and by street aesthetics of grunge, goth, and hip-hop on the other. A crossover between minimalism and urbanwear first found its way onto runways in 2000s, when cult designers like Raf Simons and Yohji Yamamoto started to recreate the essence of subcultures within their collections. In the 2010s, minimalism ‘trickled down’ to the fast fashion brands, reaching the height of its popularity 2015, while streetwear has risen to the status of modern luxury.

Fast forward to 2017: Ivania Carpio, the creator of Love Aesthetics, styles pure white sneakers with wide-legged pinstripe trousers; in her bold and clear SS’17 collection, young fashion designer Melitta Baumeister's pieces are often completed with similar footwear. It becomes more evident that minimal fashion is not defined by the white shirts and monochrome looks but rather by an attitude of choosing more future-inspired, more progressive clothing that occasionally need to disobey basic rules of minimalism and add some ‘impure’ street motifs. Bold and sporty pieces from the likes of Off-White, Hood By Air, and Vetements blend perfectly well with the gracious garments from Acne Studios, COS, and Totême. Besides, this more aggressive, more avantstreet version of minimal fashion somehow elevates the idea of less is more to a whole new level, proving that minimalism can be reinvented once again. Minimalists, who refuse to alter their visual vocabulary with sportif pieces, are at the risk of missing out.

January 23, 2017

The Bauhaus School: Founders of Modernism

An alternative to uninspiring manufactured products, reimagining the role art can play in society.

Most design enthusiasts are familiar with the Bauhaus era, as well as some of the iconic designs (such as the Barcelona Chair) that are categorized by this particular aesthetic. However, many do not know that Bauhaus was not just an era or design movement, but an actual art school that operated within three different German cities (Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin) from 1919 to 1933. In fact, it was the most influential modernist design school in the 20th century.

Though the school was closed as a result of pressure from the Nazi regime (who didn't agree with its flavor of intellectualism), students and staff continued to spread its aesthetic principles as they fled Germany and settled all over the world (especially in the US and other parts of Europe). This international dissemination of the Bauhaus school ideals—particularly craftsmanship vs. mass production as well as the balance of beauty and utility—is largely responsible for the adoption and popularity of minimalist design as we know it today.

If you are a creative with a simple sensibility, or merely someone who appreciates this aesthetic, it's worth learning more about the school and connecting with its values. Of particular resonance may be the motivation behind its creation—to provide an alternative to uninspiring manufactured products and to reimagine the role art could play in society. By injecting creativity and thoughtfulness into the production of otherwise cheap and ubiquitous items, the Bauhaus school inspired the concept of elevated design for everyday life.

For anyone who lives in or plans to visit Germany, you'll be happy to know that even a short itinerary will provide ample opportunity and options to explore this renowned institution and era in-depth.

In Berlin, the Bauhaus Archive Museum of Design has an extensive collection of literature, documents, artworks, and design pieces on permanent display along with four annual special exhibitions that deep dive into the era. If in the market for a piece, you'd love following the museum visit with a trip to Zeitlos, a concept shop offering collector-edition Bauhaus originals as well as high-quality reproductions available for sale.

If the spirit moves you, you may also deem it worth rounding out your study by taking the 1.5 hour train ride from Berlin to Dessau to see the Bauhaus building that the school operated in when it was based in this small town.

Even if you can only invest a couple of hours of web browsing from the comfort of home, it's well worth the time spent for any self-proclaimed minimalist enthusiast. The Bauhaus founders such as Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are amongst the early pioneers of the aesthetic you hold so dear. You are sure to develop a greater appreciation for principles of functionalism and modernism by studying the origins of these concepts.