New finds | March 2020
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The start of a new month means it’s time for my regular round-up of minimalist design finds. I’ve already covered a lot of the spring-summer 2020 interiors collections, as well as my top picks from this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair, but there have been plenty of other interesting product launches in recent weeks. Here are a few that have caught my eye…
The ‘Kuru’ collection from Iittala
First up is the ‘Kuru’ collection from iconic Finnish brand Iittala. Created by British-Canadian designer Philippe Malouin, it’s a response to today’s increasingly small living spaces and aims to bring a sense of harmony to interiors by helping people organise and display their belongings. It consists of three cast ceramic bowls, a smaller glass bowl and a mouth-blown glass vase, and colour options range from muted grey and beige to moss-green and amber. The name comes from the Finnish word for ‘gorge’ and reflects the simple yet striking shapes, which combine curves, steep sides and triangular voids. I was lucky enough to get a preview at a press breakfast during Stockholm Design Week and I was very impressed with how versatile the pieces are; I also loved the mix of matt, frosted and glossy surfaces. The collection is now on sale via Iittala’s website, and prices start at £38 / €44.90.
Iittala has also just released its limited-edition glassware colour for 2020 (they do one every year) and it’s absolutely beautiful. Called ‘Linen’, it’s a soft, sophisticated taupe inspired by swaying fields of flax and the cool freshness that linen brings on a hot summer’s day. It will be available across some of the brand’s most popular products, including Alvar Aalto vases and Jasper Morrison’s ‘Raami’ tumblers, for the next few months.
Brass options for Nuura’s ‘Miira’ collection
Next is one of my favourite sources of minimalist lighting, Danish brand Nuura. Its latest launch is a brass version of its award-winning ‘Miira’ collection, the matt-black original of which I have in my own home. The lustrous golden colour looks stunning with the design’s sleek shape and spherical opal- or optic-glass shades, and I love the contrast between the brass parts and the black cord. It’s available across the small and large pendants and the ‘Miira 4’ chandelier, with prices starting at €369. As yet there are no brass options for the popular ‘Miira’ table lamp or the larger chandeliers, but I expect we’ll see them soon.
New additions at Muuto
There’s also new lighting at Muuto in the form of the ‘Post’ wall and floor lamps – the first designs for the Danish brand from Rotterdam-based Earnest Studio, which was founded by American-born Rachel Griffin in 2012. Their innovative magnetic joints mean the black powder-coated magnesium heads can be positioned however needed, while the silicone cords can be arranged in artful curves or left to hang vertically. Interestingly, the floor lamp comes with two heads as standard, but additional ones can be purchased as spare parts and simply attached to the existing rod.
Earnest Studio is also behind another Muuto addition: the ‘Kink’ vase. Available in sand and light blue, it consists of a porcelain tube that’s bent to form two separate openings for flowers. It has a sculptural yet gently playful aesthetic, and it looks just as eye-catching empty as it does when filled with blooms.
Minimalist art prints by Kevin Chen
Vancouver-based blogger, photographer and designer Kevin Chen (aka Nordic Entrance) has a wonderful eye for understated, Scandinavian-inspired design, and I’ve previously featured a tour of his beautiful apartment. So, I was very excited to learn that he’s created his own range of minimalist art prints. There are abstract figures and faces, monochrome patterns and more, all giclée-printed on acid-free paper. My favourites are ‘Chuan’, a striking and expressive brushstroke design named after the Chinese word for ‘river’, and the intriguing ‘Monsters in my Mind’. Prices start at C$40 for an unframed print measuring 30cm by 40cm, and worldwide shipping is available.
A versatile shelving system from Mleko Living
Krákow-based design studio Mleko Living has unveiled a lightweight modular shelving system that’s ideal for both residential and commercial use. It consists of mix-and-match powder-coated steel legs, flat wooden shelves and powder-coated steel shelves with a folded edge, all of which can be assembled in lots of different combinations and extended or adapted over time. You can buy individual elements and design your own unit (legs cost €10 and shelves €75-€85), or select from a range of suggested configurations (from €157). The steel parts come in white, black or grey, and there’s a choice of ash or oak veneer for the wooden shelves. Everything arrives flat-packed and simply screws together without the need for any tools, while adjustable feet help you get exactly the right height. What’s more, all components can be replaced or recycled at the end of their lifespan.
Sustainable suitcases and travel bags from PROJECTKIN
Finally, an entirely new name for you: PROJECTKIN. This just-launched Danish brand was founded to create high-quality, sustainable luggage for the modern traveller, and its debut collection looks very promising. Designed by Boris Berlin, the cabin-sized suitcase costs £299 / €349 and is available to pre-order for delivery in April. It comes in black or beige melange and features a shell made from flax fibres and bioplastic – a unique composition that mimics the durability of plastic but is much better for the environment. It’s water-resistant and biodegradable, and it has a beautiful textured appearance that’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen. The canvas travel bags, meanwhile, were created by Thomas Bentzen and use a blend of hemp and flax, therefore avoiding the need for water- and pesticide-reliant cotton. There are totes and weekend zippers in beige, black, blue and olive-green, plus laundry and shoe bags in beige and black only. They can be delivered immediately and prices start at £25 / €29.
All images via the brands above
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