Happy minimalist Christmas ;)

•25 Dec 08 • Leave a Comment



Spazio Fitzcarraldo

•16 Dec 08 • Leave a Comment

At last we return watching something more concrete. I found after some researches some interesting places in Milan who have some touch of minimalism.
Both are two bars in very fashionable areas of Milan: the Navigli area and Porta Romana, both near the Bocconi University ūüėČ

52612 www.spaziofitzcarraldo.com

The first one I would like to¬†talk to you about is “Spazio Fitzcarraldo”, a wine-lounge bar designed by the architect¬†Giovanni Musica.¬†The bar stands where once there was an old Turkish bath: the architect has kept the major stylistic traits of this ancient style decorating the space with small waterfalls, water walls, columns.

Spazio Fitzcarraldo is 1400 square meters, and it contains not only a bar, but also¬†rooms for art exhibitions, a “flowers corner” and they’re making up a new¬†library which will contain¬†volumes about art, photography and design. Moreover, all the pieces of furniture it contains can be purchased.

Viewed as a whole, this space is not purely minimalist: it combines elegant decorations, old forms, rough materials with modern ones and ethnic figures. In the midst of all there is space for several touches of minimalism who manage to combine amongst themselves the ancient and the modern-ethnic styles.

Also¬†the¬†Spazio Fitzcarraldo logo shows this game between ancient decorations and modern minimalism. “Space” is written with a typefacer similar to Times New Roman,¬† “Fitzcarraldo”¬†in a modern and essential one.

In short, a place to visit¬†not only for his being a¬†fashion and multifunctional, but also to enjoythis the beautiful harmony created between past and future, minimal and decorate style. A conflict that¬†isn’t striking but¬†exalts the place.

57064 spazio_fitzcarraldo

IKEA Part 2

•14 Dec 08 • Leave a Comment

… The question of the previous post was: “can we define IKEA minimalist”?

I don’t think so. As I said, IKEA is certainly functional: it uses simple lines and shapes,¬† it doesn’t likeexcessive decorations. But, is this enough for define something as “minimalist”? During this brief discovery of minimalism, I’ve made up my opinion and I think it is not.

The objects offered by IKEA, but also from many other companies involved in furniture and home design, are not¬†minimalist. They are functional, and that’s all. The simple lines¬† are designed to make furniture and accessories¬†not complex¬†and¬†easy to be assembled. They’re not made for aesthetics. Decorations are missing¬† because it is typical Nordic style, but also because in this way the items are suitable for any home and setting.¬†They’re in a sense¬†anonymous. Or¬†better: it is very easy to recognize almost immediately an object¬†designed by¬†IKEA, but¬†it is just¬†because¬†of its¬†adaptability and banality.

Instead, in my modest opinion, is “minimalist” something which is¬†essential but refined, not trivial¬†or obvious. Of curse functional, but a minimalist object or piece of forniture¬†stands out for its elegant simplicity.



•10 Dec 08 • Leave a Comment

Probably many of you reading the post about Muji thought to another and far more famous brand of home furniture and objects… IKEA.
I thought several times to enter a post about IKEA and its products, but it is so a large phenomenon that I didn’t know how to approach it. Perhaps this is the right time.

IKEA, Nordic design, a multitude of objects and furniture proposed. Are those proposed items minimalist? This is difficult to say …

Certainly a perfect adjective for IKEA is “functional”. Functional furniture, functional¬† idea of selling them dismantled¬†and let the buyer assemble them at home. Functional, in terms of marketing, are also the almost mandatory ways that the customer has to do to reach the exit … How many of us left IKEA¬† empty-handed?! If we don’t like the furniture, we buy at least some scented candles! (or maybe it is typically Italian…). Functionality and reasonable prices… in fact, the slogan of IKEA is “affordable solutions for better living.”

But I am not sure that we can call it “minimalist”…



•05 Dec 08 • Leave a Comment

At last I managed to find something in Milan which call itself “minimal”. Actually it is not a designer but a company: MUJI. These stores are a brand owned by a Japanese company and there are two of them in Milan (one in Corso Buenos Aires and the other one in Via Torino).¬†

As you can chek in their web site (www.muji.eu) “the company’s basic principle is to develop new simple product at reasonable prices by making the best use of materials while considering¬†environmental issues.” What they sell includes living, household, stationery items and accessorizes.¬† MUJI target is to create “no brand quality goods”, and that’s because they believe that the item’s importance doesn’t depend on the popularity and ability of its designer. Unimpeachable philosophy! The majority of the objects they sell can absolutely defined “minimal” and at the same time they look sophisticated. Simplicity in the product but also essentiality in the stores’ structure.

I absolutely love it! But, more than my opinion, what really matters is the fact that MUJI is increasingly becoming popular, in Milan and all over the world (in New York a MUJI store in iside the MOMA!).  Probly minimalism, an accesible one, is conquering us!


Moroso: sometimes minimalist

•03 Dec 08 • Leave a Comment

As I told in the previous post, it is impossible to find a designer purely minimalist. And of course, it’s even more difficult to find a design company which involves in its production only minimal items. So what I’m trying to do now, it’s to root out this objects.

The first (very beautiful) items that i found is these seating elements called “Shanghai Tip” designed in 2006 by Patricia Urquiola and produced by Moroso.



Moroso is one of the most important and influential design company of the world: they have showrooms in the more fashionable and avant-garded cities like Milan, London, Amsterdam. New York and many others. As you can check up in their site, they have been operating since 1952 and they have always been in contact with great designer. Moroso is particularly interested in the design of sofas and accessorises for the home living.

The designer of this “Shanghai Tip”, Patricia Urquiola, was born in Sapin but studied Architecture in Italy, where she still working as a designer. She collaborated with a lot ok “guru” of Italian and Milanise design such as Achille Castiglioni, Bruno Munari and since 1998 she’s been working for Moroso.

This Shanghai Tip seems to be minimal. I can’t know if the designer created it with the intention of “making something minimal”. Objectively, lines and shapes are simple an linear, basic colors too. But, as I’m discovering, pure minimalism doesn’t seem to be sufficient. This is¬†why, in opposition¬†to these lines and neutral colors, the sofa is presented equipped by colorful cushions and bright low tables. This contrast enrich the whole.

Minimalism… everywhere, nowhere…

•02 Dec 08 • Leave a Comment

I’m going on with my “minimalist research”. The more I continue, the more I realize how difficult it is to label an item as minimalist. You can not draw a clear break-line between what really minimalism is and what it is not. Unless the artist¬†or the designer affirm that this item is minimal.

So? So, as I probably said in one of my first post, minimalism is everything and nothing at the same time. We can see it everywhere but also nowhere, and even if you belive that you found it,  it is difficult that you have catched its original meaning.

Then we can go only for exclusion. Surely we can distinguish “maximalist” or¬†hyper-decorated objects, but when we look at¬†all other items that have left, it is not easy to say with certainty: “this is undoubtedly a minimalist object.” This is why minimalism is confused with the simplicity, the linearity, essentiality. Sometimes it borders on the trivial, others the¬†sublime. Minimalism probably contains all these things but at the same time is¬†none of them.