Quiet storm

The co-founder of de­sign’s most baroque brand is su­per­charg­ing Min­i­malux’s more dis­creet charms

Wallpaper - - October -

The team max­i­mal­is­ing Min­i­malux

In March this year, Dutch de­sign en­tre­pre­neur Casper Vis­sers, who co-founded Moooi with Mar­cel Wan­ders in 2001, made a sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment in Bri­tish brand Min­i­malux. Hav­ing left Moooi in 2015 to pur­sue other de­sign projects, Vis­sers was keen to help de­velop an ex­ist­ing de­sign brand.

It’s a rad­i­cal de­par­ture: Moooi, af­ter all, has al­ways been an ex­er­cise in un­apolo­getic max­i­mal­ism, while Min­i­malux has built a rep­u­ta­tion de­sign­ing beau­ti­fully crafted pared-down prod­ucts. ‘The de­sire is to of­fer some­thing of sub­stance that tran­scends trends yet

‘From our very be­gin­ning we have been qui­etly pre­par­ing for this mo­ment’

re­mains rel­e­vant, pro­gres­sive and de­sir­able,’ says Mark Holmes, who co-founded the com­pany in 2009 (see W*120) with part­ner Ta­mara Caspersz (the pair were also part of the found­ing team of Es­tab­lished & Sons). ‘Our for­mula is to cre­ate de­signs with the most ba­sic forms from pre­mium, last­ing ma­te­ri­als which, if nur­tured over time, can be made eter­nal,’ she adds.

The brand’s col­lec­tion is now di­vided be­tween ob­jects for the home (such as can­dle­hold­ers and clocks) and for the per­son (pens, jew­ellery, pill boxes and pocket mir­rors). ‘We’ve learnt to re­main clear in our mes­sage,’ says Holmes. ‘We want to fo­cus on do­ing just a few things, with 100 per cent com­mit­ment.’

And with Vis­sers’ in­put, the com­pany’s steady progress has been su­per­charged. ‘I be­lieve in the peo­ple and the con­cept,’ ex­plains Vis­sers. ‘We are over­loaded with ob­jects, which are of­ten only tem­po­rar­ily good­look­ing. Most items will have dis­ap­peared within five years, not be­cause the prod­uct tech­ni­cally fails, but be­cause these items are not strong enough to com­ply with the next trend.’

Min­i­malux, says Vis­sers, is a brand with great po­ten­tial thanks to its clear fo­cus on the in­trin­sic value of ob­jects. ‘The abil­ity to know which de­sign can at­tract at­ten­tion in the long term fas­ci­nates me,’ says Vis­sers, who has also been work­ing with his wife Suzy on the 2018 launch of his own com­pany – ‘a de­sign brand with a clas­sic touch’, as he de­scribes it.

Vis­sers’ in­vest­ment has al­lowed Min­i­malux to dra­mat­i­cally in­crease its out­put, with a piece launched ev­ery few weeks through­out the year. So far, in 2017, it has pre­sented the ‘A’ and ‘O’ can­dle­hold­ers, with con­i­cal and spher­i­cal sil­hou­ettes rem­i­nis­cent of their name­sake char­ac­ters, and the ‘Rota’ light, fea­tur­ing a sim­ple cylin­der il­lu­mi­nat­ing a se­ries of cir­cu­lar discs.

The lat­est prod­uct to launch sets a new di­rec­tion for the brand, adding a lit­tle hu­mour while stick­ing to the min­i­mal­ist mis­sion. ‘We looked at the idea of de­vel­op­ing a watch, but saw the mar­ket as a lit­tle sat­u­rated,’ ex­plains Holmes. Peo­ple now tell the time from a smart­phone screen. ‘There’s a whole gen­er­a­tion who don’t even wear a watch,’ he points out. With that in mind, they cre­ated an ac­ces­sory with a sim­i­lar aes­thetic to a wrist­watch but with­out the time: ‘Some­thing beau­ti­ful and fa­mil­iar to adorn the wrist, but with a dif­fer­ent func­tion.’ It fea­tures a nude leather strap and a mir­ror in lieu of the watch face – Holmes and Caspersz pon­dered the idea of a watch ver­sus the verb ‘to watch’ one’s re­flec­tion, and called it ‘Time­less’.

The brand has also stepped it up a gear with a move to a new HQ in east Lon­don, and there will be a new re­tail space in the Heather­wick Stu­dio-de­signed Coal Drops Yard de­vel­op­ment in Lon­don’s King’s Cross. Set to open in 2018, it will also house Vis­sers’ in-the-works brand. When asked what has been the most im­por­tant mo­ment in the Min­i­malux his­tory, Holmes is quick to an­swer: ‘The present mo­ment is the most im­por­tant. From our very be­gin­ning we have been qui­etly pre­par­ing for this mo­ment.’



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