φ ≈ fi | phi
VOICELESS LABIODENTAL FRICATIVE PRODUCED BY CONSTRICTING AIR FLOW THROUGH A NARROW CHANNEL AT THE PLACE OF ARTICULATION THAT CAUSES TURBULANCE. | AN ORAL CONSONANT THAT ALLOWS AIR TO ESCAPE ONLY THROUGH THE MOUTH. | IT CREATES A PULMONIC SOUND WHEN AIR IS SOLELY PUSHED BY THE LUNGS AND THE DIAPHRAGM. | A PHONATION THAT IS PRODUCED WITHOUT VIBRATIONS OF THE VOCAL CHORDS.
φ: the twenty first letter of the Greek alphabet; the Ionian numerical value of 500, the mathematical equivalent of 1.61803…, the ancient symbol of the golden section believed to represent a proportional guide towards the aesthetic ideal. The subtle suggestion of a dash, a set of positive type against a negative background, the edge of a box in a stark interior, the corner of a building, the beam of light through a window, the drape of fabric against a bare leg. Sometimes it is the simplest of thoughts that can catch your eye. When a design is stripped down to its bare minimum and all that remains is a basic idea narrated through function and form. Dieter Rams in 1985 proposed the affirming conclusion that: ‘Good design is as little design as possible’. The maiden issue of φ brings you an alternative approach to the design magazine. Merging inspirations and manipulations of design in graphics, fashion, architecture and technology. φ will explore the creative spectrum by proposing new ways of interpreting the design of a fashion garment, an object, or the graphic outline of a structure. Examining the design in the over-looked: the pattern-cutting, the packaging, the aesthetics in technology, the venue of a fashion show. φ magazine will act as a platform for contemporary designers who are incorporating forms of creativity towards new methods of design that aim to inspire and entice. Combining an appreciation for the philosophy of the golden proportions φ is a metaphor to seek out the harmony in the antithesis of incorporating one rhythm of artistry with another. I hope you enjoy it. Alexandra Petsetakis Editor
G R A P H I C S I N FA S H I O N
H O R M A Z D N A R I E LW E L L A
PAT T E R N I T Y
THE LOVE FOR THE BOX AND THE BAG M A S A S H I K AWA M U R A
C O L O U R _ S T O R Y. i n d d
A MAN SHIRT
B Y B O T H C R E AT I V E S T U D I O
‘ T- S H I RT S ’
PA R A L L E L C O N F I N E M E N T
EVERYTHING BUT THE CLOTHES
THE JEWELLER’S CADENZA
PA R I S S H O W S
GRAPHICS IN FASHION
GRAPHICS IN FASHION design studio byBoth discuss their book and the role graphics play in fashion WORDS BY ALEX PETSETAKIS | PHOTOGRAPHY www.pscphotography.com
φ: Where did the inspiration for the
The fashion industries need for a brand to constantly renew and rejuvenate itself to stay ahead of the pack has evolved into a competitive creative platform for graphic designers to explore. Innovation in clothing design is great, but the way that packaging and promotion is created to appeal to consumers adds to the value of a brand. Invitations; look-books, swing tags, labels and packaging are all carefully considered to entice as a result of the synergy in a three-point conversation between fashion, graphics and the consumer. byBOTH Creative Studio, formed over six years ago by duo team Simone Pasztorek and Jay Hess have released a collection of the most conceptually and visually innovative forms of design in their book Graphic Design for Fashion – Bold and Beautiful. With a background in graphics from Central Saint Martins, Simone and Jay worked as art directors at TANK Magazine before coming together to create byBOTH studio in 2004. They are a highly collaborative team that takes on complimentary roles according to the project; Simone works on concept development and strategy while Jay focuses on technical details and production. However as Simone explains “We meet in the middle with the actual execution, quite often sharing the same machine…” www.byboth.com
book come? byBOTH: We wanted to buy this book; we just could not find it. There are some similar titles but they skim over the good stuff or focus too much on the fashion element. We wanted to learn about the practical working relationships with creative clients.
Would your reader be part of a graphic or fashion audience? byBOTH: We intentionally produced the book with ourselves as the target audience, so in that respect I hope graphic designers would get a lot out of it. But for fashion designers I think the book could be an important reference tool as well.
The book links two different fields (fashion and graphics) do you find that one influences the other? byBOTH: I don’t think it is fair to say that a swing tag can influence a fashion collection, but perhaps in certain situations? Manuel Raeder produces his ‘Last Seasons T-shirt’ for BLESS based on his previous look book. I think we have learned to not discount the innovation of creative’s, graphic designers, fashion designers, anyone… It is all relevant and all feeding itself, perhaps a little too much sometimes…
What sort of criteria did you have when selecting which companies you were going to include in the book? byBOTH: This was a really complicated point for us. We did not want to be in a position of projecting our personal taste upon the reader. We created a very strong framework that suitable contributions needed to fulfil. Advertising was excluded because it represents a collective creative conscience; we wanted to focus on the individuals. Digital media was excluded because we were more interested in the core skills of the graphic designer. And in house teams were also
excluded because we were more interested in the core skills of the graphic designer. And in house teams were also excluded because they do not have as much creative autonomy as an independent studio. It was all about creating a format for comparison, the work submitted should relate to each other easily and honestly, without feeling like we have cherry picked the best bits. The intention was to show the progression of a relationship as much as possible.
You mention in the book the collaboration between graphic designer and art director Peter Saville and Yohji Yamamoto in the late 1980s as being a pivotal change in communicative fashion. With your book as the current representation of graphic design in collaboration with the fashion industry how do you think the field has evolved since then? byBOTH: Peter Saville speaks fondly of the passion for fashion from the late 80s, but it is not the same anymore. Even the smallest fashion labels need international success to survive now. That takes money. Fashion is global, and with that investment comes responsibility. It’s not enough to just knock up a few pieces and flog them in a shop on Kings Road like Vivienne Westwood. This is not isolated to fashion though, and graphic design has also felt something similar. It is really just a sign of the times, there are negatives and positives.
Graphic design is sometimes stereotyped as having a strict set of ‘does’ and ‘don’ts’. Did you follow certain graphic design rules when creating the book? byBOTH: Of course… But often the more interesting moments in graphic design come when you can break the rules.
A selection of spreads from the book Graphic Design for Fashion courtesy of byBoth Creative Studio photographed by www.pscphotography.com
HORMAZD NARIELWALLA a man with the vision of transfor ming a Savile Row patter n cutting into an ar t for m WORDS & IMAGES BY ALEX PETSETAKIS | ART WORK BY HORMAZD NARIELWALLA
I arrive at the London College of Fashion studios next to Shepherds Bush market to be greeted by a man in a coloured suit and a charismatic grin poking through his whiskers. The characters found in Indian Hormazd Narielwalla’s collages start to come alive when you are confronted with the allure and style of their maker. Hormazd has created a unique relationship between art and fashion by deconstructing a technical element of design and shedding new light on its value and function. After working as a stylist in Mumbai, Hormazd came to England and pursued a Masters degree at Westminster University under the supervision of British designers and mentor’s Shelley Fox and Zowie Broach. But Hormazd felt conflicted during his course ‘I think I was banging my head on a brick wall when I was designing clothes’. This realization marked a change of direction in his interests and Hormazd soon found inspiration in exploring the details and makings of bespoke tailoring. As we settled into Hormazd’s studio he narrates his journey; ‘I always wanted to be in fashion but when you come from a middle class Zoroastrian orthodox family you cannot do anything that’s not the norm’. The room is urrounded with clippings, coloured films, old photographs pinned to the wall and layers of brown pattern cuttings covered in informative scribbles.
Hormazd reached the affirmation to further explore the history and craftsmanship behind the patterns after acquiring a position with the Savile Row tailor Dege & Skinner founded in 1865, that traditionally caters to military and sporting clients. After extensive conversations with Master Tailor and Managing Director William Skinner Jr., Hormazd’s eye caught the attention of a stack of envelopes in the corner of the room. Mr. Skinner explained to Hormazd that the envelopes contained the historical blueprints of the measurements from previous customers that were now dead. Hormazd was instantly attracted to the graphic aesthetic of the pattern cuttings as functional patterns that represent the form and physique of these men. He wanted to resuscitate the life back into these shapes by ‘archiving patterns that have been lost or were left to be chucked’. Studying and interpreting the tales of the cuttings and the men behind them lead Hormazd to create his first 400-page limited edition publication ‘Dead Man’s Patterns’, that has been recently acquired by the British Library for their Modern British Rare Collection. The success of the book went on to spike the interest of British designer Paul Smith who hosted an exclusive solo exhibition at his gallery on Albermale Street in 2009. The exhibition entitled ‘A Study on Anansi’ celebrated the Caribbean folklore of a mythical spider that locked away the world’s wisdom in a box.
Hormazd is currently working on his PhD at London College of Fashion researching the military uniforms of the British Raj over a hundred year period at the end of the 19th century. ‘People don’t see the sketches.’ Hormazd explains, so the work he wants to produce ‘will be represented as art in a way because it is a form of drawing and it is form of documenting an archive of drawings’. He is looking at hundreds of archived sketches and patterns and starts to enthusiastically tell me that his aim ‘is to create an artistic project where I am highlighting the construction and all the detailing’ of the uniforms. He pulls out a drawing and shows me the magnitude of one of the designs of a military skirt made from kourt consisting of twelve darts from both the front and back without any side seams. He marvels at the sketch and how the Indian tailors managed to drape and wrap this piece of cloth around the body of a soldier and ‘why did they change metal helmets to turbans because the soldiers weren’t used to wearing turbans around their head but they had to because of the heat.’ Hormazd is also preparing a collection of art pieces entitled ‘Fairy-God, Fashion-Mother’ inspired by Diane Pernet. The collection will be featured at the RRRIPP!! Paper Fashion exhibition in collaboration with ATOPOS Contemporary Visual Culture curated by Vassilis Zidianakis and Stamos Fafalios.
ATOPOS cvc is a non-profit cultural organization founded in 2003. The archive consists of some of the most authentic and rare disposable paper dresses from the 1960s created by artists such as Andy Warhol and Harry Gordon plus rare paper Kamiko coats and underclothing from the Edo and Meiji periods in Japan and China. Hormazd has collaborated with the organization and incorporated the historic paper dress patterns with his own inspirations of Diane Pernet to create these unique artistic illustrations. When I ask Hormazd why he chose Diane for his muse, he states ‘Well I like characters… she is someone inspiring because of what she is doing within her work and she has become a character’ Does Hormazd think the collages he is creating will affect the way we construe the world of bespoke tailoring? He hopes so; ‘People will get to see a side to Savile Row that they have not yet seen.’ Hormazd’s work will be featured in the ‘RRRIPP!! Paper Fashion’ exhibition that will commence its tour in Athens and then travel internationally and conclude at London’s Barbican. (August 2011) Hormazd will also be releasing his second book ‘The Savile Row Cutter’ scheduled to be published in August that delves into the memoirs of Michael Skinner master cutter and chairman of Dege & Skinner.
Original art works by Hormazd Narielwalla inspired by Victorian pattern cuttings.
PATTERNITY dots, lines, shapes and graphic silhouettes; design studio PATTERNITY stop to admire the visual coincidences that surround us WORDS BY ALEX PETSETAKIS | IMAGES COURTESY OF PATTERNITY DESIGN STUDIO
I meet Art Director of PATTERNITY Anna Murray at Somerset House where her creative partner Textile Surface Designer Grace Winteringham is a contributor in the PICK ME UP Graphic art fair. Anna explains how she and Grace joined creative forces after recognizing they both had mutual interests and ideas; ‘we met and loved pattern and we had a disregard for boundaries.’ Although they both came from different creative backgrounds they had consistently been collecting similar references and ideas about patterns. Their mutual feeling that there was a gap in the print world market, Anna and Grace created a studio to showcase projects in different mediums that used pattern as the common thread of inspiration. The company manifesto is ‘from the mundane to the magnificent’ and as Anna describes PATTERNITY aims to ‘encourage people to step back and actually appreciate everyday surroundings’, ‘you might ordinarily walk past, rushing from A to B and you don’t notice actually there is a really beautiful shadow or there is some oil in a puddle that is a really beautiful rainbow’. PATTERNITY has found success in a number of original studio projects, such as their collection of screen-printed hosiery that was inspired by the idea of ‘the closest that pattern can get to your body aside from getting a tattoo’.
The design studio has also collaborated with twelve creatives based in Dalston that produced original art works inspired by the historical and cultural environment of Hackney. The screen prints were exhibited collectively as a tapestry to represent the area. Anna and Grace have also worked with furniture maker Toby Winteringham to create the Phase Bureau, a range of furniture incorporating ‘old techniques of wooden marketry with pattern’. Anna describes how the design studio incorporated elements from the materials that were used by cutting out and replacing sections of patterns to convey the ‘shift from day to night, light to dark.’ The success of the Phase range went onto winning the Wallpaper design award in January. Additionally to the studio projects PATTERNITY also consists of a RESOURCE section on their online platform - paternity. co.uk. RESOURCE is an online gallery that illustrates the companies formula to seek ‘the mundane to the magnificent’ in the patterns around you. The compilation of sources can range from the graffiti sprayed on a desolate car to the majesty of the Grundtvig church arches in Denmark. As Anna explains the images aim to ‘contrast against something where you can see the visual coincidence in something magnificent so that’s when people start to appreciate what is around them’.
The images are collected from a number of sources as well as from photographs taken by the PATTERNITY team. Anna recalls an image she captured in a moment of mundane splendor; ‘there was some toilet paper in the toilet with this really horrible net curtain but the light coming down through the net onto the toilet roll was really beautiful because it hit this really mundane thing and suddenly it was transformed into this really beautiful object just because of the way the light hit the cylinder.’ PATTERNITY duo Anna and Grace are currently working on ‘developing a range of everyday products that are things you take with you to encounter the patterns that surround you.’ They will also be organizing an exhibit as a live platform of their online RESOURSE gallery. The exhibition will be a multidisciplinary event that will involve a series of talks on patterns such as ‘a mathematician talking about pattern in math or an anthropologist talking about patterns in human behaviour.’ Anna describes what the response towards PATTERNITY has been; ‘people say it’s a bit of a pandoras box – they look at the world slightly differently and this is above and beyond our main objective which is why we are doing it. You can verge on going a bit mad with it but I think you should just enjoy it.’ www.patternity.co.uk
m a i s on
m a r t i n
m a r g i e l a
clockwise from left: russian dolls, automne/hiver show invitation, packaging for perfume and perfume [untitled], exhibition booklet, automne/hiver show invitation, bracelet box, ring box ring, brass star knuckle-duster ring.
THE LOVE FOR THE BOX AND THE BAG
THE LOVE FOR THE BOX AND THE BAG
as valuable as its contents we feel the same way about the box as we do the shoes. prada blue, hermes orange and margiela white, the packaging and colours are as much the brand as the fonts and the logos. IMAGES | ALEX PETSETAKIS
p r a d a clockwise from left: shoe box,
plex ankle-strap sandals, ribbons, banana earrings, earrings box and dust bag, shoe bags
h e r m é s clockwise from left: carrier bag, shoe bag, ring box and dust bag, gold ring, watch box, printemps-été accessoies catalogue, ribbon
concept & design: masashi kawamura, production & design: itaru yonenaga / no control air, photography munetaka tokuyama
Cotton Courier 3100 pt Edition 20 55% | Rayon 45%
‘T’ SHIRTS MASASHI KAWAMURA t is for type f ace: masashi ka wamura reinvents t he relationship fonts can ha ve on t he human for m ‘In the world of typography, terms such as typeface, character, body, etc are used to describe the form of a letter. The reason why they use expressions closely related to a human body, is because each different letter has a distinct quality and personality, in a similar way that us humans are all unique.’
WORDS ALEX PETSETAKIS | IMAGES MUNETAKA TOKUYAMA
Tokyo born Masashi Kawamura works in New York as an art/film/creative director and has designed a collection of t-shirts in collaboration with designer Itaru Yonenaga. The range draws inspiration from the geometry and form of the five recognized typefaces Helvetica, Baskerville, Caslon, Courier and Cooper Black. Masashi has personified these fonts as characters and ‘tried to give them a unique look and presence once worn’. Made from a mixture of cotton and rayon in stark black, the collection combines conceptual design with wearable clothes presenting an alternative approach to incorporating the world of graphics with a staple fashion item. The T-shirts are photographed left and below by Munetaka Tokuyama to illustrate the garments as three-dimensional models of the fonts that can be unzipped and worn. The t-shirts are available online at www.nocontrolair.com www.masa-ka.com
C o tto n
C as l o n 2 9 4 0 pt E di t i o n 8 5 5 % | R a y o n 4 5 %
Hel veti ca C otton
2853 pt/3084pt Edi ti on 25/10 55% | Rayon 45%
C oop er C otton
Black 4 452 pt E ditio n 8 55% | R ayon 45%
Basker ville 3980 pt Edition 8 Co tto n 55% | R ayo n 45%
colour_story.indd a closer look at t he t ones in t he spr ing seasons menswear PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING ALEX PETSETAKIS | MODEL FRANCESCO CASCAVILLA
francesco wears shirt by ermenegildo zegna, shorts by nicle farhi, derby shoes by burberry prorsum and sunglasses by emporio armani
francesco wears linen jacket by issey miyake, shorts by nicle farhi and t-shirt by adam
francesco wears shirt by acne and shorts by nicole farhi
francesco wears shirt by maison martin margiela, mohair jumper by marni and shorts by givenchy
THE MAN SHIRT
THE MAN SHIRT four designers deconstruct their interpretation of the men’s white shirt IMAGES | ALEX PETSETAKIS
“I wear my heart on your sleeve”
The shirt suitable for both casual and formal, accented through contrasting elements: the wing collar and the jet pocket with a storm flap and asymmetric detailing.
Emotionally charged; a shirt design dedicated to love and romance. The white represents purity and innocence, the mesh on the sleeves adds a touch of romance and the transparency in the middle exposes the wearers heart.
100% White Cotton
PVC, Mesh and Cotton
3 City Player
A design inspired by vintage men’s sportswear - cricket and fencing combined with the angular structures found in London’s modernist architecture.
Exploring the morals of creating garments using raw materials as a starting point for deconstruction and reinvention. An ecological design made from Fair Trade organic cotton and cotton pads held together by a mixture of flour and water.
Chiffon and Quilted Leatherette
Organic Fair Trade cotton, cotton pads, flour and water
PARALLEL CONFINEMENT suspended amongst white walls and marble floors, long silhouettes and angular ends hover in solitude PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING | ALEX PETSETAKIS MODELS | LAVINIA CHOREMI & ALEXIA MICHALOS
from left: alexia wear skirt and heels by h&m and top by helmut lang | lavinia wears dress and heels by zara and net top with paillette by dkny
lavinia wears top by sonia rykiel for h&m lavinia wears top by sonia rykiel for h&m
alexia wears dress by dkny and mary-jane shoes by comme des garcons | lavinia wears shirt by zara, skirt by blumarine, long johns by j.e.morgan and moccasins by tods
left: alexia wears top by stefanel and trousers by h&m | right: lavinia wears skirt by anne klein, white shirt by zara, loafers by tods w| alexia wears dress by dkny and shoes by comme des garcons
left: alexia wears top by stefanel and trousers by h&m | right: lavinia wears skirt by anne klein, w h i t e s hfrom i r t left: b y lavinia z a r awears , l o t-shirt a f e r by s b y t o| d s walexia | a lwears e x i apleated w e a dress r s d by r e gant s s band y d k n y shirt and shoes by comme des garcons hanes right: vintage
left: lavinia wears t-shirt by hanes, vintage silk skirt and heels by h&m | right: alexia wears jump-suit by cos and leather belt by bally
lavinia wears trousers by dior, dress by dkny and shoes by uterique
APPLE you may love, tolerate, or obsess over possesing them all, but there is no denying that these modernist gizmos are a thing of design beauty PHOTOGRAPHY & CONCEPT | ALEX PETSETAKIS
top MOUSE | right KEYBOARD
mat wears swimming shorts by prada
NO DIVING hockney inspired: brights, patterns and italian sandals by the pool side PHOTOGRAPHY NIKOLAS VENTOURAKIS | STYLING ALEX PETSETAKIS ASSISTANCE ROSS ASTON | MODEL MATTHEW POILE FROM NEVS MODELS
mat wears vintage jumper
mat wears swimming shorts by prada
mat wears polo shirt by raf simmons, shorts by american apparel, socks by uniqlo and sandals by prada
mat wears t-shirt by cos, trousers by yves saint laurent, sandals by jil sander and glasses by emporio armani
mat wears top by missoni, shorts by ralph lauren and t-strap sandals by wintle
EVERYTHING BUT THE CLOTHES
EVERYTHING BUT THE CLOTHES ross as t on tra vels t o par is for t he men’s shows and collects his im pressions of design rat her t han clo t hes. IMAGES & TEXT | ROSS ASTON
Raf Simons backstage at La Maison Rouge. 10 Boulevard de la Bastille, Paris 12e. Saturday, January 22, 2011. 21:14 The glass walls and ceilings of La Maison Rouge were created by Antoine de Galbert in 2000 when he set up La Maison Rouge as a ‘reconnue d’utilité publique’, promoting the work of young artists. Presented in spaces that are made to question how we relate to the buildings; its interiors and exteriors and how we perceive time when inside it.
RA Antwerp after party. 14 Rue de la Corderie, Paris 75003. Friday, January 21, 2011. 21:00. Here, on a street named after the district’s rope making history, the arches of the cellar used as the party’s venue was reignited with blue light; A contrast to the buildings ‘red’ history. It was here in 1870 that Eugene Varlin - member of the First International and companion of Karl Marx - wrote up the anticapitalist theory of Syndicalism. You were left wondering if the party goers with their glasses of free Pernod were aware of this.
Qasimi Homme invitation Les Beaux-Arts de Paris, Salle Melpomène, 13 quai Malaquais, Paris 6e. Sunday January 23, 2011. 1700. A Bridget Riley inspired invitation made with an embossing and lacquering technique creates an optical illusion foretelling a confusing collection from the design house. Rather than using the bright colours favoured by the artist, the invite was updated entirely in black.
Thom Browne. Hôtel Westin, Salle Impériale, Vendome, 3 Rue de Castiglione, Paris 75001. Sunday, January 23, 2011. 18:00. The belle-epoque surroundings of the Salle Impériale made a glistening venue for the American-settler themed show. The room with its gilt gold frames, carved wooden paneling and painted ceiling were a witty setting for the show. Not to mention crystal chandeliers that skimmed the banqueting table that dominated the catwalk.
Kris Van Assche. Palais de Tokyo, 13 avenue du PrĂŠsident Wilson, Paris 16e. Friday 21, 2011. 15:00. In the Western wing of the contemporary art gallery, the audience rush out of the venue down a sweeping grand staircase not made of expensive veneers and woods but of stark concrete. Dating from 1937 and built in the Art Deco style, it was reopened in 2001 with new functionalist interiors designed by architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal.
Yohji Yamamoto invitation 155 Rue Saint-Martin, Paris 3e. Thursday January 20, 2011. 20:00. As the models appeared on the Yohji catwalk it became clear what the silhouetted, cut out anonymity of the invite was referring to â€“ the models were of all ages and looks, ginger youths followed old grey men.
Julius. Les Beaux-Arts de Paris, Salle MelpomĂ¨ne, 13 quai Malaquais, Paris 6e. Friday 21, 2011. 12:00. A laser of coloured light was beamed across the venue and shone onto the catwalkâ€™s vast white backdrop. Beginning at first as a small pin-prick, the projection quickly grew across the walls creating a ceiling of light that looked to those below like a cloud-filled sky.
Junya Watanabe invitation Maison des MĂŠtallos, Salle Claire, 94 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud. Paris 75011. Friday January 21, 2011. 10:00. Four separate pieces of white Khadi, Ingres, Tyvek and Seichosen Kozo paper make up the invite for the Junya show. Piecing together the odd range of textured papers, the graphic designer reflects the deconstructivist nature of the collection.
sun dial built in 1992 | marble and stainless steel
THE JEWELLER’S CADENZA
THE JEWELLER’S CADENZA an ancient philosophy with a contemporary approach towards function and beauty is found in the home of greek jewelry designer minas spiridis on the island of mykonos WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY | ALEX PETSETAKIS SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION COURTESY OF GINA SPIRIDIS
stainless steel door handles designed differently to accomodate external and internal usage
On the island of Mykonos famed for not only hosting a glittering cosmopolitan nightlife but also the mythic battlefield between the Titans and the King of the Gods lies the home of Greek jewellery designer Minas Spiridis. Driving up a dirt road on the hill of St. Patapio a white gate with a revolving red bar comes to view as an optical illusion of vertical beams that narrow in width like the vibrations of a guitar string when plucked. Minas built his home in 1986 after exploring the outskirts of the island until he discovered a piece of land with a lone shepherd’s hut that dated back 150 years. His mission was to buy a large property so that he would be isolated from any pestering neighbors; ‘I didn’t want anybody telling me that I couldn’t play my music loud, I would die, I couldn’t take it.’
the rounded exterior form of the house is accentuated by bushes of echeveria
Now aged 73, Minas has been designing jewellery for more than 30 years. He is based primarily in Athens but has also spent a number of years in New York selling his creations in over 250 stores and establishing his name and craft as a designer. His body of work has expanded over the years from jewellery, handmade in gold, silver and metals to objects, home ware and furniture. He has collaborated with Scandinavian firms Georg Jensen and Royal Copenhagen and exhibited at a number of exhibitions both in Greece and internationally. However, for Minas the ideal location for exposure was and still is Mykonos; as he explains the island works as ‘an embassy an international showcase for my work’. Minas has boutique stores in both Mykonos and Athens and is now in the process of opening a store in London as he feels that the creative industry in Greece is at a stand still. According to Minas ‘you become famous once and Greece was very renowned so it
doesn’t have an space to once again revive its fame… it doesn’t produce anything.’ The house was Minas’ first large scale design; ‘in my mind I was creating a sculpture with my own personal perfections.’ He wanted to put his touch on all the elements of his home. Minas not only designed the outer structure of the house but also the hinges, locks, faucets, handles and the key that moulds to the shape ς of the thumb for he felt that what was available in the market was inadequate. Every detail of the house has been carefully considered with a perfectionist sensibility, from the stainless steel eyebrow that shelters the top of the key hole ‘designed in a way so that the water does not fall onto the door’ to the curve underneath the bench that comfortably hugs the back of the calf. Minas always had the urge to correct the designs that surround him; ‘I want to fix the benches on the street, I want to fix the lights, the stop where people wait for the bus’.
left: interior image of the bathroom. bottom left: exterior image of the house coated in black rubber for sound resistance. bottom right: exterior image all the images on these pages are courtesy of Gina Spiridis
limited edition catalogue, 1996.
The property consists of the main house, a guest home, a second cabin, a water tank and well that all navigate towards a sun-dial on the peak of the hill overlooking the sea. The sundial titled ‘Heliodromon’ was built over a 6-month period in 1992, but the research and preparation for the design of the dial plate in relation to the correct shadow cast of the gnomon lasted 4 years. The base and the dial plate of the sundial are sculpted out of marble from Mount Pentelikon in Athens weighing 1.5 tons. The stainless steel gnomon with a peak tip made from pure gold has been calculated by Minas to cover the longitude from the Cycladic region until Attica.
The jewellery designed by Minas is uniquely distinct because it is inspired to reflect the form of the human anatomy. He creates with no sharp edges or corners because the body does not consist of any such angles so why should the jewellery we wear, the cup we drink from or the home we live in not compliment our own form. A necklace for example draped around a neck should follow and commend the neckline, sitting in the clavicle and resting against the collarbones.
Although the home is significantly unique in design it does altruistically follow the aesthetic of the island’s minimal topography incorporating the white washed walls of the bunkers that sporadically sprout from the ground amongst windmills and countless churches. The cubic round-edged form of the designer’s house was coated in a sound-resistant black rubber before it was painted white.
The relationship Minas has with his work translates from the way he creates his jewellery to the design of his home. The freeflowing rounded lines that guides you through the nooks and paths of the island home are like running your hand over the line of a hip narrowing and opening; the essence and touch of something very sculptural - sexual.
Minas carefully selected the materials for his home such as the windows made from triple-crystal and the use of stainless steel to test against the strength of the Meltemi winds in August and resist the salt spray from the Mediterranean sea. All the electrical wiring is buried underground so as not to interfere with the natural beauty of the landscape. As Minas explains; ‘I suffer from being overtly optical and I have a tremendous recording. If I see something wrong I come back here [at the desk in his studio] and sketch it, I am so optically sensitive which you might also say is my talent.’
His love for the melody of shapes and minimal ideals also accentuates his passion for music, which inspires his creativity. He professes that ‘I always wanted to have a sign outside my studio ‘It’s only because of the music’. Maybe I am just a frustrated musician, because when I was young I played the classic violin until I realized I wasn’t built as a musician.’ Instead Minas surrounds himself with the musical company of Keith Richards and Ronnie Woods from the Rolling Stones for whom he created bespoke silver bottleneck rings and a silver bar to play lap steel and slide guitar.
Combining a golden ratio of senses in his designs, he fuses beauty and functionality, rhythm and harmony. With a passion for ancient Greek philosophy Minas creates with a conscious respect for an inner economy of gaining the most you can from as little as possible.
Minas, a man with a love for ‘shapes, simple shapes’, creating and mastering his unique vision for art, design, music and life. www.minastudio.com
smooth narrow pathways outline the cubic structures
atop the hill lies the ghost of concrete, a mist of horizontal and vertical lines, behold the place of worship for the gods
PHOTOGRAPHY | ALEX PETSETAKIS
Temple 7 37N 43° 23.54” | 24E 3° 7.78”
Temple 1 37N 53° 28.97” | 23E 55° 10.70”
Temple 2 37N 53° 55.79” | 23E 56° 6.32”
Temple 3 37N 41° 25.71” | 24E 2° 49.86”
Temple 6 37N 43° 28.92” | 24E 0° 58.62
Temple 4 37N 41° 25.71” | 24E 2° 49.86”
Temple 5 37N 48° 43.52” | 23E 58° 59.35”
‘La Mer’ Claude Debussy 1905 Orchestral composition that obeys the rules of the golden ratio. The organization of the sections and the main climax of the piece sits at the φ position.
Γ. Χ. , ‘epreuve d’artiste’ [artist’s proof], 1980, collage
MICHAEL, ELISABETH & DINO PETSETAKIS CHARLIE VOWDEN AMBER SINCLAIR MATTHEW REINHOLD OLEG MITRAFANOV ROSS ASTON ELENI MALAMI JENNY LAW LAVINIA CHOREMI ALEXIA MICHALOS STEPHI CHOREMI TATIANY STAMATELATOS ATHINA RAGIA NIKOLAS VENTOURAKIS ARION SPIRIDIS MINAS SPIRIDS GINA SPIRIDIS JULIA BJORKEHEIM MICHAELYN COXON ZHENG WANG ASH ROBINSON FRANCESCO CASCAVILA
SIMONE PASZTOREK AND BYBOTH CREATIVE STUDIO HORMAZD NARIELWALLA MASASHI KAWAMURA ANNA MURRAY AND PATTERNITY DESIGN STUDIO
A MAGAZINE OF DESIGN AND FASHION