Ever since Mark Holmes and Tamara Caspersz launched Minimalux in London eight years ago, the duo has been steadily building a collection of personal design items that are refined in material and finished by hand – for Minimalux beauty is always found in the detail.
It is the atelier model of Minimalux and its focus on beautiful materials, formal simplicity, understated modernity and longevity, that is a breath of fresh air (and taste) amongst the plethora of products on the market. Their very tailored approach to everyday objects has attracted a loyal following of collectors and the attention of Casper Vissers, cofounder and former CEO of Moooi and now creative entrepreneur with an eye for talent, who recently invested in the group.
"The thinking behind Minimalux can be summarised in the name itself”, says Mark. "A minimal approach to form together with solid, lasting materials and impeccable finishing. We wanted to bring to the market a concept of luxury that wasn’t based on opulence or decadence, just substance and sound timeless values.”
In their previous collaboration, founders Mark Holmes and Tamara Caspersz were behind the design group Established & Sons where the skills of bespoke craftspeople and factories across Britain were harnessed and nurtured to produce collections of furniture and accessories that highlighted the skills of the makers, and also helped buoy the local industry. It’s this artisanal sensibility that they bring to Minimalux, this time around with a focus on small.
With Mark as the creative director delivering designs and brand concept, and Tamara as commercial strategist and public relations director, a typical day at the Minimalux HQ includes working with their teams of craftspeople across Europe and the UK, overseeing the product distribution cycle, communicating with clients all over the world, and directing and producing a daily round of media content from their in-house film and photographic studio. When we talk, they are on the hop, working on the global release of a new lamp called Stem.
Choosing the right partners with the skills required for small bespoke ranges, and overseeing all stages of the making process, the collection takes shape like a beautifully crafted suit from Saville Row – and like the work of a great tailor, Mark also describes their favourite details as those that are most hidden.
"There’s a nice way the back of our pocket mirror detatches to allow you to clean or replace the glass”, Mark explains. “You wouldn’t know it was there if we didn’t tell you. The collection is full of very well engineered elements that all help to maintain the products and expand their life… all without complicating or compromising our very reduced and simple formal language.”
The balance achieved between tradition, advances in manufacturing technologies and hand-finished detailing is the secret behind the Minimalux offering.
Collaboration with the best craftspeople and engineers takes Minimalux to small quality-driven factories and ateliers in Europe and the UK. They now produce 90% of the collection in the UK and that includes a few factories still based in the heart of London. Expert engineers deliver their particular surface finishing and each stage of production is refined through communication with craftspeople nurtured and developed over the years. .
"I think we are unique in using the finest jewellery polishers for most of our small goods, not just for the jewellery," Mark explains. "The production of our Pill Tubes is fascinating too. They are literally grown from nothing in tanks of copper particles, each one takes a whole day to fully form."
Materials including metal, glass and leather, are chosen for the character found in their natural finish. The core material is metal, and in particular brass, explains Mark. "It machines beautifully and in its raw un-lacquered state develops a most beautiful natural and subtle patina.”
Collection favourites include the leather encased dainty pocket mirror, travel pens and ballpoints which are pure expressions of form, as well as homeware pieces including Dish 60 and the U Candleholder. Each design is fresh and contemporary but also feels familiar, like they have traversed time.
"I think it’s all about trying to create something special. Objects that make you smile and become part of your daily life from the moment you wake”, enthuses Mark. "They are not meant to take over, but merely ‘season’ your world with their shared common attributes. They are small objects that quietly make a big difference!"
The Minimalux collection is available from Space – Australia.