Exploring Soft Minimalism with Norm Architects’ new book

I had the pleasure reading the new book Soft Minimal by Norm Architects, published by gestalten*. It is a tactical manifesto and sourcebook, a carefully designed publication that seeks to highlight the values and design principles which guide the Danish practice for over 15 years, full of aesthetic inspiration for those who read it.

Founded in 2008, Norm Architects is a Copenhagen-based design studio that focuses on clean lines, functionality and a soft minimal aesthetic. Their new book is both a beautifully designed literary object and a functional artifact. The practice has approached the book with the same careful consideration involved in creating their spaces or objects. If you’re interested, I recently did a super inspiring interview with Norm’s Co-Founder Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen – read it here.

The content of the book is organized into eight thematic chapters, which underline the eight values and notions inextricably linked to the company’s design philosophy: nature, perception, space, void, essentialism, light and shadow, color, narrative and time.  “In its essence, Soft Minimal explains Norm Architects’ thought and design process to readers—inviting them into our minds.”

© Photo by Christian Møller Andersen, Soft Minimal by Norm Architects, published by gestalten
© Photo by Christian Møller Andersen, Soft Minimal by Norm Architects, published by gestalten
© Photo by Christian Møller Andersen, Soft Minimal by Norm Architects, published by gestalten

The book contains 300 photographs which are meant to illustrate the principles of soft minimalism. There are also essays within each chapter which further explain the beliefs and goals of the philosophy. Finally, there is a list of suggested further reading for those who are interested.

Our approach has been to make a poetic literary object that looks and feels beautiful, is functional, and hopefully leaves the user better than before they picked it up.

Norm Architects
© Photo by Christian Møller Andersen, Soft Minimal by Norm Architects, published by gestalten
© Photo by Christian Møller Andersen, Soft Minimal by Norm Architects, published by gestalten

This book is a visual and written exploration of the principles of Soft Minimalism. The visuals in the book are meant to be enjoyed and studied, with the accompanying essays providing further context and elaboration on the beliefs and goals that underpin Soft Minimalism. “Ultimately, we invite readers to sit and savour Soft Minimal—treating it as a tactile object to enjoy, a manifesto and a sourcebook in one, and returning again and again to the visual and cerebral qualities it offers.” they explain.

Soft Minimal is available online via gestalten* and selected stores. For more information about Norm Architects, click here.

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Aesence is a creative studio and digital design magazine with a high curatorial approach. Founded by Sarah Dorweiler, a creative mind and entrepreneur from Berlin, her goal is to capture the feeling of harmony, balance and inner peace in her curatorial work and photography.