Concept Bank 01: A Quest to Minimalism

Concept Bank 01: A Quest to Minimalism

Each year, our in-house design studio comes up with hundreds of ideas, then we choose a select few that we bring to life. But while many are left on the shelves (for now), we have a little soft spot in our design hearts for all these unseen concepts that could’ve been. Concept Bank is our place to share the design stories and the creative process behind these unreleased ideas.  

Behind the Design: Leica x Native Union Reading Concept Bank 01: A Quest to Minimalism 4 minutes Next USB-C Simplified

Concept Bank 01: Concept Bank is a series where we share the design stories of unseen ideas with our community.  

Each year, our in-house design studio comes up with hundreds of ideas, then we choose a select few that we bring to life. But while many are left on the shelves (for now), we have a little soft spot in our design hearts for all these unseen concepts that could’ve been. This grooved charger is one of those concepts. 

An all-in-one charger for your iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch. Sound familiar? But one glance and you’ll see that its sculpturesque form is quite the departure from most multi-device chargers you’ve seen before. An idea born out of our quest towards even more minimalism. 

We set out on this project with a goal: remove as much as possible. The intention going into this was to keep only the essentials, rebuild from the ground up, and design a charger that doesn’t look like a charger.  

Always creating at the nexus between tech and design, we looked to the design industry to brainstorm this art-meets-tech solution. Below are four sources of inspiration that we used as our mood board. We hope they’ll inspire you, too.  

Ridge Vase by Muuto: Helsinki-based design studio Kaksikko reinterpreted the flower vase with architecturally inspired design. The duo behind the studio drew influence from structural details seen on their travels – a Parisian doorway inspired the vertical lines, rounded shape, and the ridge accent that gave the vase its name. While offering a unique way to display flowers, Ridge Vase is also undoubtedly a work of art in its own right.  

Leica ULTRAVID 8x32 "Edition Zagato": A collaboration between leading camera brand Leica and automotive atelier Zagato, this special edition of the Leica binocular is a marriage in quality and tradition. The aluminum casing is intricately grooved while the lenses are a metallic red, offering a distinctively elevated look and tactile feel.  

NOMOS Metro Date Power Reserve: The Bauhaus movement’s influence on NOMOS Glashütte is evident through the simple lines, geometric shapes, and modern materials of the brand’s timepieces. The Metro Date Power Reserve captures the same minimalist flair, elevated with pops of mint and red, the diamond studded lug, and the Empire State Building-inspired watch hands. The second had sits in its own textured dial, contrasting yet complementing the rest of the watch’s clean design.  

Drawings by Ronan Bouroullec: Renowned as one half of iconic sibling design duo Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Ronan draws to escape design. An intuitive practice where his subconscious runs wild and free, drawing to him is an exercise free from the planning and practical considerations of his day job. The results are organic shapes, a weaving together of lines that brings Ronan, and anyone who sees his artwork, a mesmerizing sense of calm. 

This concept for a new charger takes inspiration from the grooved details of these designs. Reflecting the charm of ancient Greek and Roman pillars, these scallop-shaped ridges offer a gentle contrast to the charger’s otherwise minimalist cylindrical structure. Place it anywhere, and it’ll infuse warmth and interest into your space.  

The grooved design is eye-catching in its minimalism, modern design that broadens the way we interact with our tech essentials. In a way, it’s a perfect representation of what we aspire to achieve with all our designs. “We want the things in our home to speak to us as individuals but that’s not usually the case when it comes to something as necessary as tech. The hope was to craft a piece that doesn’t just provide the necessary function of charging a device, but also one that you’re proud to adorn your space,” says Fabien, our Creative & Brand Director.  

At the end of the day, this stripped-down silhouette is still a charging stand. One pad on top for your iPhone, one behind for your AirPods and Apple Watch. Complete with adjustable angles for easy use while charging. It’s intuitive by design – break the clean column shape of the charger and twist the top half to change the angle for streaming and surfing. Just like opening the blinds or unfolding your laptop each day, the twisting motion becomes a small but sweet everyday ritual and, by effect, the charger a core part of your daily rhythm.