Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Berlin; Katja Hettler, industrial designer and Jula Tullman, architect founded redmaloo.
Redmaloo developed after Hettler and Tullman won an award for a foldable laptop sleeve inspired in the japanese kimonos.

At first they used kimono fabrics printed in japanese motifs, but when red maloo came to life the fabric was changed to colorful 3 mm felt. With this change of material the concept became stronger without the need of the printed japanese patterns as reference or even the kimono, the design works and felt allowed much more simplicity which was probably also embeded in the original idea.

The images look like graphics or plans but with extreme simplicity. There is nothing to add or nothing to remove. They strive for being "minimal, traditional and modern at the same time".

The modern German meets traditional Japan in an object made out with the minimum processes; minimal cutting and sewing.
Lets say with reserve that this meeting is not very deep and more or less quite formal, like a marketing slogan or and aesthetic catchy phrase.

The unfolding of your computer might become a whole ritual in itself, the unwrapping of a present.
But more than the Japan reference the design works; making one forget if there is somehow something deeper in the reference of the kimono, as wearing one, or getting dress in one as this might mean something completely different from wrapping your computer for practical and aesthetical reasons. However it would be interesting to deepen the differences between the ritual in wrapping your body, with that of wrapping your tools or even the extension of yourself which is your Apple computer. As for the modern and the handmade, some will complain the handmade cannot be modern (read previous entries on modernism) or is it just an aesthetic statement without substance?

The laptop sleeves are beautiful and well solved as the design makes the most of the qualities of the material.

There are other accesories; all for the different Apple gadgets and they match perfectly well the Apple aesthetic. Colors, simplicity, functionality, clean. I would say they got inspiration from Apple more than from kimonos. The iphone cases are not that interesting but they still are colorful.
Also would like to know what maloo means if something?


1 comment:

  1. This simplicity can only be reached by a very determined mode of production which cannot truly be defined as being traditional and handmade. The pieces have to be patterned via die cut or laser cut, semi industrial process, factory work that can be done in small batches or mass production. The sewing very likely happens at a workshop, yes people with their hands use sewing machines. Handmade? The scale (I mean the quantities produced) sometimes justifies the title of the production, but still this is a mix of mechanic or tecnhological and hand labour.
    The traditional Japan meeting the modern. Cannot find the traditional in the design, the use, the materials, the shapes except by reference to a formal inspiration. The modern and the minimal seem absolutely to stand as a mere aesthetic approach a language that probably makes the clientele feel reasured. As this kind of statements confirm that they belong to this category or people; modern, traditional and minimal. Lets not forget the belonging to a certain class of creatives with a certain kind of knowledge of words used commonly in design or architecture. Modern as a term seems to be outdated it depends on the context but it references to the past yet not precisely traditional. On regards to the minimal, the mode of production involved with the term has nothing to do with minimalism but in the way redmaloo´s mode of production or final product is fabricated with minimal cuts and minimal sewing.

    We have no escape, we are at funny times with thousand references from a thousand corners used as lightly as one wishes to do so, mixing them up and twisting them down.