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Matthijs Holland explores gender identity in his photographic series, NormALL. In a remarkable feat of disguise the artist manages to impersonate pharoah, pope and even geisha.

We displayed the series last September for the London Design Festival and thought it was high-time we gave it a spot on the blog.

The series contains five portraits depicting men and women throughout history who have transcended gender norms: the female pharoah, Hatshepsut; Pope Joan who allegedly disguised herself as a man to become the only ‘she-pope’ in history; Segawa Kikunojo III, a famous Japanese male actor who played female roles with particular flair; as well as Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, author of ‘I Am My Own Wife’, and Henry III of France who is thought to have engaged in same sex relations with his court favourites.

Matthijs hopes to give a voice to men and women across the world who face intimidation and persecution for being gay or transgender. After all, femininity and masculinity are social definitions. What about those of us who don’t fit inside the mould?

For further details on the portraits please email us at info@mintshop.co.uk

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Matthijs Holland NormAll, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, pigment ink on paper 62 x 91 cm

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We had the pleasure to celebrate our 15th birthday in Prague where we felt warmly welcomed by our friends Jana Zielinski and Jiří Macek. Apart from being amazing hosts, Jana and Jiří are also the founders of Křehký Gallery, and the promoters of the most unique Czech design. The country is currently gaining a great reputation in the design world and it is surely known for its long history of industrial manufacture.

Mint and Křehký share the same love for the captivating elegance of Czech design and we had the pleasure to showcase some of the best designers of the country in our gallery for London Design Festival 2013.

Mint. LDF 2013

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If you have visited Mint recently you would have undoubtably come across the exquisite new range of American walnut furniture by Smilow Design.   We were introduced to the beautifully crafted collection back in 2013 and we have now extended the collection to include various models from the current pieces, see photographs below.

P1020791_2The Woven Rush Lounge Chair at Mint.  Constructed from solid walnut with a  hand-woven rush seat & back.

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Our good friends Tereza Jarčičová and Michel Čáp have created the first Polaroid city guide, Spud. Armed with their trusty Polaroid camera they visit every inch of Prague seeking out the best spots the city has to offer.

Focusing on fresh places with unique atmosphere the guide depicts the best cafes, shops, creative studios and architectural sites. Spud approaches the people behind the projects, telling stories through the eyes of those who are shaping the city.

This is an independent guide for independent travellers and it is not to be missed!

Whether you are familiar with the extraordinary city, or new to its sights Spud makes for an interesting read.

You can check out the full listings on Spud @ http://www.spud.cz/en. Please share via social media and spread the word !

6_NaseMasoA polaroid of František Kšána in the butcher, Naše maso, Dlouhá Street, Prague.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 15.09.54A hand-drawn map of Prague illustrating the best spots in the city ! Illustration by Karolína Stryková.

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You might remember seeing Frej Wichmann’s furniture at Mint a few months ago. We showcased two of his innovative pieces during September’s LDF.

Everything the designer makes is crafted by hand. Concerned with sustainability, Frej found a way to incorporate recycled materials, such as plastic bags, into his work. Apart from the obvious environmental benefits, he hopes this will inspire small communities and local craftsmen to make use of the readily available materials that surround them. The Bubble Cabinet is even produced without electricity, demonstrating that great design can be produced in the most remote locations.

See him use a bicycle to turn a lathe and power the rope making machine here:

I work with conceptual furniture in the field between arts, crafts & design.  This allows me to be intuitive and spontaneous.  With a few set guidelines I start working directly with the materials.  I add interactive elements play to animate the physical bond between the user and the object.  My ideas are born through old production techniques that lead me towards new possibilities.”

54-MINT-LDF14-161The Bubble Cabinet on show at Mint’s 2014 LDF exhibition.  Also shown are plaster cups by Catinka Kerstin.

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Mint prides itself on unveiling new techniques and processes. One of our latest finds comes from a young Czech designer who engineers controlled explosions in ceramic.

Adam Zelezny graduated last year from Umprum Academy in Prague. We picked up his graduation project ‘The Blast’ to show in September’s LDF exhibition.

“The Blast is a set of ceramic vessels that are shaped by a shockwave induced by controlled detonation. I am using a sophisticated system of explosive charges which – on basis of measurements and tests – determine the final shape of the bowls. As a result, I am presenting a set of different sized bowls which stand on the edge between fine and applied arts. The important point is the act of creation- the ‘blast’ event- which itself lasts no longer than the actual detonation. A shockwave shaping the bowl spreads at supersonic speed and partially imprints itself into the ceramic mass. It is a kind of punk analogy to an industrial porcelain production.”

The slow motion video below captures the formation of the bowls during the explosion.  It’s an amazing new technique that requires a lot of training and skill so please don’t try this at home !

If you have any questions about the Blast bowls please contact us at info@mintshop.co.uk.

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Last week the winners of the illustrious Wallpaper* Design Awards were announced. I’m pleased to reveal that Minimalux are the winners of the ‘Best Grid‘ category with the sleek Hash bookshelf ! You can see the brass version – also available in polish steel- in situ now at Mint. Alternatively if you have any questions about the piece please contact us by email to info@mintshop.co.uk

The Hash is a solid, free standing structure that is constructed from a mesh of 33 individual, precision milled and hand polished solid brass bars, all mechanically fastened together to form a visually enticing framework and resting place for books and magazines.’ The non-lacquered brass can be treated to keep it’s luxurious shine or can simply be left to gradually gain it’s own, unique patina.

Continue reading for more images of the expertly crafted brass bookshelf as well as the nominees article featured in this months issue of Wallpaper* magazine.

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Some of the most intriguing objects we’ve come across over the years have been pieces of jewellery. These tiny treasures have always been welcome guests at Mint, especially during the design festival in September. Last year, we handpicked two graduates from CSM, Tresy Liaunardy and Charlotte Emily Fisher, to represent their craft.

Rose Petal Jewellery by Tresy Liaunardy

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