Sydney Living - Kitchen & Bathrooms Design Direction the Minosa way

Sydney Living - Kitchen & Bathrooms Design Direction the Minosa way - FEATURE ARTICLE

Design direction - Dynamic duo, Darren Genner and Simona Castagna met under unusual circumstances – inside a cupboard – but it’s this out of the ordinary partnership that worked

By Belinda Crestani

Based in Sydney when they met, Simona had studied design at tertiary level and was employed by a stylish European kitchen design outfit while Darren had worked his way into the world of design with various local kitchen manufacturers.

Their chance meeting was at her company’s luxury furniture showroom where she found Darren literally poking around inside a cupboard there, inspecting the fixtures. Simona put her head in the cupboard and asked Darren, “Which kitchen company do you work for?”
And that was to become the start of a blossoming friendship. They spent the next two years talking and developing their instant connection for design. “We loved Italian design and their commitment to quality materials and workmanship. And we knew we could recreate that here,” says Darren.
Minosa was born as a thought, according to Darren, conceived while he was stuck in traffic. He’d just created a conceptual idea, a 3D CAD image of what would become their first product - the Mimmee washbasin. This started the wheels in motion and was the start of a plethora of other products.

The initial design bloomed into a range of distinctive basins, furniture pieces and accessories, complemented by Italian tapware.
The first basin models, The Puddle and the Scoop have received market success as have the Ovo and Kava designs. The Scoop design has since been reworked into the ScoopED. After receiving a Housing Institute of Australia award in 2003, Minosa has since been honoured with a variety of industry recognition and awards in the luxury bathroom niche.

Passionate about the environment, the team at Minosa has developed a range of basins made from Corian. A solid surface material that is made with acrylic resins and natural aluminium, Corian is 100 per cent recyclable. This means it will stand the test of time and also sits within the Minosa company ethos.

As a reaction to Sydney’s growing water crisis back in 2003, Darren and Simona created the Puddle washbasin. “Creating flat or shallow washbasins was never the real challenge,” explains Darren, “the challenge was to understand the way water responded to flat surfaces.” They sought smart water saving technology to complement this new design practice for their new range of basins, not only to avoid splashback but to also highlight the excessive amount of water running through most people’s taps. “When we first asked about ways of reducing water flow, plumbing suppliers thought we were tree-hugging hippies,” he recalls. “There had to be a way of addressing water flow, bringing it from 20 litres per minute to 4-6 litres per minute. When we found the answer, we knew we had a great product to take to the market,” he adds.

“In our opinion, 4-litres per minute is more than enough for people’s daily washing and shaving,” says Simona. “People don’t need anywhere as much water as they think.”

Minosa was born because bathroom designers Darren and Simona saw an opportunity to design and manufacture European style high quality bathroom ware, locally. Successfully combining unique style with excellent craftsmanship and water-saving design, the Minosa brand is unlike anything else on the market.

Since that chance encounter in a cupboard, this dynamic duo has since become partners in work, and in life.

In Focus
A luxury bathroom brand, Minosa was launched in 2001 by award-winning designers, Simona Castagna and Darren Genner. “Being a boutique business we have to wear many hats but the main role is establishing the design direction,” he says. Minosa’s vision is ‘Quality without Compromise,’ creating stunning bathroom products.

When asked what the three most important elements people need to get right in the bathroom, Darren was quick to respond, “Design, plan and implement,” he answers. “Many people choose to build or design on the fly but this is where horror stories start. Choose a designer, one whose style sits with what you want and then go through the design process, ticking boxes and ensuring that your design brief is met,” is his advice.

Minosa has identified a design trend and that is the increasing use of natural materials like stone and wood in the bathroom. “These products are unpredictable and have a beauty all on their own,” he adds, “While we, as the designers, choose the palette, we can never choose exactly how they will sit in their space. Another wonderful quality in using these materials is natural products tends to age, showing their true character over time.”

Occupation: Designer
State: NSW
Company: Minosa

About Design09
What was your inspiration for the winning bathroom?
The inspiration was to create a luxurious bathing space for two and a place where our clients could escape the stress that a busy life often brings.
Describe the overall style of the bathroom.
This bathroom is classically modern. Through the use of natural woods, a contemporary space has been created while our Ovo washbasins really soften the atmosphere.

Were any challenges faced before, during or after the design?
This was a very challenging project as our clients had a very strong brief with a lot of requirements. The most challenging aspect was the narrow nature of the room.

What products do you enjoy using in your projects?
We love the Minosa collection of washbasins and all that they represent; locally designed and manufactured and environmentally responsibly made from Corian, they are stunning inclusions. Another great product is the Gessi tapware. Gessi’s products are made to the highest order and its design aesthetic is perfect.

Sydney Living - Kitchen & Bathrooms Design Direction the Minosa way - FEATURE ARTICLE


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