Thin black lines trend Curated by Yellowtrace


You guys probably know by now how much I love the humble simplicity and the sophistication of thin black lines as I’ve spoken about them a number of times before. My first fascination with lines started when I was doing a stint of teaching at a design school, in which we were exploring the concepts of ideas, forms and design elements, the basic one being the humble line. This was a real wake up call for me, as I realised how easy it is to forget that something as simple as a line can be so powerful and visually striking.

As it’s been nearly 5 years since I first wrote about my love for thin black lines, I thought it would be fun to revisit this topic after all this time. It’s interesting to note that this story remains as relevant today as it was back then. In fact, I’ve personally noticed many, many designers and makers continuing to embrace thin black lines by making them a central theme in countless art pieces, installations, fashion designs, lighting, furniture and even entire interiors.

Many of today’s examples are like tracings of concept sketches brought to life, devoid of any superfluous decoration. Others showcase cunning manipulations, repetition and layering. All of them equally beautiful or interesting. I sincerely hope you enjoy this selection.


Related Posts: 
Thin Black Lines.
Thin Black Lines Revisited // Wardrobes & Clothes Racks.

See More ‘Stories on Design’ Curated by Yellowtrace.


Marlena Kudlicka unprotected 0 horizontal 2015 sculpture and collage | Yellowtrace
Image © Marlena Kudlicka.


‘Unprotected 0 (horizontal)’ Installation by Marlena Kudlicka // The work of Marlena Kudlicka follows the tradition of constructivist art. Her sculptures, born in the mechanics of language, are deeply connected with the construction process. She explores the intrinsic relationship between error and its derivatives, determines how present they are in the sculpture to be made, and then creates what she calls “recipes”.


V Ave S R Concept Store by Guise | Yellowtrace


V Ave Shoe Repair Concept Store by Guis // Stockholm fashion store designed by Swedish studio Guise featuring shelves that seem to concertina down from the ceiling. Called Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, the interior features white walls and black graphic elements. Garments are displayed on grids made of thin black metal rods.


Molteni&C Installation Ron Gilad London Design Festival | Yellowtrace


The Molteni & C installation of Ron Gilad’s pieces at London Design Festival // Molteni&C and Dada celebrated an exclusive version of the Grado° Collection by Israeli artist and designer Ron Gilad during London Design Festival 2013. The installation comprised the hanging, diagonal 45°/libreria bookcase, small 45°/tavolino table, the oval Panna Cotta table made of Grey Carnico marble, the 45°/specchiera mirror and the 45°/tavolo table.


Totem by Edgar Orlaineta | Yellowtrace
Image courtesy of the artist & Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles.


‘Totem after Ettore Sottsas’ by Edgar Orlaineta // This wire-framed shelving system by the Mexican artist Edgar Orlaineta is a playful take on Ettore Sottsass’ iconic Carlton bookcase. Brilliant!

Related Post: Stories on Design //  Modern Memphis Movement.


Living Light by Nissa Kinjalina | Yellowtrace

Living Light by Nissa Kinjalina | Yellowtrace
Images © Nissa Kinjalina.


Living Light by Nissa Kinzhalina // Kazakhstan-based designer Nissa Kinjalina has created a lamp that appears as a diaphanous container, into which the light was poured. The light can be picked up and carried around “like a handbag”. Hmmm… I’m Not sure I’d leave the house with it.


Wireflow Pendant by Arik Levy for Vibia | Yellowtrace

Wireflow Pendant by Arik Levy for VIBIA | Yellowtrace
Images © Vibia.


‘Wireflow’ by Arik Levy for Vibia // ‘Wireflow’ explores geometries in two and three dimensions through a series of pendant lighting fixtures which are composed of simple elements, whereby from certain angles they appear flat, like a line drawing suspended in the air. Designed by Arik Levy, the structures are formed by thin rods which end with LED terminals for illumination, continuing the visual fluidity of the lines. Produced by spanish company VIBIA, ‘Wireflow’ explores presence and absence, transparency and luminosity, light and fluidity.


Untitled by Fred Sandback | Yellowtrace

Untitled by Fred Sandback | Yellowtrace

Untitled by Fred Sandback | Yellowtrace


Untitled (Cornered Triangle, Fifth of Ten Cornered Constructions) by Fred Sandback // Using acrylic yarn, Fred Sandback makes minimalist sculptures that impress themselves upon the eye as objects with volume and mass. Sandback’s “leaning” works, in which lengths of yarn are suspended diagonally between wall and floor, appear to fundamentally alter a space, while his floor-to-ceiling screens, varying in scale to engage the potential of each space, possess an architectural presence. The subtlety of the artist’s choice of material allows the spaces between the lines to become as visible as the lines themselves.


Horizons Installation by Neil Dawson at Gibbs Farm | Yellowtrace

Horizons Installation by Neil Dawson at Gibbs Farm | Yellowtrace
Photograph by Gibbs Farm.


‘Horizons’ Installation by Neil Dawson at Gibbs Farm // Neil Dawson’s ‘Horizons’ installation is one of the earliest sculptures to be commissioned for the Gibbs Farm in New Zealand. Sitting on one of the highest points on the property it is also one of the few works that can be seen from the road. This seems fitting, given the way the tromp l’oeil character of the work is suggestive of a giant piece of corrugated iron that might have blown in from a collapsed water tank on some distant farm.


Urban Philosophy Chair by Nisa Kinzhalina | Yellowtrace


‘Urban Philosophy’ Chair by Nissa Kinzhalina // Depending what angle of approach you take to this chair, you will first see either a traced rectangle or an irregular polygon. Made of transparent acrylic, only a few of the edges are framed in black metal. From a distance, this frame is all you can see. The fully functional chair reveals itself only from up close.


Photographers Weekendhouse by General Design | Yellowtrace

Photographers Weekendhouse by General Design | Yellowtrace
Photography © Daici Ano.


Photographer’s Weekend House by Shin Ohori/ General Design // The slender structural elements of this elegant house are highlighted in black, creating a dramatic overall effect. In contrast to a simple external volume of rough concrete, an internal space enclosed with walls is designed to show the depth of space as well as interplay of light and shadow.


Stair by Francesco Librizzi Milan | Yellowtrace


Stair by Francesco Librizzi Milan // This fine work belongs to an Italian architect Francesco Librizzi and is situated in an original 1900s building in Milan. Ok, so let’s just ignore for a moment that this design doesn’t actually comply with the stringent building regulations in this country. Also, let’s forget about the practicalities of climbing up thin steel frame “treads” (it’s just like a glorified three-dimensional ladder). But how awesome is it?

Read the full article about this project & see more image here.


Avoa Chair by Pedro Paulo Venzon | Yellowtrace


Avoa Chair by Pedro Paulø-Venzon // The Avoa Chair by Pedro Paulø-Venzon plays with transience and simulation. The chair is not reminiscent of a ‘classic’ design, and it’s materials and perceptions of absolute comfort challenge the convention. The chair is a game played between precision and deconstruction. Yeah, but will it break if I sit on it? So hot though.


String Lights by Michael Anastassiades for Flos | Yellowtrace


String Lights by Michael Anastassiades for Flos // String Lights look at a different concept of dividing space architecturally. “When I sit on a train, travelling, and I look out of the window, I always see these strings of electricity that connect the pylons. It’s just so beautiful, and so poetic the way they connect the pylons whilst at the same time they divide the landscape. I wanted to translate this vision and this discipline into an interior environment,” says the designer.


Michael Anastassiades MC 8 at Euroluce 2015 | Yellowtrace

Michael Anastassiades MC 10 at Euroluce 2015 | Yellowtrace


Mobile Chandeliers by Michael Anastassiades // Positioned between fine art and design, Anastassiades’ work aims to provoke dialogue, participation and interaction. His latest mobile chandelier collection, released at Euroluce 2015, is a natural evolution of the series first introduced in 2008. All pieces are individually “tailored” with each element perfectly balanced in total equilibrium. Extreme love doesn’t quite sum it up.

Related Posts:
Best New Lighting at Euroluce 2015 // MILANTRACE 2015.
Video Highlights from Euroluce 2015 // MILANTRACE 2015.


My Couch, My Canvas by Annebet Philips | Yellowtrace

My Couch, My Canvas by Annebet Philips | Yellowtrace


My Couch, My Canvas by Annebet Philips // Dutch designer Annebet Philips cut this sofa and its cushions from a single block of foam and covered it with a blank canvas, creating an illusion of an unfinished cartoon. The black lines of the canvas cover mark out the edges of the cushions, which are completely integrated into the foam backrest and armrests.


Hermes Menswear Fall Winter 2012. Photo by Jacob Sutton | Yellowtrace
Photo by Jacob Sutton.


Thin Outlined Dress Shirt by Hermès // A man for all seasons – Hermès menswear Fall-Winter 2012 shirt with supple straight collar in white cotton poplin with paintbrush-stroke highlights.


La Maison de La Celle-Saint-Cloud House by Jean-Pierre Raynaud | Yellowtrace


La Maison de La Celle-Saint-Cloud by Jean-Pierre Raynaud // In 1974 Jean Pierre Raynaud opened ‘La Maison de La Celle-Saint-Cloud’ in Paris, a house and art installation comprised entirely of white tiles. The space displays ultimate perfection and flawlessness. Sadly the house closed down in 1988 and was subsequently knocked down in 1993, the fragments of which, have since been exhibited in various places.

Read the full article about this project & see more image here.


Jan Plechac Icons Milan 2011 | Yellowtrace
Image courtesy of Jan Plecháč.


‘Icons’ by Jan Plecháč // Jan Plecháč reinterpreted iconic chairs by highlighting their contours as a sort of elegant wire sketch, in a graphic-design-meets-furniture reinterpretation.

Related post: SaloneSatellite | Milan 2011.


LINEE Chair by Taewoo Kim Salone Satellite 2013 | Yellowtrace

MODIFIED Coat Hanger by Taewoo Kimat Salone Satellite | Yellowtrace


LINEE Chair and MODIFIED Coat Hangerby Taewoo Kim // The Linee chair is made with 12 lines. The structure is constructed by connecting the points of force with as few lines as possible, in order to achieve a stable and efficient structure. Modified coat hanger is restructured through modification and change. Since the structural detail of the cut part functions as a hook, it can be used directly to hang the clothes.

Related post: SaloneSatellite | Milan 2011.



Gentle Hint Chairs by Nissa Kinzhalina | Yellowtrace


Gentle Hint Chairs by Nissa Kinzhalina // Gentle Hint chairs by Kazakh designer Nissa Kinzhalina look like unfinished sketches when viewed from the side. The two Gentle Hint chairs, one high bar stool and one low dining chair, have a minimal framework composed of powder-coated metal rods joined together to give the appearance of a continuous strip. Sick.


Wire Frame Furniture by NOIZ Architects | Yellowtrace

Wire Frame Furniture by NOIZ Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography © Kyle Yu.


‘Wireframe Furniture’ by NOIZ Architects // The ‘Wireframe collection’ by Noiz Architects consists of a series of ‘digitalised’ furniture and objects designed for the lobby of the Museum of National Taipei University of Education. Created from 3mm black steel rods, bent and welded according to their templates. These pieces are deliberately constructed to resemble raw outlines in three-dimensional computer modelling software to develop a sense of illusion against reality.


Eclipse Speaker by Jack Huston | Yellowtrace
Photo © Ella Bates-Hermans.


Eclipse Speaker by Jack Huston // Curves created by weight versus straight structural lines is the idea young designer Jack Huston explores with his speaker design titled Eclipse. It looks a bit like a grasshopper or a mantis, no?


Caramel Yasmin Müller | Yellowtrace


‘Caramel’ Yasmin Müller // Artist Yasmin Müller’s exhibition, Caramel, was on display at Cruise & Callas Berlin in 2014. The five black metal objects were arranged to initially confront the viewer with a cold aesthetic and repelling strength. While they are reminiscent of furniture, the functionality has been stripped away from these objects and it’s impossible to sit on them. By doing so, the objects outgrow their original function and developed further from original form, transforming into an individualised subject.


Linea Alvaro Diaz Hernandez | Yellowtrace


“Linea” Magazine Rack & Coffee Table by Alvaro Diaz Hernandez // Alvaro Diaz Hernandez’s Linea coffee table and magazine rack is a collection that imbues the strength of the line. All pieces are purposely designed to be used as both sculptural and industrially purposeful functional forms. The pieces are made of powder-coated steel members, welded together to create a series of calculated and rigid forms. The interpretation of Linea is ultimately left up to the user and their intent.


Drawings by Daniele de Batte | Yellowtrace


Drawings by Daniele de Batté // These drawings are the result of the graphic research that Daniele de Batté started with the studio Artiva. The main theme is the module, the harmonic repetition between full space and empty space. They can be seen as notes of a creative process in progress instead of finished works.


018 Chair by Simon Freund | Yellowtrace


018 Chair by Simon Freund // Simon Freund’s collection is a range of products that will grow constantly. All products are a part of an open edition. Redefining over-consumed goods, Simon Freund focusses on quality while arguing the eternal use of the object itself.


Clothing Rails by Annaleena | Yellowtrace


Clothing Rails by Annaleena // These minimalist Clothing Rails by Swedish designer Annaleena Leino is perfect for a modern interior. Available in three styles – rectangular, square, and circular.


Molteni&C Console 60 & Tavolino 35 by Ron Gillard | Yellowtrace
Photo © Molteni & C.


Grado° (Display Cabinets) by Ron Gillard for Molteni & C // Ron Gilad’s collection of furniture, Grado°, underlines the designer’s interest in basic geometric shapes. Shown here are the 60°/ Console and 35°/ Tavolino “open box” table, of which we can only see the contours. Elements of pure light that appear to suggest hidden treasures.


Panna Cotta Coffee Table by Ron Gillard for Molten&C | Yellowtrace


Panna Cotta Coffee Table by Ron Gilad for Molteni C // At once delicate and heavy, the paradox lies in the use of materials such as marble and steel to achieve a fragile stability. Base and top are made of black or white lacquered metal, combined with tone-on-tone white Carrara and grey Carnico marble.


TT3 Bookshlef by Ron Gillard for Adelle C | Yellowtrace


TT3 Bookshelf by Ron Gillard for Adelle C // The shelving system TT3, or TT cubed, is the conceptual expansion of the TT coffee tables by Ron Gillard. Rectangular shelves and trays in Italian Walnut are inserted by a simple magnetic system in the metal structure.


Extra-Ordinary Gallery, Bu! by Federico Floriani | Yellowtrace


Extra-Ordinary Gallery by Fabrica // Italian based communication research centre Fabrica launched ‘Extra-Ordinary Gallery’, a self-produced series of objects that reinterpret Italian craft traditions. The formal simplicity, shapes and materials of these objects become a tribute to the beauty of basic and small pleasures in life.

Read the full article about this project & see more image here.


Nendo Designed a New Table Collection for Solo Exhibition | Yellowtrace


Nendo Designed a New Table Collection for Solo Exhibition // Tokyo-based superstar studio Nendo has designed Border Table collection, created for a solo exhibition held at the “EYE OF GYRE” gallery in Omotesando during Tokyo Designers Week 2015. The designs utilise the element of space as part of its structure, seamlessly blending into the corners or edges of walls.

Read the full article about this project & see more image here.


Gentle Objects by Martin Mestmacher | Yellowtrace


Gentle Objects by Martin Mestmacher // Launched in August 2014 by German interior designer Martin Mestmacher and business partner Bodo Nicklas, GO by MM (Gentle Objects by Martin Mestmacher) is a line of geometric black steel-framed furniture. Extreme love over here at Yellowtrace HQ for this extraordinary debut collection that celebrates the beloved thin black line design meme.

Read the full article about this project & see more image here.


Verk Table by SNICKERIET | Yellowtrace


“Verk” Table by Snickeriet // VERK is a writing desk based around a drawer. The single drawer takes pride of place, it is given exaggerated proportions and the housing of the drawer forms the actual desktop. The veneer used was chosen for its distinctive character and rarity, and lacquered in such a way as to bring the grain out fully. The position with which the drawer is set into the steel frame of the desk creates spaces where a variety of personal items may be placed.


Permanent Daylight by Romeo Vidner & Jonas Liverod | Yellowtrace
Images courtesy of Re-public.


Permanent Daylight by Romeo Vidner & Jonas Liverod // ‘Permanent Daylight’ is designed in the format of a broadsheet newspaper to highlight a selection of Liverod’s art pieces. The packaging and associated promotional material for the release event was specifically designed to accompany the publication. The three separate elements are linked cohesively with the solid black line, which frames and connects the physical elements of the artwork.

Read the full article about this project & see more image here.


Three Legged Tea Table by Alex Valder | Yellowtrace


Three Legged ‘Tea Table’ by Alex Valder // Furniture designer Alex Valder’s three-legged Tea table combines skinny metal legs with a removable copper tray.


Naturally Furniture Collection by Alexandra Goncalves | Yellowtrace


‘Naturally Collection’ of Furniture by Alexandra Gonçalves // The fragile constitution of a flower holds a thin white skin – which is reflected in the production of the ‘Naturally Collection’ by Berlin-based designer Alexandra Gonçalves. The furniture series is comprised of a delicate black stainless steel structure, which creates the shape of each piece.


Minimalistic Basket Tables by Mario Tsai | Yellowtrace


Minimalist Basket Tables by Mario Tsai // Chinese furniture designer Mario Tsai has created a pair of tables with frames that allow them to be easily picked up and moved with one hand.


Antologia Bookshelf by Studio 14 for Mogg | Yellowtrace
Image © STUDIO 14 / Mogg.


‘Antologia’ Bookshelf by Studio 14 for Mogg // ‘Antologia’ is a modular wall bookshelf designed by STUDIO 14 for Italian furniture company Mogg. Made in iron, each module may be fitted as desired to create different geometries. Drawing their inspiration from The Matrix and Tron: Legacy motion pictures, the designers wanted to create some kind of 3-D handwriting on the wall emphasised by horizontal and vertical lines.


Spigolo Lamp by Studiocharlie for Omikron Design | Yellowtrace


‘Spigolo’ Lamp by Studiocharlie for Omikron Design // The ‘Spigolo’ lamp has a simple and essential form, created out of a virtual block formed by the lamp’s perimeter. The system is realized with extruded aluminium profiles connected through an orientable joint, with embodied high efficiency LED modules. The high-efficiency LED tubes slot into the frame and can provide either direct or diffused lighting.


Aria Floor Lamp by Nicoletta Binello for Davide Groppi | Yellowtrace


‘Aria’ Floor Lamp by Nicoletta Binello for Davide Groppi // Aria is a work on emptiness and lack, on light and shadow. The lighting source, placed asymmetrically, always generates different effects.


Match Light Sculptures by Jordi Vilardell & Meritxell Vidal for Vibia | Yellowtrace


‘Match’ Light Sculptures by Jordi Vilardell & Meritxell Vidal for Vibia // Unique and unrepeatable, ‘Match’ is much more than a light fixture. Using the product configuration software, Match allows you to create structures arranged chaotically, automatically generated online and adapted to fit into the room and the space available. The result are infinite artistic configurations based on thin rods of aluminum and LED light terminals, forming a light sculpture that illuminates central themes of space.


A Skinny Table by Seung Jun Jong | Yellowtrace

A Skinny Table by Seung Jun Jong | Yellowtrace
Images © Seung Jun Jong.


‘Chiuet Table’ by Seung Jun Jong // Created by South Korean designer Seung Jun Jeong, ‘Chiuet Table’ is an extremely skinny steel table that looks like a 2D stick drawing when viewed from certain angles. The minimal design piece consists of a thin surface supported by three legs spread out like a camera tripod.


Illusioni by Sebastiano Tosi | Yellowtrace


‘Illusioni Table’ by Sebastiano Tosi // Drawing influence from the unfeasible geometry of M.C. Escher’s impossible cube, designer Sebastiano Tosi created the ‘Illusioni Table’. The tables, made for Mogg Design, reflect the same illusion, with glass cubes that appear to float in zero gravity.


Linn Kandel Pylone Gris | Yellowtrace


‘Pylône’ by Linn Kandel // Swiss industrial designer Linn Kandel has created ‘Pylône’, a series of occasional tables inspired by the aesthetic and construction of electric towers, and the many ways their lines and structures interact with each other. The tables are made out of square, powder coated metal profiles, topped with a tinted glass tray.


Aile by Ferreol Babin | Yellowtrace


‘Aile’ Lamp by Ferréol Babin // Aile is a delicate and light desk lamp. A flat LED source is hidden under a curved piece of paper, sitting on a thin carbon rod. The presence of technology vanishes and gives way to an ethereal object. In contrast to this fragility, the circular aluminium base acts as a weight.


The Jug by Simon Kinneir | Yellowtrace


‘The Jug’ by Simon Kinneir // The Jug from The Leaven Range is a minimalist design created by UK-based Simon Kinneir. His growing range of everyday kitchen products are tuned to give extra sensory feedback beyond a reliance on sight.


Stan by Luis Arrivillaga | Yellowtrace


‘Stan’ by Luis Arrivillaga // ‘Stan’ by Luis Arrivillaga is a low table composed with universal design principles and simple geometry so that it can be appropriated to many settings. Two materials form the object; a rectangular sheet of glass and powder-coated tubular steel. The structure studies an equilibrium between all the active parts, creating a visual lightness with geometrical lines. Inspired by dutch artist Piet Mondrian, the linear obscurity changes when viewed from differing angles.


WireShade by Marc Trotereau | Yellowtrace


“WireShade” by Marc Trotereau // The “WireShade” project is an interpretation of the making and the use of the lampshade. The traditional making of a lampshade is a flexible and relatively easy process based on brazing metal rods. Marc Trotereau decided to adapt this way of making by creating a jig which gives the possibility to braze three metal rods together at the same time. This set up enable the production of three-dimensional cubical shapes. The structure is painted or powder-coated and then covered with corrugated plastic also known as ‘Correx’. The lampshade becomes a sculptural and unique object which can adapt its shape to any type of space.


LVDV i.s.m.architecten | Yellowtrace

LVDV i.s.m.architecten | Yellowtrace
Photography by Luis Diaz Diaz.


LVDV by i.s.m.architecten // LVDV is a renovation project by Belgian architecture practice i.s.m.architecten. The main goal of the renovation was to adapt the existing apartment to its new inhabitant. The existing structural wall that runs through the two compartments forms the backbone of the plan. All the barriers added are soft ones: glass doors, sliding doors and a pivoting cupboard, creating different degrees of transparency. Through the use of colour, the punctures of this structuring wall are articulated but only reveal themselves when a door is opened or a pivoting door is turned.


ZBL House by Paritzki & Liani Architects | Yellowtrace

ZBL House by Paritzki & Liani Architects | Yellowtrace
Photography by Amit Geron.


ZBL House by Paritzki & Liani Architects // Israeli studio Paritzki & Liani Architects has squeezed a house with an exposed brickwork interior into the space between two existing properties in Tel Aviv. Folded steel stair and metal mesh screens qualify this project for the Thin Black Lines hall of fame.


7 Responses

  1. kennethmason1kapm

    HORIZONS more like a sheet of wind tossed construction paper. Lighter and more amazing for it. Transforms heaviness of a working material into a lighter than air, wind tossed object. Set up wonderful dichotomy open lightness and somewhat closed heaviness. Wonderful and happy.



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