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The Miniot Collection
MAKES APPLE SHINE
Miniot adds a touch of elegance and a mantle of protection to an iPad or iPhone. Miniot BV, a tiny independent woodworking shop located in Schagen, Netherlands, fabricates a line of wooden cases, covers and stands for mobile Apple devices. Peter Kolkman, the principal designer and creative genius behind the Miniot collection, began carving wooden accessories for iPods in 2005. The following year, Miniot introduced the iWood nano, a hand-crafted case designed speciﬁcally for the iPod nano. The iWood nano was carved from a single piece of wood and came in a variety of wood types which included maple, mahogany, pear, wengé and walnut.
The iWood nano caught on with Apple aﬁcionados, and Miniot quickly became a highly respected consumer brand. In 2008, Kolkman, along with his partner, Greet van den Berg, founded Miniot BV. Today, the ﬁrm employs eight skilled artisans who design and manufacture the items in the collection and also handle other aspects of the business including sourcing, woodworking and engraving.
Miniot products are prized for their elegance, quality, intelligent design and functionality. “To ensure these characteristics, the Miniot production process is quite intensive”, says Ofﬁce Manager Els Remijnse. From start to ﬁnish it takes about two weeks to make a Miniot iWood 5 for an iPhone 5. “It takes this long because of the different handling steps in the production process, like the dry time of the varnish and the polishing, assemblage, and quality control procedures,” Remijnse says. “Without giving away any of our trade secrets, I can say that the production process is quite thorough and different for each product.”
Miniot uses wood species from around the world, including walnut, maple, mahogany, oak, padouk, wengé, cherry, lauro faya, zebrano (zebra wood) and teak. They also experiment with other woods such as beech, purpleheart, African blackwood and rosewood. The ﬁrm uses only the ﬁnest wood species available, sourced from well-managed forests that are FSC-certiﬁed.
“Hardwood is important for the creation of our products,” Kolkman notes. “Its characteristics are essential for us to make the designs in the way we do. This is very ﬁne woodworking and there are variable challenges that we encounter.”
“Next to the technical part, there is a strong motivation to choose wood types which are attractive and distinctive. We look at the grain, features, color, darkness and feeling of the wood to determine whether they are suitable to be used for our Miniot Collection,” he adds.
Working with many wood types requires skill, knowledge and above all, patience. “After working with all of the various wood types for a few years, we have become experienced with the differences, and are able to adapt our techniques as necessary,” says Kolkman. “For example, wengé is a strong wood type but splinters are also common. When there is a soft stripe adjacent to a more ﬁrm stripe, it makes it difﬁcult to polish these evenly.”
“But there is no best wood,” says Remijnse. “It even depends per piece of wood how it reacts to the varnish. That’s the challenge but also the fun of working with wood. We generalize the wood types internally but always have exceptions which are easier, difﬁcult or suddenly react differently to our handling because of different moisture conditions, or other light exposure.” Among consumers, walnut is a “loved wood,” according to members of the Miniot team. Walnut is very workable and Miniot’s artisans take pride in ensuring that the cases, covers and sleeves they create ﬁt on a device like a glove on a hand.
Every piece of wood is different, and so each item in the Miniot collection is unique. “Occasionally, a special piece of wood like walnut, has ﬁgures including strips, burls, mottles, crotches, curls and butts that add to its character and beauty and make the ﬁnished product even more unique to beautiful,” says Remijnse.
Maple is frequently paired with other woods to create a harmonious contrast. Its creamy white color, subdued grain and uniform texture makes it a perfect complement to dark, aggressive or ﬁgured woods. The Miniot Cobra for iPhone 5 features strips of maple fused into a base of wengé or padouk. Maple is paired with walnut or wengé to create a contrasting effect in the Miniot Book for iPhone 5. The base of the Miniot Contour for iPhone 5 is rimmed with inlays of contrasting wood: wengé/maple, walnut/ maple, or oak/smoked oak wood.
“As for the design, it is not something that you have to over think,” says Kolkman. “Just let the wood speak and pay attention to what it is telling you. A designer thinks ﬁrst about what looks good, what feels good and what works well with each piece of wood.”Kolkman’s creativity gives shape to these ideas as prototypes.
“Miniot products are made from the best gift of nature: wood,” says Remijnse. Each piece of raw material is carefully selected and carved with precision. Our strategy is to use genuine wood, the choicest and most interesting types of wood that exist on the planet. To transform these woods from a raw material into a ﬁne end product takes a lot of time, ingenuity, skillful workmanship and careful handling.”
Miniot strives to create items of great quality, low environmental impact and high customer satisfaction that will be treasured by the customers who buy them. “These are premium products, and yes, they are costly,” says Remijnse. “We plan to stick to this strategy because we know that our customers value and enjoy our products, appreciate our way of working and ﬁnd them worth the money.” IW
ELS REMIJNSE, THE MINIOT TEAM
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