What does it mean to ‘curate’ a lifestyle? Some ‘Marie Kondo’ their homes. Others distill their digital experience; limiting their screen-time, whittling away the apps they use. In their fashion, one may search for timeless, sustainable garments suited to withstand a particular way of living, with less cost to the planet. No matter how one chooses to curate their lifestyle, embracing a more minimal approach to living means embracing products which connect on a deeper level.

Design is at the heart of curating a lifestyle. When less is more, the products we choose become essential; meticulously crafted in terms of purpose, sustainability and beauty. Mazda’s building on its heritage of Japanese craftsmanship–envisions a unique and human-centric approach to minimalist design: Kodo – Soul of Motion.

To explore the Kodo approach of the MX-30, Mazda invited two next-generation designers to talk about their own takes on minimalist design. Rachel Griffin, the Founder of Earnest Studio, has struck a balance of simplicity and multi-functionality in her products. Meanwhile, Wisse Trooster – Dutch designer, juror and scout–repurposes existing materials into beautiful, sustainability-driven products, ready to be scaled. Together and through their own unique lenses, they review the MX-30¹

Wisse and Rachel, what do you appreciate most in well-designed products?

Wisse: “I appreciate it when a product is good in itself, without necessarily knowing the story about, say, the technologies used to make it. The story shouldn’t be the most important element in good design. It can bring a product to life, but mostly in a complementary way. I recognise this in the Mazda MX-30. You don’t immediately see that the car is all-electric. It’s a good car in itself, with a robust appearance and beautiful rims. The fact that it’s sustainable is something that contributes to an already good product.”

Rachel: “I value a product that synthesises material, process, form, function and context in a sensible and thoughtful way. When each of these elements fits well with the others, you know that a product is working. That synthesis can be found in complex objects like the Mazda MX-30, as well as simpler things such as a vase.”

How do you approach aesthetics in your designs?

Rachel: “I would say that I am a soft minimalist. I am not a purist, but I do try to avoid using more than is necessary – “necessary” being what fits a particular material, process, function or context. For example, I recently designed a vase that would not be considered minimal by traditional standards, but rather tries to strike a balance between simplicity and humor.”

Wisse: “I have a background in industrial design, rather than from an art academy. This is because most of my products seek the balance between sustainability and scale, which translates into a sleek and straightforward design language. Also, I use materials that don’t need any explanation, but speak for themselves.”

Designers Review

How do you take into consideration the experience of the end-user in your design process?

Rachel: “User experience is not something that we can fully control, as people will inevitably find their own ways of interacting with a product. Still, I try to understand and imagine where and how a product will live in the world. During my process, context is always on my mind.”

Wisse: “I make my products as clear as possible. I want people to immediately understand what they can do with them. That, to me, is the smoothest product experience you can create.”

How do you see the balance of user experience, aesthetics and purpose in the MX-30?

Wisse: “The MX-30 doesn’t have any unnecessary bells and whistles. The car contains simply everything it needs, without distractions. The combination of all of this makes it really easy to use the car.”

Rachel: “The look and feel of the MX-30 is clean but comfortable. The experience of using the car is focused on familiarity, but without any unnecessary elements. This approach is ideal not only from the perspective of usability, but also sustainability: we should not use more than we need. I would describe this approach as the same ‘soft minimalism’ that I embrace in my own work.”

Designers Review

How do you see the next-generation of drivers interacting with the MX-30?

Wisse: “Young people are quite adaptive to new, sustainable technologies such as fully-electric vehicles. It is clear that Mazda recognizes this adaptability in their design of the fully-electric MX-30.”

Rachel: “Next-generation drivers are increasingly aware of their impact on the environment. Thanks to its thoughtful design, the MX-30 makes that aspiration of a smaller footprint more accessible. Not because of one feature or design element in particular, but because of the overall package: the car is fully-electric, uses recycled materials, is carefully crafted and still affordable.”



American-born, Rotterdam-based designer Rachel Griffin is the Founder of Earnest Studio. Griffin has a background in graphic design and graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven before starting her own company. Today she is responsible for some iconic Muuto pieces like the Kink Vase, and her work explores themes of modularity and multiplicity, driven by a fascination for simple, flexible structures with a forthright attitude toward materials. The work of Earnest Studio has been exhibited in Milan, London, Cologne, New York, amongst others, and has received nominations for numerous awards including the German Design Award and the Sight Unseen’s American Design Hot List.

The modern minimalism behind her pieces inspired us to invite Rachel to review the Mazda MX-30. Both Mazda and Rachel are constantly exploring how such a timeless design principle as minimalism is highly relevant to our society and keeps taking on new forms.

Instagram: @earnest_studio

Rachel Griffin

Kink Vase Design for Muuto

A closer look at Rachel’s work

Her Kink Vase design for Muuto brings a contemporary form to the archetypical flower vase through a combination of modern technology with traditional ceramic craftsmanship. As most of her work, it started with an exploration of process and material, and the interest in simple and modular shapes. Rachel’s background in graphic design can be found in the bold and humorous form.

The Mazda MX-30 reviewed by Rachel

“Recycled materials are used in a thoughtful and detailed way, and the freestyle doors provide the car with a free-flowing entrance to the interior. It’s designed almost like a living space.”

“Next-generation drivers are increasingly aware of their impact on the environment. Thanks to its thoughtful design, compact battery and sustainable design elements, the MX-30 makes that aspiration of a smaller footprint more accessible.”

Wisse Trooster

Wisse Trooster is a Dutch industrial designer based in Eindhoven, also working as a scout and juror to uncover forward-thinking design. In his own work, he has a strong focus on sustainability. The ultimate goal to breathe new life into old tools by repurposing them into fresh, functional products. Wisse presented his Hands of Time clock, with a clock face made from a worn sanding disc from Design Academy Eindhoven, at gallery Rossana Orlandi in 2017 and is amongst the Interior Design Best of Year honourees of 2018 with his sustainable cardboard 900 LED pendant.

We asked Wisse to review the Mazda MX-30 since his vision on sustainable design is in line with the way we approached our first all-electric vehicle. At Mazda and in his personal work, eco-conscious practices and materials inform product design without turning sustainability into a limiting aesthetic theme.

Instagram: @wisse_design

Wisse Trooster

Circular Wall Lamp

A closer look at Wisse’s work

The Circular wall lamp collection is Wisse’s most recent piece, a celebration of beauty in recycled materials. Its sleek appearance design shows how sustainable design can be achieved without making aesthetic concessions. The lamps are made of discs from multiple sources of recycled plastic and use energy-efficient LED light. What is better, the components can be further reused or recycled.

The Mazda MX-30 reviewed by Wisse

“The car contains simply everything it needs, without distractions. Mazda has made the MX-30 fully-electric, using a compact battery that has a range of about 200 kilometres. This is done without making the car look like any other electric vehicle out there. The MX-30 has a robust, contemporary appearance and beautiful rims.”

“Young people are adaptive to new, sustainable technologies such as fully-electric vehicles. It is clear that Mazda recognizes this adaptability in their design of the fully-electric MX-30.”


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¹ Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv: WLTP electricity consumption (combined) 19 kWh/100km; WLTP CO2 emissions (combined) 0 g/km. Vehicles are homologated in accordance with the type approval procedure WLTP (Regulation (EU) 1151 / 2017; Regulation (EU) 2007/715). NEDC electricity consumption (combined) 17.3kWh/100km; NEDC CO2 emissions (combined) 0g/km. To provide comparability the referred values are NEDC-values determined in line with Implementation Regulation (EU) 1153 / 2017.