The Design King of Knurling, Massimo Buster Minale Inspires This Year’s Biggest Trend

by Karen LeBlanc

Buster + Punch’s Trifecta of Muses: Motorcycles, Metalwork & Music

Architect and industrial designer Massimo Buster Minale calls himself the Black Sheep of the Design World creating products from lighting to custom motorcycles that blend knurled detailing with rock star chic.

I first met Massimo in 2013, at The London Design Festival where he was launching the Buster + Punch label born of his passion for motorcycles, metalwork and music. Check out our interview where he promises to “Kick Minimalism in the teeth.”

Since then, I credit Massimo’s precision cut metal work, inspired by the knurled detailing of his custom-made motorcycle handles, with popularizing the design trend of knurled detailing evident in kitchen and bath fittings, fixtures, furniture and home decor accessories.

“We have become famed for our diamond-cut knurling technique, which we first used on motorbike handlebars and footpegs back in the day. The reason why we use this across our interior product ranges is for two reasons – firstly it shows that we use solid metal in all our products (you can only successfully knurl solid metal) and secondly it captures our DNA – so no matter how ‘ordinary’ a light pendant or cabinet pull might seem, ours have a special story and feel that is hard to put your finger on,” says Minale.

Today, Buster + Punch is a global brand of interior products including lighting, furniture, and fittings crafted with signature design elements of solid knurled brass, quilted leather, and bronze gunmetal.  “Our work is inspired by London’s fashion, music and subculture scenes, where we collaborate with street artists, bike builders, musicians and fashion designers to inject attitude into our crafted products.”

 

Minale began his creative career as an architect working in for a large firm before starting his own firm, Minale + Mann.  “My first love has always been architecture. During the day, I worked for some of the largest architecture firms in London and at night found the time to build custom motorbikes. I became increasingly frustrated with architecture because it is a very slow profession. As an antidote, I threw myself into my bikes, both riding and building,” Massimo says.

Minale’s irreverent approach to design comes from the gut, an outlier attitude that bucks trends and takes risks. His work defies conventions in the interior products industry drawing from a creative symbiosis between custom bikes and home decor.

“Each custom motorcycle reflects the personality and style of its owner. “We will always start by finding out what bikes or cars hold an emotional connection with that customer, then we will check out their homes and wardrobes and then we do the rest behind ‘closed doors’ i.e. we will not let a customer see the bike until it is finished……this is very risky, but gives each design a purity that is rarely found these days. We do the same with our products – we rarely use data or general opinion/trends, but go by our guts and hearts and more often than not this serves us well.”

For a cinematic look inside the design mind of Buster + Punch, check out this new short film, Switch Up, starring supermodel Cajsa Wessenberg with music by British Rapper Ms Banks, playing the role of Buster and Punch’s as Artificial Intelligence.

Expect these three design stories to continue evolving as we create spaces that reflect our personalities and promote healthier lifestyles. For more on what’s new and next in design, subscribe to The Design Tourist Channel and sign up for the blog email.

 

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