It seems that minimalism has had its day. At the end of the 90’s most of us wanted to chuck out our chintz and live a modern “minimalist” lifestyle. However minimalism doesn’t seem to fit within our current culture that encourages maximalism (otherwise called consumerism). Also, the media and the Home Improvement market has totally misinterpreted minimalism and turned it into cheap, shallow nothingness. No wonder so many people now want colour, texture and things..
So what is proper minimalism?
Minimalism is more than just an architectural or interior design style; it goes beyond the aesthetic, reflecting a pre-modern cultural history, philosophy, religion and spirituality – expressed particularly by the wholeness of Zen-Buddhism. In spatial terms it is based on the Japanese understanding of nature and architecture whereby, through the senses, any enclosed space can be felt free by combining the timeless shapes of simple geometric figures such as the square, circle, cube and sphere. In reducing architecture to its essential elements and using a minimum of materials, colours and lines, a new way of seeing is created that provides an alternative to consumerism. Simplicity and minimal living engender a sense of liberalism and spiritual wealth which enable us to touch the essence of existence. A free yet disciplined space provides room to think and purify the spirit – only then can selflessness and enlightenment through experience be achieved.
In terms of design minimalism does not mean nothingness or emptiness. Spaces, lines, shapes, colours, materials and details interact creating a visual connection and balance. This spatial unity and continuum is further enhanced by layers of natural & artificial lights, textures and finishes that speak to our subliminal and physical senses. Properly planned minimalist spaces therefore feel sensual, stimulating, and harmonious.
Minimalism in practise
Minimalism is not a superficial style – it requires depth: layers of thoughts, materials and textures. In a disciplined yet free way. To achieve successful minimalism requires maximum efforts: every detail matters and every detail has a meaning. Not only do you have to think hard about the detailing of this style, but actualising it is also hard work – details are visible or hidden, lines need to be dead straight and relate to one and other on a spatial level. So minimalism is really for the perfectionists and those who like simple & pure living. If you like your stuff on display or you’re untidy – this is not the style for you. On the other hand, if you like things tidy – but you’re a bit lazy or hate cleaning, this can be the ideal style for you. You can hide your mess behind walls of cupboards. Although minimalism and commercialism don’t really complement each other – minimalism can fit within our busy life style and schedule. Everything seems so less complicated in a clutter-free, simple environment – particularly these days, when our mind is so visually over-stimulated. When you’re in a perfectly designed and executed interior – it just feels right. You feel right. Because not only you have space to move around but space to think… space to be. Bliss!
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