Minimalist Design – ‘Less is more’

Who started it, and how can you embrace it.

Anyone can think about minimalism in various ways, internet and media nowadays make us form ideas and have our own opinion on many subjects. So how minimalism is defined? A minimalist design is when you design by just using the essential elements for functionality.

Minimalist Design was formed by three key periods: De stijl Movement which appeared between 1917 and 1930, which basically meant ‘’the style’’ in Dutch. The most famous architect and furniture designer that was associated with De stijl was Gerrit Rietveld with his famous ‘Red and Blue chair’, 1917. De stijl was characterized by its forms and colors, using mostly the primary colors and rectangular shapes. This of course was applied to the interior part of buildings as well as furniture. The second key period was the famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who after the WWI his structures were characterized by their simple, clean lines and plenty of open space in the interior. He mainly used  steel, plate glass and stone to create mature and balanced buildings. The third key period was the famous Japanese designs. Japanese culture and their Zen philosophy convey the idea of freedom and essence of living. They simply value the quality of plain objects and appreciate more the absence of unnecessary features. All of the key periods support the same philosophy that ‘less is more’ and that being surrounded by the basics just for the sake of functionality is more than enough.



Schröder House by Gerrit Rietveld 1924
So how can anyone embrace minimalist design in their houses? I would suggest that you start with 4 basic steps:

a)      Declutter your house. I know it is very difficult to get rid of many stuff, but this is the first and most important step to achieve minimalism. Old and unused objects take time and energy away from your personal space, so start getting rid of what is not useful.

b)       Select clean and simple furniture for your rooms, and do not forget to buy just the essentials to achieve functionality. For example oversized sofas or coffee tables just take too much space, always keep it simple. Choose a sofa with clean design, in color and shape.

c)       Select a simple and straight forward color scheme. Simplicity is the key for this particular style of design. Use the colors that make you feel relaxed, this of course depends totally to individuals, someone may find blue as a relaxing color, opposed to someone who likes plain white. The idea is to keep the color scheme as simple as possible.

d)      Concentrate on Functionality and what is really necessary, whatever is not used in any way, is just more clutter, just continue getting rid of stuff until you meet the perfect functional space

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Designer Anne Sophie Goneau

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Dutch studio i29




There are plenty of books that are written on this particular style, if you are interested to educate your self more below there are some famous books that you can have a look: