When to Use Minimalism in Design

When to Use Minimalism in Design

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Marcia Prentice
Feb 25, 2010

Minimalism is a term that is used loosely in modern design. How is it precisely defined? Minimalism is designing with only the necessary objects and incorporating architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's motto, "less is more." When is it appropriate to use minimalism in design?

Minimalism design originated in the time of the modern masters of architecture and design. Even with its simplicity, it produces stunning designs. We enjoy practicing and studying the "less is more" design philosophy. Below is a general list, although not comprehensive, of when it is most aesthetically complimenting to use minimalism design.

When Minimalism Design Works Best:

  • Green Homes. The philosophies behind the environmentally friendly movement and minimalism compliment each other. Green design focuses on conserving resources and only using what you need. Minimalism concentrates on using a few strong pieces of furniture and sparse accessories to sell your design. Additionally, typically green design is also modern design and has similar clean lines.
  • Japanese/Zen Design. Originally, minimalism was highly influenced by Japanese design and architecture. Designing by Zen standards is defined as only incorporating objects that serve a particular purpose. It promotes simplicity, balance, and harmony in the home.
  • Lofts. The intrigue behind loft living is the raw industrial space, large windows, high ceilings, and open layouts. Minimalism design accentuates the loft's expansive space. It focuses the attention on the strong architectural features vs. being lost in furnishings and losing the structural design.
  • Ultra Modern Design. When each furniture piece or accessory has such beauty it evokes a sculptural design, minimalism creates a platform for each piece to be admired. The same philosophy applies to incredible artwork.

Using minimalism design in conjunction with modern design is the obvious. We would be curious to hear examples of using minimalism design with a more traditional design style. Was it a success or did the two design philosophies clash?

Other Examples of Minimalism Design:

(Images: Verzelloni Divani, B&B Italia)

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