Minimalist Design: Where Did It All Begin? | Nicholas Engert Interiors
Minimalist Design: Where Did It All Begin?
When it comes to interiors, there’s one aesthetic that will always be popular and that’s minimalism, characterised by reducing the amount of clutter within a space and using simple forms to create a sense of flow and harmony throughout.
The style itself takes huge amounts of influence from Japanese culture and philosophy. Although you might well think that it’s an easy aesthetic to achieve for yourself, it can actually be quite challenging to get right… and you run the risk of creating something quite bland if you’re not careful.
Reading up on the Zen philosophy could be a good move if you do want to achieve a more minimalist look at home. Herein, great value is placed on simplicity as a means to attaining inner peace.
From an interior design perspective, one of the main principles you should adhere to is the concept of wabi-sabi: finding the value in simple forms of nature. This developed from Zen Buddhist philosophy between the 13th and 15th centuries, based on three founding ideas - that nothing is ever permanent, perfect or complete.
To encapsulate this idea at home, consider using neutral colour palettes, natural materials and time-worn objects to create an atmosphere of elegance, yes, but one that is also sparse and imperfect, celebrating the colours and textures of nature itself.
Another principle to bear in mind when designing minimalist interiors is ma: finding the value in spatial emptiness. It’s all about celebrating the space between things, the voids, the negative space.
What’s interesting about this aspect of minimalist design is that, by celebrating the emptiness and space, you actually draw more attention to the beautiful pieces you’ve curated at home, really allowing them to shine by removing all that unnecessary clutter.
And finally, the concept of seijaku forms an essential part of minimalism, where meditative ideas are translated into beautiful contemporary design, with the end result being tranquil, harmonious and balanced interiors.
Creating more space at home can help you follow this particular principle, whether that’s by reducing clutter or by using smaller and more open pieces of furniture.
As a Western aesthetic in art, design and architecture, minimalism really came to the fore after World War II. It became especially popular in 1960s New York as an art movement that came about in response to abstract impressionism, with more focus placed on materials like concrete and steel, and sleek geometry, rather than ornate symbolism.
Minimalist architecture, meanwhile, can trace its roots back to Japanese culture but also the 1920s movements of De Stijl and Bauhaus, all of which came together to condense architectural design to its basest elements and focusing on materials, space, light and form.
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