Minimalistic architecture, interiors, clothing and the plethora of other forms that it takes are often polarising. There are those across various design industries who will flagrantly disregard the design form as child-like or cold, while others swear by minimalism as the only truly intellectual style.
Both of these notions are debatable, but at its most basic root, minimalism is about freeing up space in our living environments in order to allow for freedom, imagination and detachment from placing too much importance in our ‘things’.
However, with current design moves that gravitate toward the ultra-modern -particularly in the realm of interior design – minimalism is finding a niche in the current era, a notion that may not be as positive as it professes to be.
In a recent article for the Guardian, ‘Why minimalist living can be bad for your health,’ the novel ‘Care of Wooden Floors’ by design and architecture journalist Will Wiles is called upon as an example of extreme psychological aspects that are a very real part of minimalist design choices.
In the age-old ‘what came first, the chicken or the egg’ argument, it is often difficult to pinpoint whether obsessive behaviour is a result of a minimalist mentality or the reason people engage with the style. However, the two are believed by many to exacerbate each other. The idea of counting one’s furniture and working within clean, neutral colour palettes may sound like a nightmare to the some modern designers, but to others, this is paramount to design and lifestyle integrity.
In terms of this industry, minimalism may be a lifestyle choice. However, the question remains: does it truly offer aesthetic value?
There are dual and conflicting answers to this question, each containing valid points. There is the argument that minimalism offers the ultimate aesthetic value as one is able to see the true architectural components behind designs, both interior and exterior, rather than being distracted by gaudy decorations. On the other hand, there is the argument that decoration plays a key part in design, and is the only way to offer a preferred atmosphere to a space.
The Guardian article asserts that realism is not taken into consideration when designing in this manner. Minimalist interiors limit the design influence of the creator, as there is really only one feeling or atmosphere that can evoked through its presentation.
If that is the desired effect, the designer has achieved his or her purpose. If it is not, there is little room for them to move.