Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.'
Antione De Saint - Exupery (1900-1944)
The concept of minimalism is the practice of reducing components to their most simple form whilst retaining their highest level of functionality. As an ideal, this has been subject to a variety of differing interpretations: Buckminster Fuller focussed on ‘doing more with less’ whilst Mies Van Der Rhone famously said ‘less is more.’ As interior design has progressed, those designers that manage to balance the delicate combination of beauty and precision, soon find themselves thrust into the limelight, and with good reason: the art of providing the necessary elements while avoiding the addition of superfluous details is an exceptionally difficult task.
There are many figures throughout history that successfully defined their era by adhering to this philosophy when designing products and spaces. From Eileen Grey’s Villa, E-1027 that she built as her personal retreat with Jean Badoviciin 1929, to Andree Putman’s Morgan’s hotel, the first boutique hotel launched in New York, 1984. Although both original in their execution, these examples are testament to the concept of minimalism, with each providing an exceptional balance of form that followed function. They are demonstrations of practical elegance through simplicity.
Today interior design is more in the public eye than ever before. The process of sharing and celebrating design has been made faster via the medium of social platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram, and via online tastemakers such as Architectural Digest, and Wallpaper*. Today every element of interior design is evaluated, from the the layout of a hotel to the ergonomics of an office chair. This greater level of scrutiny dictates that it is not only the visual composition of the design that must impress, but also the practicality.
This rise in standards has lead to a greater understanding of what constitutes good design and accordingly we have seen an increased appreciation and acknowledgment of the designers and freethinkers. Names such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier are now widely regarded as the figureheads that have paved the way for today’s talent.
In this 3 part series we look at some of the designers that are at the top of their game when it comes to creating spaces that look beautiful and work just as well.