How Minimalism is Taking Over Architecture + Design Concepts

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Minimalism is much more than a fashion statement.

Minimalism is one of the most influential styles today – from design, to architecture, to music, to literature. In fact, there’s every chance that you’re a fan of minimalism even without knowing it.

As the name implies, minimalism is certainly not a lavish style, but it is not an absence of design either. Decoration had become so intense and dense that it had begun to undermine the function of the objects it touched. Minimalists asked the question: How much can you strip away from an item — paintings, scupltures, buildings, furniture — without losing its essential purpose and identity?

So, Minimalism is just keeping things simple, then?

Close.. but not quite. To better define the term and how it’s associated with architecture and design, we turned to our friend Thomas Tsopanakis, a minimal design artist who believes “minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design (especially fashion) where the work is set out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts.” And if you ask him, this philosophy and principle of Minimalism can ideally be extended to everything. But particularly, we’ve witnessed minimalism in design, architecture and various forms of art.

In addition to its deep influence over modern arts and artists, minimalism has became popular as a philosophy and way of life, too. Minimalists resolve to live with only the essentials, shunning anything they deem nonessential .Outside of fashion, there are many components in play that makes minimalism pleasing to the eye. “The underlying thread in all is the need for simplicity,” says Thomas. “The idea is to strip everything down to its essential quality and achieve simplicity. The Minimalism is something that always catches the attention and inspires action.”

Contrary to what you might think, minimalism was never inspired by poverty and austerity. In fact, it’s frequently considered a style of the super-rich. The attitude is: I can have anything, but I won’t clutter my home; instead, I will acquire only the most elegant, simple objects available. It is simple in form and function, devoid of pointless decorations, yet expensive. So no, you would never say minimalism is a cheap option!

So how has that quality impacted today’s building structures? The benefits of minimal design are endless. “Minimalism is a style of design that reduces the amount of distractions to allow us to enjoy and focus on the main message,” says Thomas. “It is timeless & designed around the content, destined to stand out against all the other design clutter. Minimalism is one of the design trends that just never gets old. It just works!”

IBM Plaza in Chicago and House Grangegorman are two good examples of minimalism in architecture – the first one from the 20th century and the second one – from the first decade of the 21st century.

Ultimately, minimalists in all categories live by the “less is more” rule of thumb. But for architects and designers, it’s not always a clear-cut mission. “As creative people, we see the beauty and understand the logic in minimalism,” says Thomas. “Many people in non-design-related fields don’t fully appreciate minimalist design. And because in many projects the vast majority are not creative types, we have to respect this view and address it accordingly.”

For them, “more is more,” but for Thomas, approaching minimalism is nothing less than straight forward. “When we purge “junk”, we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again,” he says. “This is minimalism for me, to gravitate towards the things that matter most. And that extends to every aspect of my life that I care about: style, architecture & design.”

To learn more about Thomas and inquire about for design, follow him on Instagram and check out his blog.