Minimalism is defined as a style of art and architecture that uses very simple design elements, forms and materials. Minimalist architecture tells the story of simplicity. Buildings are designed without unnecessary ornamental elements to create simple spaces. Minimalist theme promotes simplicity. It is a design approach that represents austerity in outdoor as well interior design. Key principles of this style are the use of the essential elements only. Design is reduced down to the necessary features only. Serene and peaceful atmosphere is created by the genius combination of these elements that only hold on to vital and necessary attributes. Many architects, designers, painters and sculptors have worked together to promote the art movement of minimalism.
The style of minimalism with architecture started in the beginning of twentieth century near 1920s. German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was one of the first well known architects of modern era who pioneered minimalist design in architecture. His new design philosophy laid the foundation for minimalist architecture. He designed influential architectural masterpieces which include Barcelona Pavilion in Spain, Seagram Building in New York. According to him, “less is more”.
Concept of minimalism gets a major inspiration from Japanese Zen philosophy that puts a lot of focus on simplicity in architecture. It sees the natural beauty of things and gives value to it. Minimalism is greatly influenced by Wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic view that emphasizes on the principle of finding beauty in the simplest forms of nature.
Here are some of the key principles of minimalist design.
Simple geometric forms are a key characteristic of this style. Perfect straight lines and bold volumes are usually employed for the design. Textures and patterns in limited forms of geometry can also help achieve this style. Use of vertical and horizontal lines and shapes of a rectangle or a square are chief principles in the visual design.
Minimalism is influenced by the use of limited colors. A minimalist building usually uses two basic monochromatic colors for the design to build visual interest. Black, grey, white and other neutral shades such as beige are commonly applied keeping the design to its basic theme. Primary colors such as red, blue and yellow are also used in contrast that interact efficiently with one another.
Simple and natural surface materials are incorporated in the creation of a harmonious design. Fair-face concrete may be used to achieve simple and natural aesthetics where concrete appears in its simplest way. Larger glass facades and huge solid surfaces built of brick, concrete and steel are also major elements of minimal architecture.
Natural light and air are incorporated in a minimal house. Views to green spaces are made a distinctive element of minimalism. Large open areas are created so nature can be connected with interiors to create clean, calm and tranquil spaces.
Minimalism is an honest and a timeless approach to design that never wears out. Architecture has been shaped by this optimistic style of minimalism over many years of design history.