Beautiful Solutions for Modern Living 9 pages

Art Design: Minimalism

The objective of this work is to research and examine “interiors and minimalism” and to answer the questions of:

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How it would create a new direction in the interior design field?;

How interior design and minimalism will complement each other?;

How minimalism in interior design would be marketable?; and 4) How this type of interior design would work for a commercial setting?

The first step in attempting to research and ultimately answer the questions posed in this research is to apply a definition to specifically what is meant by Minimalism in Interior Design. According to Gilbert Brownestone, a curator in Palm Beach, Florida and Paris: “Minimalism is simple to the point of complexity…It evokes a spiritual response from the viewer.” (Kim, 2003) The definition applied in the edict of Mies van der Rohe is: ‘less is more’, Minimalism in architecture is a working method in which aesthetic force and capacity are employed to create an effect that astonishes without the aid of superfluous elements. Its essence…and its intention is to accommodate life simply but beautifully.” (Minimalist Space, 2006)

In the work entitled: “Plain Sailing” published in the House and Garden magazine states that minimalism which is stated to have become:.”..fashionable more than a decade ago, has become more forgiving. Minimalism in 2000 allows us a more flexible environment: a balance between the freedom striven for by the philosophy and the practicalities of everyday living. We can all now have a taste of uncluttered paradise without sacrificing all homely comforts and expectations.” (House and Garden, 2005) Held up for an example is a London house designed by Stein which is stated to contain: “strong, vibrant colours are used to personalise the space. Here, with a touch of inspiration from Mexican architect Luis Barragan, a single arresting colour, offset by neutral textures, creates an electric glow that permeates through different rooms, giving a unique signature to this exquisite interior. But leaving aside what it looks like, this is an excellent and easy way to create a sense of space – the single colour being picked up in the next room, and so on. The light sources are unobtrusive, and provide a variety of different means of illuminating the separate parts of the house, so the overall effect is never too uniform.” (House and Garden, 2005) Minimalism can be understood to be practical, soothing, uncomplicated, inspiring, and an interior design method that is able to “create a sense of space” as stated in House and Garden magazine (2005)

The article “Plain Sailing” reveals that: “Because the focus within the minimalist interior is often on the texture and unusual, excellent- quality materials, these materials are by definition pricey. This means that minimal style tends to be expensive and not accessible to all. Inevitably, though, as the style becomes increasingly popular, a more attainable version follows – just as haute couture is modified for high-street fashion. So the interior market strives to make interior design available for everyone. And so a more flexible, livable version of minimalism is evolving.” (House and Garden, 2005)

In the work entitled: “Interior Design: The New Minimalism” it is stated that: “Minimalism hasn’t gone away – it’s just softened around the edges. The current trend in interior design sees minimalism become more livable. Minimalism is still a popular interior design style however recent trends have seen it become more livable and softer, rather than the cold, stark look of the past. The fundamental principles of minimalism remain – clean lines, hard surfaces and low furniture but we’re now seeing softer edges, more colours, texture and the introduction of natural fibres.” (Ringland, 2006)

Minimalism is used to provide description for movements “in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features and core self-expression.” Stated in one definition is that the term “minimalist” can also refer to anything “spare, stripped down to its essentials or providing only the outline of structure…” (Wikipedia, 2006) In the work entitled “Minimalist Spaces” stated is that “minimalism is architecture is a working method in which aesthetic force and capacity are employed to create an effect that astonishes without the aid of superfluous elements.” (Minimalist Spaces, 2006) States is that minimalism: “demonstrates linearity, texture and uncomplicated structural elements can create new sensations with minimum intervention. It also shows how the masters of minimalist architecture overcome the challenge of fewer possibilities and fewer alternatives which result from the use of fewer elements.” (Minimalist Spaces Review, Online available at (

The work entitled: “Practically Minimal: Simply Beautiful Solutions for Modern Living” by author Maggie Toy states that: “The new minimalism is not about bare, white-walled rooms, starkly devoid of signs of human life; nor is it about massive expense and austere living. No longer content with the relentless search for hard-edged purity, many of today’s designers have adapted the minimalist vocabulary and imbued it with innovative — yet practical — twists.” (Toy, 2003) Therefore it can be understood that minimalism in interior or exterior design is design that uses less to create the effect that others use more materials to create or that creates a beautiful effect without requiring as much in the way of materials and expenditures as do other methods of design.


The work entitled: “Designer’s Minimalist Approach Bodes Well for One Rockwell” states that: “When Rockwell Land, Inc. hired Arquitectonica to design the two-tower One Rockwell development, it did so to make its the latest condominium project a cut above the rest. The Lopez-owned property developer had decided to hire Arquitectonica because One Rockwell will be situated by the gateway of the Rockwell Center in Makati City, and that the project’s design was intended to summarize what the group is all about, company officials had earlier said. Arquitectonica, known for bold strokes and for coming up with iconic structures, designed the two towers to contrast with each other, with one tower smooth and circular and the other angular with an uneven top resulting in a cascading impression.” (Rubrico, 2006) First chosen was a facade that “would make a statement.” The connected lobbies of the “two towers of One Rockwell” was designed by Mr. Valdez in order to “take advantage of their elevation. The towers were designed such that their lobbies would be on the second floor with an access ramp to reach the second floors. Additionally stated in the article is that: “The minimalist design was used in the project. “The trend in interior design and architecture nowadays is really more minimal. Very clean, simple design, but it’s the workmanship, the detailing that’s important.” (Rubrico, 2006) Valdez stats that he will be using “…light, luminous colors that will be reflective…” adding that: “…the minimalist look would complement Arquitectonica’s bold exteriors. “Somehow they work together.” (Rubrico, 2006) It is important to note the statement of Valdez: “The design’s simplicity, however, does not mean that the lobbies would look austere..” indeed no but the design is one that will “…veer away from the sterile look that minimalist concepts are associated with. “It could be very simple but there’s a way to not make it cold and sterile-looking. When you say minimal, there’s only like a piece of furniture over there. We won’t do that. There will be elements that will prevent it from being sterile-looking.” (Rubrico, 2006)


Minimalism is not new but according to the material reviewed there is indeed a new minimalism. The new minimalism is not stark in nature and does not appear to be bare or unadorned. The new minimalism echoes what is known as purism in the simple lines and colors used for creating an atmosphere or effect however, the new minimalism plays on linear effects using color and clean lines creating an atmosphere that is unencumbered by busy detail within the design. In light of the fact that materials in today’s world are in short supply the new minimalism can in fact be considered environmentally friendly design or even ‘green-design’ if you will. Another direction that minimalism could carry interior design is one that would produce appealing interiors and do so at a fraction of the cost.


The world at large is very conscious of the use of natural resources and this is true all across the globe evidenced by the ‘green’ movement in everything from automobile sales to recycled products such as paper. Another factor is expenditures and as gas prices rise along with other world commodities cost is going to be more and more a factor. The smart interior designer understands this and is prepared to market their talents and their business in a way that draws business to themselves. One way of assuring a competitive advantage is to offer the same level of appeal to the eye and in terms of atmosphere as has in the past been offered but to do so by cutting the costs associated with interior design. The new minimalism offer the perfect method of marketing interior design in a world that is very conscious of natural resource use and of costs. In lean times, it can be most certain that interior design will be one of the areas to first feel the pinch of a suffering economy but this does not have to be the case if the interior designer can offer the same level of service and do so for less cost.


Minimalism and commercial interior design are quite compatible in most cases. Commercial interior design is usually the design of larger areas that experience more traffic than the individual home. Therefore, the effects achieved in terms of color and appeal in the minimalist interior design is just what is needed in commercial interior design; clean uncomplicated lines, interesting and eye appealing with effects produced by a minimal amount of materials and the skillful use of color.

In the work entitled: “ColorScheme System: Creating Color Schemes” stated is that color selection and color scheme both have “become increasingly important in developing residential and commercial interior, from office spaces, shopping centers and food service industries. Colors enhance and effect mood, work and play habits and contribute a subliminal role in influencing our desires; like hunger, passion, anger, peace and calm and more. A few of the following ideas will help you understand and implement successful color schemes in any environment.” (2006) In using color in design it is important to understand that within the different neutral color palettes “each tone represents a chromatic value, or color tone. When comparing colors to the tonal chart, dark red will have a tone corresponding to a dark grey, while pale beige is equivalent to a light grey. Choosing colors that have the same chromatic value (staying within one or two ‘grey’ tones on the tonal chart) will work harmoniously together, creating a consistent color value throughout an environment…” (Ibid)

Both residential as well as commercial spaces which includes: “industrial, educational and medical environments often are designed with a color scheme that that is calm, comfortable, and harmonious. They are often inspired by nature, that is to say, posses a gently harmonious, natural and generally neutral color palette. Look to nature for prime examples, walking on the beach one can pick up stones randomly. Carefully matching these colors to a paint color chart, one is often left with sand tones, light grays, beige and umbers. Pale greens, reds and blues may be introduced, adding variety, but the overall tone (chromatic value) of the colors tend to remain consistent. The neutral colors are stated to consist primarily of a selection of: “grays, beiges, tans, creams and taupe. These colors generally work with most other colors making them excellent choices as background colors for walls and ceilings. In this manner, more vibrant color choices can be executed in the interior in the form of fabrics, draperies and curtains, rugs and carpets, objects, furniture and accessories like throw-pillows, lamp shades and pictures or paintings.” (Ibid)

Color is stated to play.” integral role in defining our perceptions, whether it is of us, our environment or out perceived notions about space and design.” (Ibid) In the work “ColorScheme System: Creating Color Schemes” the color ‘red’ is described as being a color well-suited for restaurants but not as suitable for medical or educational environments. Blue is stated to be a color that calms while yellow is used “extremely well when muted with white to a paler tone like butter or cream. In these instances yellow becomes a very useful interior design element in both commercial and residentrial environments.” (Ibid)

Obviously understanding the use of color will be vital in the method of minimalism in interior design because paint is much less costly than are other forms of covering walls and ceilings while doing interior design.


The ‘Minimalist’ method of interior decorating holds great promise for interior decorators in applying their talents as well as in gaining work due to the lessening of costs due to needing less in the form of materials in this method of interior decorating and this while optimizing effect and appeal. The marketability of minimalism in today’s world market also holds great promise, and particularly so if the interior designer goes toward the environmentally friendly color of ‘green’ and as well the aforementioned cutting of the expenditures that minimalism allows in the interior designers plying of their talent and skills in today’s environmentally conscious world and in today’s global economy.


Kim, Sheila ed. (2003) More Minimal – Interior Design 1 Nov 2003 Online available at

Minimalist Spaces (2006) Review available Online at

Plain Sailing (2000) House and Garden Online available at,382297,00.html.

Ringland, Jenny (2006) Interior Design: The New Minimalism 31 March 2006 – online available at

Toy, Maggie (2003) Practically Minimal: Simply Beautiful Solutions for Modern Living. Thames & Hudson. Review Online available at

Rubrico, Jennee Grace U. (2006) Designer’s Minimalist Approach Bodes Well for One Rockwell.

Online available at

Art Design: Minimalism

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