How to define minimalism is not clearly explained. There are different ways in which minimalism can be defined, but before that, let us take a brief historical journey of how this word came to be. In the mid sixties, this word got established in the avant-garde music and the art circles. In the eighties, minimalism became accepted and common not only to the world of art and music but also to the world at large. Over time, this word has taken different forms, but now it can be accepted as a part of lingua franca. Minimalism has been inspirational, and today the media has embraced it as a form of entertainment in commercials and it is also used with educative purposes.
Minimalism can be defined as a basic technique that uses barest elements in music, art, literature or design. This form of art puts emphasis on simplification and sparseness. This art eliminates the non- essential form, leaving the art in the simplest form. Presentation of the little needed conserving most of art’s details. This art does not use excessive elements; the elements get to be used sparingly, exposing only that which is necessary. Many artists who use this method in painting prefer to use the basic colors: red, yellow, and blue (see Image 1). While some artists prefer to use the black and white color (see Image 2). On the other hand, there are those who can use other colors and still manage to make the art candid and conservative.
There had been a magazine published in Datch by Theo van Doesburg in 1833-1931, which had the title De Stijl. Thuo van Doesburg was an artist, and this is the reason why he chose to name a magazine De stijl - a form of art that falls under minimalism. Also, known as “the style” or neoplasticism originated from Dutch. This form of art got to be published for the first time in Netherlands in the year 1917. There are those people who define it as a ‘body of art’ founded in Netherlands between the years 1917-1931. Some speak of it as a resistance to individualism. This art uses black, white, and the primary colors, to create harmonization and order.
In the early development of this art, the artists that embraced it were: Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) and Bart van der Leck (1876–1958), who were painters; Gerrit Rietveld (1888–1964), J.J.P. Oud (1890–1963), and Robert van’t Hoff (1887–1979), who were architects. They aimed to make an art that would be created by the use of primary geometric forms and colors that were pure. Gerrit Rietveld made a chair to make visible collaboration of furniture by highlighting collective interdependence (see Image 3). The joining together of different elements to form art can result into ‘beelding’, which has the basis of group work.
De Stijl helped a lot in the creation of modernism as it paved the way for its ideology and also its creation of a formal language. This form of art was principally based on elements of geometry, such as straight lines, square, rectangle in conjunction with strong asymmetrical elements. When it comes to music, De stijl had been tremendously influenced by a good friend of Mondrian known as Jakob van Domselaer. He changed the world of music to a great deal.
Mies Van der Rohe
Mies Van der Rohe also immensely influenced minimalism. He lived in Chicago and art structure has been his interest. To be specific, he was an architect. He holds the title of the father of modern architecture; he designed what was modern but ordinary, with clarity. As an artist, Mies Van der Dohe enjoyed the privilege of being tremendously celebrated for the uniqueness of his structures.
Miles Van der Rohe was born in March 27, 1886 in a city called Aachen. As a young boy, he worked with his father. His father had a stone curving shop, where he got his first experience in design. From a young age, architecture had always mesmerized him; this was always his story during interviews. He went further to narrate how he used to attend a mass with his mother, and the building would transfix him. The scale and strength of the stone that arches and the building columns got his attention.
His use of minimalism in building and structure was artistic and remarkably unique. His architecture mainly unites two inseparables, creating zeitwille - which is the expression of will and age. He made structures from steel and glass (see Image 4), reducing significantly the building essentials. He passed on in August 17, 1969. The use of minimization reflected in him even after death (see Image 7): his grave was marked by a simple slab. Image 5 and 6 show some of his influential works of minimalism style.
A minimalism structure is open and accessible to the street, which makes it a favorable choice to allocate an office. Most minimalism buildings have been structured and created with glass and steel, to enable more light and air. Most of these buildings are white and square; they generally lack architectural adornments. Due to its simplicity, minimalistic building contrasts with surrounding buildings; this contrast gives the building a strong visual appeal.
Minimalistic architecture blossomed in the 19th century. Architects and fashion interior designers joined efforts to achieve a classic design by the use of white elements and cold lighting. Most of those who get attracted by such structures are people who are fashion conscious and have a touch of class. The purpose of minimalistic architecture is to reveal only the essential quality of structures. This form of design has got its inspiration from traditional design, from the Japan tradition, and from the concept of philosophy called the Zen. This philosophy is moral by nature and reflects on the deep quality of materials. Though Minimalistic buildings have Chinese architectural touch, minimalism has been redesigned over the years, and now it can be categorized as modern building method.
Advantages of Working in a Minimalist Building
Minimalistic building only carries what is essential since unnecessary things are eliminated. It has free air and ample lighting that enters it, thus reducing any discomfort that can be caused by congestion and squeezing together of items. It also provides ample space for movement and offers flexibility. The minimalistic building or structures are easy to clean and maintain, which reduces the health risks.
Minimalistic structures are urban, and, thus, they are most likely to be situated in the cities and towns in the easily accessible regions where there also social amenities and health facilities. For these reasons, they can be labeled as the best option for an office. Their design can also attract business because of its simplicity and uniqueness.
It is a design that saves power and water as there are no non essentials like gardens that will need to be watered and lit. Their location is also an advantage to the business since majorly these buildings are located in the towns where many other businesses are situated.
Limitations of Living in a Minimalist House
A minimalistic house requires a lot to be done on it so as to maintain its appeal and cleaness. Such houses can be found in urban areas next to dangerous infrastructures like roads that can easily cause accidents, especially to young children. Usually minimalist houses are built from glass and steel, which are quite dangerous materials since when broken, they can cause injuries to one’s body. In terms of security, such houses are not good since there are no difficulties in breaking and entering. The structures are artistic and beautiful; therefore, most people will not mind living in them, but there can be a lot of risk involved.
Qualities of Minimalist Architecture and Design
Minimalist design can be said to be minimal in the use of color as the colors mainly used are: red, blue, yellow, black, white, and grey. It also emphasizes on the use of shapes sparingly: just lines, rectangles, and squares. There should be no use of ornamentation in this form of art. Everything gets to be stripped out, leaving only the essentials. This art encourages people to pay attention to detail and find the beauty behind it. The artists who use this method say that art beauty can be seen if there are no elements that hide the natural essence of it. Therefore, minimalism can be said to be characterized by simplicity of forms with no exaggeration.
Minimalism in the Future
Minimalism in the future will mainly strip the features of all items that are abounded in syntactic derivations. This art would be studied and advanced to substantial levels. More analysis shall be made on this, and links to other theoretical frame work shall be discovered. Today minimalism has no connection to other forms of art; this shortcoming will be minimized in the future. All major forms of art will intertwine with one another to create a stunning art form.
Minimalist form of art has created a new form of modernization. It is an art that has made use of nature and its beauty creating a simple yet an outstanding art. Before the introduction of minimalism, art had been decorated and the natural elements in it were not appreciated. This form of art has clearly shown that even the simplest of forms, color, and shapes put in a unique and artistic way can be more beautiful than an art that has been overly dressed by non essentials.
Minimalism has brought new perspective in terms of the appreciation of art, which would be otherwise seen as a waste of time and talent, and shown the world that simplicity can also be beautiful. In relation to architectural forms, minimalism has improved this area greatly. Just a simple art building with little touch of few elements can be categorized as classic and beautiful. This art has not fully matured and has not been fully discovered; therefore, artists should be taught this art and its power to the world. The time when art of many colors and forms and minimalism will exist together will come.