Everything: A Maximalist Style Guide

By Abigail Ahern

Maximalism in design is akin to a grand feast for the eyes, a layered narrative that speaks of abundance, complexity, and unapologetic splendour. In her seminal work, “Everything: A Maximalist Style Guide,” Abigail Ahern orchestrates a vivid counterpoint to the restrained silence of minimalism. This blog post delves into the essence of Ahern’s Maximalist philosophy, offering a perspective from the world of Applied and Decorative Arts.

Unraveling Maximalism: More is More

The doctrine of Maximalism is simple: more is more. Ahern advocates for a bold escapade into the realms of colour, texture, and form. This approach is not merely an aesthetic choice but a statement of personal narrative, a rebellion against the sterile and the mundane. Ahern’s guide is a manifesto for those who believe that every object and surface should tell a story and every room should sing with individuality.

Crafting Your Personal Style Narrative

The journey into Maximalism begins with developing a unique style of narrative. Ahern encourages a deep dive into research, urging us to look beyond Pinterest and Instagram and to physically tear through magazine pages. This tactile engagement with materials is a nod to the Decorative Arts, where the physicality of elements plays a crucial role in the design process.

The Art of Rule-Breaking

In the act of ‘rule-breaking’, Ahern positions herself as the maverick of interior design. She empowers us to mix eras, clash patterns, and juxtapose styles with fearless abandon. This resonates deeply with the principles of Decorative Arts, where the amalgamation of different periods and styles can create a harmonious yet exciting aesthetic.

Accessories as Storytellers

Accessories, Ahern insists, are not mere fillers but the essence of the Maximalist narrative. Each piece, whether a lamp, cushion, or artwork, contributes to the overarching story of the space. This aligns with the Decorative Arts perspective, where every element is intrinsic to the visual and functional poetry of a room.

The Alchemy of Colour and Tone

The Maximalist colour palette is unrestricted, but Ahern places importance on tone. It’s not about a random assemblage of hues but about crafting a tonal harmony that evokes the right emotional responses. In the context of Decorative Arts, this principle is paramount, as colour and tone set the stage for the interplay of patterns and textures.

The Soulful Home

Ahern’s concept of ‘soul’ in a home echoes the ethos of creating spaces that reflect the dweller’s essence. In the world of Applied Arts, this soul is the functionality that meets the occupant’s needs, while in Decorative Arts, it is the visual and sensual harmony that pleases the occupant’s tastes.

Lighting: The Creator of Ambience

Lighting, according to Ahern, is a transformative element that can sculpt and define spaces. It’s a direct nod to the importance of ambience in both Decorative and Applied Arts, where lighting is not just functional but also a critical component of design that affects how we perceive and feel in our environment.

Styling: The Finishing Touch

Styling for Ahern is the secret sauce to achieving a Maximalist space that feels rich and layered without tipping into chaos. The Decorative Arts teach us that styling is about balance and the strategic placement of objects to achieve a visual rhythm and flow.

Embracing the Unconventional

Ahern encourages us to find beauty in the odd, the sensuous, and even the macabre. This celebration of the unconventional is a tenet of Maximalist design, which often finds parallels in the bold expressions of Art Nouveau and other Decorative Arts movements that embraced the eclectic.

The Curated Little Black Book

In sharing her ‘little black book’ of global decor stores, Ahern offers us a treasure trove of resources. This gesture is reminiscent of the guilds of old, where artisans and designers shared their coveted sources of materials and inspiration.

In conclusion, “Everything: A Maximalist Style Guide” by Abigail Ahern is not just a book on interior design. It is a clarion call to those who seek to infuse their spaces with energy, history, and personal expression. It aligns with the Applied and Decorative Arts in its celebration of diversity, richness, and the human touch in design. Maximalism, as Ahern portrays it, is not just a style; it is a living, breathing testament to the vibrancy of life itself.

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