Adolf Loos’ famous quote, “Ornament is a Crime,” and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s, “Less is More,” have become catchphrases for the minimalist design movement. This resembles minimalism in the fine arts, where works of sculpture with straightforward geometric forms and paintings with undifferentiated solid colours have gained significant popularity.
An example of minimalism in design is the Apple brand, known for its clean and simple aesthetic and minimal use of decoration or ornamentation in its products. Another example is the minimalist architecture of the Farnsworth House, designed by Mies van der Rohe, characterised by its use of simple geometrical shapes and emphasis on functionality.
While minimalism in art and design may strive for simplification and reduction of complexity, it does not necessarily mean that it lacks creativity or innovation, as many minimalist works can still be highly imaginative and impactful. For instance, the minimalist film “Baraka” by Ron Fricke is a non-narrative documentary that uses stunning visuals and ambient music to explore the beauty and diversity of our planet. Similarly, Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa’s minimalist approach to product design has led to the creation of iconic objects such as the Muji CD player, which combines simplicity with functionality and has become a design classic.
Pile, John. Dictionary of Twentieth Century Design. 1990.
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