Minimalism, term conceptualised, executed and promoted by mainly Japanese drives its notion from Zen concept of simplicity in conveying idea of autonomy and principles of living.
For designers it’s an art form that flourishes on simplicity, more appropriately it refers to a design and architectural trend where subject is reduces to the basic essential fundamentals it describe.Through comprehensive use of basic geometric forms, defined symbols, condensed elements without decoration and practical use of colours many minimal designers and studios extensively work on elaborate concepts and present the idea in a straightforward yet innovative manner.
De Stijl (“The Style” – Dutch) an artistic movement in Netherlands during 1917 to 1931 laid the foundation of Minimal design by advocating the principles like simplified use of only primary colours and visual composition to vertical & horizontal directions. Movement sustained the design ideas that could be expressed by using non-decorative elements such as simple lines and planes structured in a very precise manners, movement of natural light in buildings which focus simple and clean spaces. The movement fadedin the short span of 14 years with the death of its leading figure Theo van Doesburg during 1931.
“Less is More” the much talked about design principle coined and promoted by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe during mid-1900s is regarded as the backbone of modern minimalism and Ludwig Mies van der Rohebeing recognised as one of the fathers of modern architecture with his clean forms. Modern skyline ranging from commercial capital of United States to the commercial capital of China today owes much to Van der Rohe’s work.Design concept based on conscripting every component and features to serve multiple practical purposes, such as designing a floor to also serve as a radiator or massive fireplace to also house the bathroom and many more were pioneered in his work. Some of the flagship trademark approach followed by Van der Rohe includes use of modern construction materials like steel and glass, reduction of structural frameworks to a minimum and inclusion of lots of open spaces.
Designers consider simplicity as more of a moral perception as compared to its aesthetic value, revealing the inner potential of materials and matters for their true essence. Traditional clean and simple Japanese designs are yet another predecessor of modern minimalism for example one of the very famous instances of minimalism is Dry rock garden in Ryoan-ji Zen temple because of its simplicity and arrangement of few stones in a huge empty space. Dry rock garden at Ryoan-ji Zen temple is considered to be using the design concept of Shakkei, where background landscape is incorporated into the composition of the garden.
Some of the other prominent and famous minimalist in their field of arts includesBuckminister Fuller, Dieter Rams, Donald Judd, John McCracken, Agnes Martin, Dan Flavin, Robert Morris, Anne Truitt, and Frank Stella.