Minimalism: Why Less Can Be More

Minimalist individuals embrace living a life with less, and minimalist architecture and design is no exception. Spaces are stripped of anything non-essential, and only the fundamental necessities remain. Those who practice this lifestyle will appreciate the simple elegance of design that is stripped bare.

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House in Nagoya 01 by Suppose Design Office - via ArchDaily

This space (we won’t call it a dining area as the design of the home intends to defy barriers between space) embodies the nature of minimalism. At first glance it is stripped bare, but a lingering look reveals plentiful natural light, a neutral colour palette, furniture with clean lines, and a unique wall and ceiling symmetry that adds texture to the room. This is classic minimalism at its finest.

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Minimalist House by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates - via Minimalissimo

From this image, you wouldn’t imagine that this home was built with no windows facing the outside. Minimalist to a tee, this ultra private home has an air of anonymity about it. Despite its seemingly closed-off construction, natural lighting is abundant with use of large courtyard-facing windows, extending the interior into exterior space and giving the home a more expansive feel.

The greenery scattered throughout the courtyard helps to firmly establish it as outdoors, creating a clear separation between indoor and outdoor. The simple white lines add a touch of luxury and cleanliness, and the low furniture further enhances the principles of minimalism.

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Casa Garcias by Warm Architects - via Minimalissimo

Casa Garcias by Warm Architects weaves minimalism throughout its straight, clean lines, and simple, stripped down spaces. Here, the stairs are muted to their basic function: to get people from downstairs to upstairs. There are no fancy frills here, but the blunt lines, cold concrete, and bare simplicity are what create the elegance behind this space.

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House B by E2A Architects - via Minimalissimo

A key component of minimalism is functionality, and one must carefully maximise the use of each piece to keep the elements of a space down to the bare minimum. In this room, the designers have created a multipurpose structure that both maximises space and minimises the need for furniture such as shelving and tables. The high ceilings open up the room and give it a feeling of grandeur, allowing the two spaces to exist as one but also separately.

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AIBS House by AABE - via Minimalissimo

Minimalism has in the past had a bit of a reputation for being cold and stark. This house shows that it’s all about environment and context. The simplicity and cleanliness of the exterior exudes a serenely peaceful atmosphere where someone can relax and enjoy some mental clarity. As noted by Minimalissimo, however, the weather can drastically transform this home’s simple elegance into a harsh and brutal lines, giving a “tormented air about it”.

Bringing the Outdoors In

With the rise of technology, nature seems to be an almost abstract concept for many. We spend a lot of time in front of screens and and in vehicles, with outdoor activities often being limited only to lunch or the morning run. Perhaps that’s why there’s been a movement in recent times to bring the outdoors in when it comes to interior design. Maybe we have an inbred need to return to our roots.

Natural design, like in Feng Shui, is said to be relaxing and peaceful for the mind, while also helping to connect people to the world around them. There’s also a practical use, since having plant-life indoors can improve the air quality of a space and make it less stuffy.

Lots of offices and businesses - such as hotels - are now moving towards more natural design to help staff and visitors feel more centred and relaxed. Plant life has also been shown to improve business image in several ways. Here are some of our favourite examples of design that brings the outdoors in.

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Mein Garten Offices by Studio 102 - via Dezeen

This old house in Hanoi has been converted into a series of offices with a brief to highlight the outdoors and nature with an open concept that would foster creativity and focus. Designed to open up the offices to the natural surroundings, the windowless slats of the space allow sunlight to flood in.

The architects have here removed wall partitions that would have once separated the different areas, ensuring that sunlight and the outdoors can be enjoyed no matter where you are in the offices. Finally, what gives the space harmony and completes its serene natural feel is the series of plants scattered, hung, and crawling down the walls.

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Cafe 27 by Four O Nine - via Dezeen

This greenhouse was transformed into a coffee shop with a brief of highlighting organic greenery and natural building materials, exhibiting an overall sense of ‘health’ in the cafe. And it just goes to show how much a strong presence of sunlight in a space can augment a feeling of health and wellness, sparking energy.

The plants lining the upper walls purify the air and add to the ‘healthy’, natural feel of the space that is reflective of the cafe’s menu. The glass ceiling gives the feeling of being out on a patio or park, while the slats add texture and some shade to ease the brightness.

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Pennsylvania Farmhouse by Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle - via CustomHomeOnline

This rural farmhouse was renovated, and with the help of some glass skylights blurs the distinction between indoors and outdoors. This bathroom is flooded with sunlight that softens the materials used in the interior, while the plants weave from the indoors outside, adding a gentle harmony and flow to the space. Bathing in here would feel like bathing in a rainforest.

We all want to be more connected to nature, it’s a part of the human condition. The outdoors can soothe and relax us while we’re cooped up indoors, simultaneously providing focus and energy. Bringing the outdoors in allows us to continuously enjoy nature and its effects on us, no matter what we’re doing or where.

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