1. ENGAGING THE SENSES WITH NATURAL MATERIALS
Contrasting modernist trends for concrete, steel grids and engineered glass, we can create more sensual, tactile spaces by incorporating natural materials. Minimalist kitchens, for example, tend to be made with woods and stone. They help us to reconnect with our own place in nature, securing our sense of belonging, identity and safety. Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen explains: “By working with natural forms, materials and colors we can create spaces and objects that engage with our ancient aesthetic preferences—that feel good, look good and that last.”
2. FINDING WARMTH AND SECURITY
Luca Scardulla, Co-Founder of architecture practice Llabb, also believes minimalism is evolving. “A couple of years ago it was characterized by cold materials and cutting lines," he says. "Nowadays we need warmth and a feeling of security. We need to live in embracing and relaxing spaces, ones that contrast life out there: stressed, noisy and uncertain”.
According to the designer, the pandemic accelerated the evolution of minimalism, and showed us why minimalism is a better way of life. In losing things we’d normally take for granted, from control over our health to being able to see friends and family, many of us found a renewed appreciation for what matters. “The lockdown experience undoubtedly brought to light the need for a 'less is more' philosophy,” says Luca Scardulla. Our relationships with our homes evolved during this period too, as they became shelters from a world that was newly dangerous. This is a big tenet in current architecture trends. “Our living spaces had to convey the feeling of safety and comfort,” says Luca Scardulla. “And so we saw the style of ‘warm minimalism’ taking hold. This leaves sharp lines and cold materials behind to make way for natural elements, warm color palettes and textile accessories that are selected without abandoning the concept of functionality and order.”
3. REDUCING POSSESSIONS TO HEIGHTEN THE QUALITY
One of the main characteristics of minimalism is reduction. But while traditional minimalists may have used reduction as a means to simplify, designers today are using it to intensify experiences or sensations. “In my opinion, the goal of minimalism is to heighten,” says Paolo Ferrari, Founder of Studio Paolo Ferrari. “Whether it’s heightening the quality of the ritual of bathing, or celebrating the daily ritual of making tea, minimalism brings attention to minutiae and draws us deeper into a given moment.”
This allows the new wave of minimalism to be more decorative than traditional expressions of the trend, where ornaments were all but banished. In fact, the best minimalist houses now have plenty of personality on display. “For us, minimalism can still be expressive or decadent,” says Paolo Ferrari. “In the past, I think minimalism carried the connotation of sparseness, ultra restrained and void of color or contrast. I would say that today, minimalism is more about clarity and an abandonment of excess. It’s a constant balance of restraint and exuberance.” Minimalism has always been about much more than an interior design trend: it’s a way of life. It’s only natural then, that as the world changes, our needs—and ways to address those needs through design—would change too.