Minimalism in architecture which tends to scale back forms is becoming a more common case in practice. In the world of contemporary architecture, Minimalism is perceived as a new lifestyle that obviously becomes acceptable for the part of the wealthy population through the eighties of the twentieth century. By filling their living space with unnecessary objects, people have had become victims of mass consumerism. Mass cultural products cause an overload of visual effects, so people now look for an oasis of peace within the cluttered and “visually noisy” space. The aspiration to essentially reduce forms could be considered as an exhortation of industrial manufacturing and design. The usage of the basic shapes, monochromatic and primary colors palette, simplified lines, flatten and clean surfaces replace decorative plastics with simple and reduced design. These forms also are suitable for modular fabrication.
Minimalist ideas in art and architecture might be understood as a replacement way of thinking and a replacement lifestyle. This movement tends to neglect non-essential elements and within the foreground thus emphasizes the essential elements of a posh system. This phenomenon, psychologically viewed, can produce a perceptual therapy that gives shelter from the lifestyle jam and offer a soothing paradise through simplicity-elegance.
There are many attempts to define the minimalist design in architecture and every case are often described as a private approach of its author:
- Minimalism is simple expressing of comprehensive thought – Donald Judd
- Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things and not for their occurrence –Massimo Vignelli.
- Minimalism involves “reducing architecture to its most basic qualities of space, light, and weight”– Peter Murray.
- Essentially it is reductionism in architecture that encompasses simplicity, linearity, muted color palettes, sophisticated finishing, and contemplation –Vice Pip.
- Perfection and quality that the object is achieved when it is no longer possible to improve subtraction and when all the components and details are reduced to the essence –John Pawson.
New trends in architecture are turning to emphasize less materiality and more sensibility and spiritual aspects of space. An important characteristic of minimalism is that the way during which the materials are used because they shape the space and express its essence. “Materials in minimalism represent indirect speech and voice of silence.” Therefore they reflect non-materiality. The principle of non-materiality stimulates aesthetic experience through the journey to “irreducible minimum”, where minimalism tends. Lighting features a substantial role within the shaping of aesthetics. Volume and mass in the shape of space are highlighted therefore exceptionally complex effects are achieved. The architecture of minimalism treats lights as a material or one of new material expressing media. Lighting contrast is shading which also creates spatial transformation and becomes an important part of the form. The way light rays falling on the surfaces emphasize the mass of objects and their own emptiness. The final goal of minimalistic design is to seek out a balance between brightness and weight and on the opposite hand the gaps and fullness of objects, but also to find the balanced relationship of unequal parts.
Defining minimalism as one of the aesthetic styles or the artistic direction may not be completely correct because of different interpretations of this term. According to Bertoni, “Minimalism isn’t a method it’s a behavior, way of existence, and fundamental reaction to noise, mess, and vulgarity. This is the aspiration to essentiality, but not to their appearance”
Understanding of minimalism is in close relation with the premise “form follows function”, otherwise ideas of minimalist forms would be insignificant. Random or arbitrary understanding of the term “simplicity” at the start eliminates equality with the term “minimalistic”. In spite of this, seemingly similarity between terms can be defined by their relation: Minimalism = Functional + Simplicity.
The minimalistic approach has evolved through the twentieth century of the history of architecture and became one of the most influential designing approaches nowadays. Minimalism has naturally evolved, although it did not have a continuous flow of development. The reason: it is covered by the sensibility of minimalistic affiliations. Minimalism does not belong to any aesthetic shaping style, direction, or certain movement in architecture. Existing stylish movements of people accomplished a number of their ideas within the sense of minimalism. The fact is that rarely any architect is declared as minimalist, in spite of obvious tendencies of incorporating these ideas in the architecture of twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Therefore it may be more correct to conclude that minimalism is a reflection of the way of thinking, lifestyle, but also not an aesthetic style in architecture.
Minimalism in architecture brings new quality: within the first place, it cleans space from unnecessary elements and acts pianissimo and neutral to the context of its implementation without visually violating the environment. Simple adjustment to the environment and a possibility of independent existence promote one of the most flexible expressions in architecture. This is not the case as in some historical styles which slowly disappeared. The reason is their inability to adapt to the new tasks of contemporary life, their bad flexibility, so they were worn out and had to be completely changed with new styles and new principles of design.