Do we think less is more or more is more? Minimalism and maximalism challenge our perception of life and space. Both are sound design philosophies, but linguistically opposite. Minimalism advocates less are more and thrive by reduction to tranquility in which we disengage to vibrant opaque objects. Maximalism recommends more is more to embrace noise and complexity as if indulging in apprehension and denying conception.
Minimalism seems to be a fitting concept to embrace, as we can observe more people indulge with it in recent dates, but we can't discount maximalism, which calls for chaos but pleasing. Maximalist's home will sense a chaotic vibe, and we resonate it with how a person's brain works. But it makes us in awe despite being chaotic and orderless. It is ironically pleasing and not random. The maximalist may have mismatched paintings hanging on its interior that seem chaotic and unfitting at a glance. It is more inclusive and fitting than what we thought it wasn't as we experience the space.
Maximalism intentionally integrates the conditions of chaos that it willingly embrace complexity. Maximalists utterly want to reach a critical complexity where there is irreducibility. It aims to make a design or concept that is to an irreducible multiplicity. In simpler terms, we aim to make out most of the experience or aesthetics of built space that we can't replicate or do-over. We can't simplify it into a single unit.
Maximalism is about creating unique systems and built spaces, something irreplicable. It takes pride in designing to stand out rather than looking like the others. Too simple is the pitfall of minimalism. When we are too obsessed with minimalism, we create a simple design and harmony but easy to replicate. Maximalism is not confining to one concept and style but enwraps every possibility to produce a hauntingly beautiful masterpiece that is unique.
In maximalism, architects and designers mix and match styles and concepts of different periods, whether for texture, colors, material, new or old. Maximalism can be gothic and romanesque at the same time or creating a new design movement. It also reinterprets old styles by projecting them in a sophisticated contemporary mood.
Minimalism inspired us to look for what is essential to our lives and living space. It strives to declutter unnecessary things and focus on essentials, but we fall short when we don't fully grasp the concept of minimalism. Minimalism is not just decluttering. It sparks some arguments from maximalists on what is essential to declutter. As maximalism emphasized that minimalism failed to strive, it became too simple and is replicable. It seems it has no identity at all.
As minimalism reduces to important content, maximalism adds up content to become complex, which we can't contend with due to complexity. Maximalism challenged the distinction between form and space, the traditionality of forms. It abandons being ambivalence and multivalence. It deluges us to contend the clarity of each form despite being complex at a glance.
Although maximalism appears to be complex and overly visually simulated, maximalism values comfort. The maximalist design has dynamic, flexible, accessible, and practical. We see it as too vibrant and bold, but it is what maximalism is. Maximalism is not about chaos, clutter, and excess, like how people see it at first.
Maximalism blends vibrant color and intricate patterns flawlessly. The maximalist design uses decorative and functional objects to amplify our experience of the space. Every section of the design space is optimal for use, and there is no theme that standout. Maximalism takes pride in a seemingly undisturbed flow of design with outstanding coherence despite being mix and match. Ironically, things don't need to match in a maximalist design. Design elements coexist in diversity, which amplifies our overall experience of the space.
Maximalist designers make sure that the design is adaptable depending on the movement and activities of the inhabitants. Maximalist space can look different from one day to another. Maximalism in designs enables us to have options for our living spaces. If we want to read, the living space can be a library or a game room if we play games. Again, maximalist design is mix and match and not always fit, or we don't need to match. It is often accidental and can be an antithesis to what we desire to be. There is no finite theme. Everything seems to be chaotic at first and evolves into something outstanding. Maximalism inspires us to celebrate the evolution of space.
A person who identifies with maximalism collects objects that are unfit to the space but eventually fit to represent a uniquely beautiful space. It exemplifies the irony of beautiful coincidences and order in chaos. If minimalism simplifies our lives and living spaces to become a place of order and tranquility, maximalism transcends beyond the need for order. It strives to live and experience order in chaos. Maximalists find order in chaotic experiences and label them as exciting and inspiring.
Minimalism and maximalism are of the same coin. Both are personal. Minimalism wanted to disconnect from complexity and lived in tranquility and harmony by choosing what is essential. In contrast, maximalism enjoys the complexity and can find order within it, and it takes pride in celebrating how our experiences evolve. It may be contradicting what I wrote previously, but we can live with complexity. Minimalism exuberate solid form, classic geometry, neutral and natural tones, and dramatic lighting, making the space better despite having less. Maximalism doesn't limit to one design principle but thrives on innovating and blending primitive and contemporary styles.
Less is more for minimalists, and they are correct. Focusing on what is essential is not a bad thing and not lame. Minimalist becomes better with less, which less object but more quality. We lose some objects intentionally to make room for essentials and focus on what we need. In contrast, maximalism takes pride in more is more, which deluges concepts and styles to create an outstanding one. In maximalism, we collect pieces of stuff to define what we need. These are two contrasting philosophies but with the same goal, what we need.
Patrick Templeton, Defining Maximalism: Understanding Minimalism, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Rebecca Jennings, Minimalism is dead. Meet maximalism., Vox
Photo Description and Credit:
The maximalist interior of Fluted Emerald Elgin Cafe by RENESA Architecture Design Interiors Studio | Phot from Niveditaa Gupta
The interior design of Sasha Bikoff | Photo from Sasha Bikoff
Aula Medica by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor shows a maximalist architectural design. | Photo from Patrik Lindell
Kuggen by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor | Photo from Tord-Rikard Soderstrom