Minimalism: We minimize to maximize the experience

in Architecture+Design4 months ago


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Our lives became too complicated than ever before. Our lives thrive with the pressure to contend with our daily lives. We are too busy keeping roofs over our heads, putting food on our tables, paying our bills, and the list goes on. We are obsessively passionate about meeting our daily contentment and dreams that we start to forgot what was important and why we started it in the first place. As we continue to do it obsessively, we neglect to enjoy our lives. That is why countless feel stressed and eventually burn out.

With all the pressure pressing us daily, we often fantasize about running away, get some vacation, an indefinite one, or move to the rural while living a simple, fulfilled life. Some people disconnect themselves from the pressure and leave behind the busyness of our cities. Some live on tiny homes on wheels and have the best road trip for their lives. Although we wanted to have these lifestyles, only a few have the guts and sacrifice certain aspects of their lives. It is due to our family commitment, financial needs, and a long list of why it isn't possible.

Aside from running away and left busyness and pressure behind, we can thrive with it and strike a balance. We have many means to declutter and simplify things in our lives. We often find ourselves engaging in our hobbies and activities and less for organizing and tidying our lives. We all have the tendencies to make simple things complex and divert what matters. When we make things simple, we can find a new sense of freedom, a peaceful mind, good sanity, be more productive, and eventually have less stress.

It is similar to how we design systems and spaces. We occupy with meeting deadlines that we often rush out due to the pressure and sometimes missed upon the design. Minimalism is afloat with our desire to organize and live with less. But minimalism can depict many things like a tiny house or lifestyle that prioritized essentials than luxury and lives to reduce clutter. Minimalism is more than living less. It is also a design movement that breaks down a design into essential elements to create harmony in the design.


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Minimalism is from the Japanese culture and Zen philosophy, placing great value on simplicity and achieving inner freedom, and developed into an art, architecture, and design movement in the west. Japanese looked into simple natural form, spatial emptiness, and stillness into our lives and the design of built space. We get to embrace the aesthetics of tranquility, harmony, and balance. It is a simple design philosophy and easy to comprehend, but some people misunderstood what minimalism is.

Minimalism encourages us to hold to what truly matters with our life and resonate it with the design of our homes. Decluttering is essential to achieve minimalism. We take out the things that we no longer use or need and prioritized what we need. When we declutter our homes, we can have a better spatial experience and a plentiful light. Decluttering also means that we do the task piecemeal every day. In design, minimalism doesn't need to have luxurious detailing like the accent of gold and prefers more neutral tones to boost the quality of space.

The minimalistic design used natural materials that define the undeniable link between our humanity and nature. Japanese were good at it. Their homes portray balance and harmony with nature. Their garden has boulders to mimic mountains, lush green grass and plants to reflect abundant fields or farms, and bonsai for trees. Minimalism heartens our design to represent our connection with the untamed nature.

Minimalistic design prioritized sustainability that features reusable and recyclable materials, like stones, woods, and even bamboo and rattan. But we can see glass, steel, and concrete too in the mix. Minimalism plays with texture to heighten the visual perception of the space and have the needed accent. Lighting creates space dynamics and emotion in minimalism. When a designer integrates a dramatic play with shadows and highlights, the space's vibe improves tremendously. Light can affect the warmth and coziness of the living space. It increases our overall experience. Minimalism also encourages an open floor plan that prioritized functionality to achieve tranquility in our living spaces than aesthetics.


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Again, minimalism inspires us to live our lives with less and the essential. We saw people downsizing for the better. When we declutter and follow a minimalist lifestyle. Minimalist is a good thing to emulate as we can save up on bills and worry less. Life becomes simple and less stressful. A lot of us want to have it. That is why countless attempted to embrace it but fall pit to the illusion of decluttering and downsizing. We link decluttering to minimalism a lot, and simply decluttering doesn't mean minimalism at all. It causes some people to not comprehend minimalism well, whether in life or the design of built spaces, due to fixation to decluttering and downsizing.

Minimalism is not decluttering or cutting all luxuries in our lives or downsizing everything. Declutter only that is not important for us, and we lived with it when it is essential in our lives. Downsize things when it is reasonable and enhances our lives. Minimalism is to make everything in order and harmonious. Minimalist architecture and design reflect these values. We create spaces that cut out complex aesthetics and focus on functionality to enhance our experience of the designed space with simplicity.

Although accents and complexity are intentionally absent in minimalism, it does mean that we can't enhance aesthetics. Minimalism takes pride in solid form, classic geometry, neutral and natural tones, and dramatic lighting that makes the space better despite having less. Minimalism influenced us to look at our lives thriving with simplicity and having fewer luxuries. We don't need to disconnect from the busyness and pressures in our lives. We need to swim into it. We need to approach it piece by piece, like our design for minimalist spaces that prioritized harmony, tranquility, and order. Minimalism inspired us to try minimizing our lifestyle and living spaces to maximize our experiences, whether in our lives or our experiences of the design of our living spaces.



Check out my previous post on Architecture and Design Community

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Readings:

  1. Rushika H.P., Lessons From Traditional Japanese Architecture You Need To Learn, Medium

  2. Jessica Stewart, What is Minimalism? Learn the Intricacies & History of This Influential Aesthetic, My Modern Met

  3. Marie Belsten, De-clutter to minimize your life and maximize your potential, Medium

Photo Credit:

  1. Japanese Homes | Photo from shell_ghostcage/Pixabay, and Dongho Kim/Pixabay

  2. Tiny homes in Portland, Oregon | Photographed by Dan David Cook

  3. Minimalist interiors | Photographed by Jean van der Meulen, Doori Choi, and Stuart Green, and photo from free-photo/Pixabay

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Great read. I am a big fan of minimalism myself, been living just out of my backpack for long years... Less is more :)

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I am a big fan of minimalism myself, been living just out of my backpack for long years

Wow, that is great. Your experience proves that living with less attachment to luxuries is still a bliss. Indeed, less is more. Enjoy some !PIZZA

By the way, thank you for the curation and support.

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This is a great discussion and conversation starter for minimalist design.

I am a minimalist, maybe not the extreme kind but I am. I go for quality over quantity. My family survived living with a suitcase each for 2 years which proved that we could live without the other items we had stuffed in a 20' container.

"Minimalist is a good thing to emulate as we can save up on bills and worry less. Life becomes simple and less stressful."

I stand by that. This year we let go of some of those items in the 20' container and moved to a smaller house with half the area of what we used to live at with very little storage space. We evaluated which items are essential and kept the rest that had sentimental value in a storage facility.

If I were to design our family home one day, it would definitely be a modern minimalist design. I don't think we could live in a tiny home. I think each person has their own version and interpretation of minimalism and that's fine. It's not just about cutting down and there's nothing wrong with luxuries, I mean I don't mind splurging on a business class ticket if I can afford it but I think minimalism should be centered towards one's values.

We still intend to trim down the other stuff by selling them as soon as we get the chance. We have been living the nomadic lifestyle for the last 6 years which is great for our family because we could easily move whenever we want to without worry. The biggest advantages I've experienced with minimalism are clarity, lightness, focus on what's essential. The fewer material objects we own, (the less to dust and clean haha), the lighter the energy flows. I own less than 15 t-shirts of either plain black or white so I don't need to decide and think hard about what to wear on a daily basis. Having said that, do you think I've gone extreme?

My family survived living with a suitcase each for 2 years which proved that we could live without the other items we had stuffed in a 20' container.

Wow, that is really great. I think that minimalism is really great. I did some minimalism in my life too. I choose to own only few things like clothes (try to have two or three shades of tone). Living without attachment to objects and lavish lifestyle seems really good.

If I were to design our family home one day, it would definitely be a modern minimalist design....The biggest advantages I've experienced with minimalism are clarity, lightness, focus on what's essential.

I also like to have a minimalist home in the future. I couldn't agree more with having clarity and deeper sense of what is essential.

Having said that, do you think I've gone extreme?

It is not extreme. It is for living a life that care less for the luxury but for what is needed and essential. I like to live like that too. What is extreme is you live all behind and become a nomad. I think you are doing fine. Enjoy some !PIZZA

Thanks for the Pizza :) Living with two-three tones of clothes is cool. Been enjoying that, I feel a sense of zen seeing these limited color palettes when I open the closet haha. Being detached from material stuff is liberating.

Yeah, it is liberating to not be attach with material things.

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The valuable principle of "Less is More" has been applied to countless aspects of our lives. And while not everyone advocates this mindset, there's a useful aspect to it that's vital for architecture. The practice of minimalism helps us to declutter our ideas, prevent stress, and provide more organized solutions for the various problems on hand. At the end of the day, it's about going back to basics. Thus, a clean environment will constantly result in a much peaceful space to experience.

The practice of minimalism helps us to declutter our ideas, prevent stress, and provide more organized solutions for the various problems on hand... Thus, a clean environment will constantly result in a much peaceful space to experience.

That's it. Minimalism is not just a concept but a lifestyle, movement, and actions to towards more organization in our lives or whatever we do. Although my workstation sometimes becomes a mess, I can always resonate with "clean environment can always result to peaceful experience", and to add up, better productivity. Enjoy some !PIZZA

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Dear @juecoree, Do you think Japanese Zen philosophy influenced minimalism?
I don't know anything about minimalist architecture.
However, I do know that Buddhism in India entered Japan through China and Korea and became a Zen philosophy.😄

Currently, Korea, China, and Japan each have their own Zen philosophy.
I was the first to know that Japanese Zen philosophy had an influence on minimalism.😉

Zen (Chinese: 禪; pinyin: Chán; Japanese: 禅, romanized: zen; Korean: 선, romanized: Seon; Vietnamese: Thiền) is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty, known as the Chan School (Chánzong 禪宗), and later developed into various sub-schools and branches. From China, Chán spread south to Vietnam and became Vietnamese Thiền, northeast to Korea to become Seon Buddhism, and east to Japan, becoming Japanese Zen.[1]

The term Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word 禪 (chán), an abbreviation of 禪那 (chánnà), which is a Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit word dhyāna ("meditation").[note 1] Zen emphasizes rigorous self-restraint, meditation-practice, insight into the nature of mind (見性, Ch. jiànxìng, Jp. kensho, "perceiving the true nature") and nature of things, and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others.[3][4] As such, it de-emphasizes knowledge alone of sutras and doctrine,[5][6] and favors direct understanding through spiritual practice and interaction with an accomplished teacher[7] or Master.

Zen teaching draws from numerous sources of Mahāyāna thought, especially Yogachara, the Tathāgatagarbha sūtras, the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, and the Huayan school, with their emphasis on Buddha-nature, totality, and the Bodhisattva-ideal.[8][9] The Prajñāpāramitā literature[10] as well as Madhyamaka thought have also been influential in the shaping of the apophatic and sometimes iconoclastic nature of Zen rhetoric.[11]

Furthermore, the Chan School was also influenced by Taoist philosophy, especially Neo-Daoist thought.[12]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen

Yeah, minimalist is inspired from Zen Philosophy, which came from Indian' Buddhism.


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A good way to show that minimalism does not have to be at odds with comfort and good taste. Kind regards

minimalism does not have to be at odds with comfort and good taste.

Definitely! It should not be at odds with comfort. It should amplify comforts. !PIZZA

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