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Minimalist Magic

Posted by
on February 22, 2014 at 02:19 PM

As in all design ideologies, minimalism too explores the relationships between light, form, detail, material, colour, texture and space. As the term suggests, minimalism promotes a complete obliteration of ostentation in décor and intricacy in details. Keeping all elements to a minimum, without any fuss and clutter, lends an ethereal quality to an interior space, and even to a built form. Minimalist architects simplify the physical qualities of the building, and simultaneously seek to bring out the spiritual dimension; by revealing the abstract and intangible factors such as natural light, sky, earth and air. In addition, they open up a dialogue between buildings and sites. Here we look at a few examples of architecture and interior design reflecting an essentially minimalist ideology.

© Courtesy of Varsha & Deepak Guggari

In minimalism, basic geometric forms, elements without decoration, simple materials and the repetitions of structures represent a sense of order and essential quality. The movement of natural light, exposed materials, integrity of form together contribute to the creation of a structure/décor scheme that is an outcome of “listening” to the site/structure. Of course, there is always an overlap of similar styles, in any design; because refinement or interpretation is a continuous process and one doesn’t really design within a box of constraints. Therefore a blurring of lines between contemporary and minimalist or cubist or even modern certainly can happen. 

Colours are also important to the perception of a style. White seems to a favourite with designers opting for the minimalist look! The amalgamation with nature, or the reaching out to embrace nature is a conscious effort seen across the collection. The colours of nature – blue of the sky and water and brown and green of the earth and plants are seen as popular choices. Plants and trees – and in particular the Plumeria tree – is also a frequent sight – chosen probably for its barren sculptural form.  

Colours are also important to the perception of a style. White seems to a favourite with designers opting for the minimalist look! The amalgamation with nature, or the reaching out to embrace nature is a conscious effort seen across the collection. The colours of nature – blue of the sky and water and brown and green of the earth and plants are seen as popular choices. Plants and trees – and in particular the Plumeria tree – is also a frequent sight – chosen probably for its barren sculptural form.  

 

Image 1: HCPIA (on TFOD)

Architect Canna Patel of Ahmedabad capitalises on the simplicity of forms, materials and detailing – to create minimalist architecture. Decoration is subtle and does not overpower the integrity of the elements of structure and space. In this compilation, I have selected a few images reflecting a contemporary minimalist style of décor in Indian design and architecture. Some of them have been sourced from designers on The Future of Design; some from the books I have compiled, while others have been picked up from my personal knowledge of designers’ stylistic choices. 

Image 2: DGA (on TFOD)

The Zen garden seems to have come alive in this bungalow in Vadodara done by Dipen Gada. The white walls and sand become the prime elements as they stand out in sharp contrast with the blue sky. The stark simplicity of the walnut brown furniture enhances the effect.

 

Image 3: RMA

Architect Rahul Mehrotra relies on linearity and planar interactions, textures and colours – once again with white as a strong feature and blue as contrast.   The cubist touch is palpable in this essentially minimalist vocabulary.  

Image 4: RMA

In the courtyard of an office building the white and linearity remain the strong features; but art and décor elements are seen adding relief and contrast. The essence of the design though is strongly contemporary and minimalist; as in almost all of Mehrotra’s work. 

Image 5: RMA

The barest of structural frames, bare wooden flooring and seamless interface between inside and outside make this house on a tree plantation done by architect Rahul Mehrotra a strongly minimalist one.

Image 6: My Beautiful Life (on TFOD)

Designer Sonali Shah is a white aficionado; her interior schemes having few and striking design elements pitted against a white canvas. Accessories in bright colours or customised art-work or fine upholstery enhance the bare white walls and furniture.  

Image 7: AHD

Aamir and Hameeda Sharma of Hyderabad elevate the minimalist approach to a new level – with this residence. The solid white cuboid rests lightly on the ground, while the square hollows frame the landscape on either side.   

Image 8: Milind Pai Architects (on TFOD)

In a Mumbai office designed by architect Milind Pai, the conference room in predominantly dark grey/black with white contrasts has a Spartan look. The simplicity of form and detailing is utterly sharp and makes a bold design statement.

 

Image 9: ShroffLeon (on TFOD)

This minimalist office by Kayzad Shroff uses darker tones of grey for the backdrop and has white furniture elements superimposed on it. The linearity of the layout streamlines the clutter-free look. The absence of other colours emphasises the starkness of the space.  

Image 10: Atelier DnD

In a bungalow in Vadodara, architects Anand Menon and Shobhan Kothari have used a beautiful blend of contemporary and minimalist vocabularies to create a stunning symphony between the elements of nature and the built interventions.  The straight lines and simplistic details give a dignified profile to the built form, enhanced by the white and blue colour scheme. The water-body along the periphery gives the feel of a floating structure.

Image 11: VDGA

Varsha and Deepak Guggari of Pune have a trademark design style that collates the dynamics between form and light. Playing with light and shade creates a dramatic effect over white walls and rough stones. Water is an element often seen in their work. Interior schemes are very contemporary and minimalist, almost echoing the architectural vocabulary, but adding a few touches of luxury and comfort into the aesthetic.  

Image 12: Rajiv Saini Architects

In Durbari – a fine dine Indian cuisine restaurant at the Swissotel in Kolkata, architect Rajiv Saini has eliminated the extravagance of décor and design elements. Speciality cuisine restaurants in luxury hotels usually reek of heavy cultural accents and glitzy accessories dot the space. The unusually simple styling of elements and homely touches impart a wonderfully refreshing and charming feel.     

 

 

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