Minimalism in music has been defined as an aesthetic, a style or a technique, each of which has been has been a suitable description at different points of time in the development of minimalist music. Minimalism in the visual arts is the optimum abstraction of forms and figures; relying on the line to convey a lot more thought and feeling than is explicitly manifested. Minimalism in fashion design also suggests a cutting down of frills and fancies to give the garment a stark simplicity – using line and colour as the main attributes of the design. 

The term ‘minimalism’ is a trend from early 19th century and gradually became an important movement in response to the over decorated design of the previous period. Minimalism primarily reflects a shearing off of zealous decoration, resulting in pragmatic, often bare and strictly functional spaces. Minimalist design/architecture simplifies living space to reveal the essential quality of buildings and conveys simplicity in attitudes toward life. It became popular in the late 1980s in London and New York where architects and fashion designers worked together in the boutiques to achieve simplicity, using white elements, cold lighting, large space with minimum objects and furniture. This design vocabulary instils discipline, dignity, peace, and above all – a transcendental meditative character into the space. The trend spread to other parts of the world, catching momentum over time. However, with time, the spiritual overtones of the aesthetic are lost. 

The white and minimalist aesthetic became a rage in India over the past decade – with sophistication and style overriding other parameters of the décor. Many architects and designers are seen to prefer this style – especially in very large and lavish homes where space isn’t a constraint – and therefore there are no compulsions of having storage elements crammed up wherever possible, no extra mattresses to hide, no multi-use furniture elements or spaces! Here the vastness of the space combined with lesser dividing walls gives visual relief! However, these upper-crust dwellings using lesser elements (to go with the minimalist theme) end up having a lot more jazz into the detailing (to go with the lifestyle)! Consequentially this compromises on the essence of minimalism – of creating a spiritually calming space! 

But then the aesthetic vocabulary only gets richer with individual interpretations! Designers have to blend together several variables into a single, workable aesthetic – that only suits the given site or client specifications. In Classic Collections, I have picked up a few rooms done by different designers – to showcase individual interpretations of minimalism! However, the true essence of minimalism seems to resonate in the Panchgani home designed by Architect Rajesh Patel for a Mumbai-based business family.