Minimalism and Design

1 - 30 April 2021
  • Minimalism and Design

    The term minimalism appeared in the 1960’s in the post World War II western art scene with the American Minimal art movement. However in design and architecture, it had already been used to refer to an object reduced to its necessary elements. Many artists from the 60’s created minimal artworks directly inspired by the clean lines of the modernist pioneers from the previous decades. 

     

    However, many artists and designers around the world developed their own interpretation of the concept of minimalism

  • Poul Kjærholm

    In Scandinavia, the radical work of Danish architect Poul Kjærholm is a perfect example of this aspiration to create furniture solely defined by its function and materials. 

    Kjærholm always gives clean and minimalist shapes for his seats while keeping a great solidity specific to the Scandinavian style.

  • Armchair, 1964 Chromium-plated steel and leather 69 x 63 x 48 cm - 27 1/8 x 24 3/4 x 18...
    Armchair, 1964
    Chromium-plated steel and leather 
    69 x 63 x 48 cm - 27 1/8 x 24 3/4 x 18 7/8 in
    Manufactured by E. Kold Christensen
  • The PK12 armchair, created in 1964 and manufactured by E. Kold Christensen shows Kjærholm's predilection for new materials, especially steel... The PK12 armchair, created in 1964 and manufactured by E. Kold Christensen shows Kjærholm's predilection for new materials, especially steel...

    The PK12 armchair, created in 1964 and manufactured by E. Kold Christensen shows Kjærholm's predilection for new materials, especially steel that is combined here with leather. The tubular steel is bent to form the legs and the back of the chair, subtly echoing to the form of bentwood chairs. 

  • More furniture by Poul Kjærholm
    • Poul Kjaerholm, Office table, 1957
      Poul Kjaerholm, Office table, 1957
    • Poul Kjaerholm, Set of 4 armchairs, 1957
      Poul Kjaerholm, Set of 4 armchairs, 1957
  • Serge Mouille

    In France, Serge Mouille’s lighting fixtures are perfect examples of the minimalist aspiration of the artist. These iconic floor lamp and wall lamp designed in 1953 present sculptural and elegant silhouettes that express a sense of spatial movement. Mouille’s lamps with their characteristic reflectors were conceived as a reaction against the Italian models that he considered “too complicated”. There is a real desire to go back to the simple and fundamental elements of the object.

    • Serge Mouille, Floor lamp, 1953
      Serge Mouille, Floor lamp, 1953
    • Serge Mouille, Two rotating arms wall lamp, 1953
      Serge Mouille, Two rotating arms wall lamp, 1953
  • George Nakashima
    Desk/Console, 1975
    Cherry birch
    66 x 202 x 91 cm
    26 x 79 1/2 x 35 7/8 in

    George Nakashima

    On the other side of the ocean, in Pennsylvania, George Nakashima addressed minimalism with a more spiritual approach. Contrary to Kjærholm and Mouille, Nakashima claims his interest in nature in his creations by showing the natural beauty and nobility of the wood. Nakashima’s elegant and timeless designs, even though rich in subtle details, exude a sense of simplicity that is especially due to the traditional process of hand making with the use of very few tools. In this particular method, minimalism can be defined as the pure and simple craftsmanship that create exceptional pieces of functional art. 

  • Sideboard, 1960

    Each of Nakashima’s pieces of furniture is unique as their shapes follow the organic lines of the wood used.

    Cherry, pandanus cloth
    45.7 x 203.2 x 40.6 cm
    18 x 80 x 16 in
  • This sideboard dated 1960 is structurally simple with its rectangular shape. The meticulous details of the joinery allow us to... This sideboard dated 1960 is structurally simple with its rectangular shape. The meticulous details of the joinery allow us to... This sideboard dated 1960 is structurally simple with its rectangular shape. The meticulous details of the joinery allow us to... This sideboard dated 1960 is structurally simple with its rectangular shape. The meticulous details of the joinery allow us to...

    This sideboard dated 1960 is structurally simple with its rectangular shape. The meticulous details of the joinery allow us to measure the excellent skills of the woodworker but are naturally integrated in the minimalistic design of the cabinet. The sliding doors add to the practicality of the item, as they do not require additional space for their opening. Every element of this sideboard is intended to serve both visual and functional purposes. 

  • Brazilian Design

    Brazilian furniture design progressively adopted the modernist principles influenced by master designers from Europe. Designers embraced the ideas of functionalism with a rationalization and simplification of forms while considering the social realities and specificities of the country. Modernist pioneers Joaquim Tenreiro and José Zanine Caldas both developed a style imbued with minimalism. Their first concern was to adapt their furniture to the current times and the everyday life of Brazilian people.

  • “A principle to which I felt modern Brazilian furniture should adhere: lightness. Lightness which has nothing to do with the weight per se, but with grace and functionality in space.”

    - Joaquim Tenreiro

  • Coffee Table , ca. 1960 Wood, marble 34 x 110 x 70 cm 13 3/8 x 43 1/4 x 27... Coffee Table , ca. 1960 Wood, marble 34 x 110 x 70 cm 13 3/8 x 43 1/4 x 27... Coffee Table , ca. 1960 Wood, marble 34 x 110 x 70 cm 13 3/8 x 43 1/4 x 27...
    Coffee Table , ca. 1960
    Wood, marble 
    34 x 110 x 70 cm
    13 3/8 x 43 1/4 x 27 1/2 in
    Manufactured by Tenreiro Moveis e Decoracoes
     

    The H table designed around 1960 owes its name to the shape of its feet. Free from any excessive ornamentation, the table is reduced to its essential elements. Its originality lies in the dialogue between the cold marble and the tropical wood. Tenreiro’s work is characterized by the use of materials suitable for the Brazilian climate.  

     

  • In José Zanine Caldas’ work, Brutalism and Minimalism converge to create a very unique production of furniture. The pieces he...
    Amoeba side table, 1952
    Naval plywood and veneer
    45 x 80 x 55 cm
    17 3/4 x 31 1/2 x 21 5/8 in
    Manufactured by Moveis Z

    In José Zanine Caldas’ work, Brutalism and Minimalism converge to create a very unique production of furniture. The pieces he designed present natural and organic lines and reject the use of geometric shapes. With local wood as its exclusive material and the use of few rudimentary manual tools, Caldas’s approach to the act of creation is permeated with minimalism as it symbolizes a significant return to the origins of Brazilian identity.