Minimalism is not just a way of life and in fact much more than a mere attitude. Minimalism can be found in many areas of art and culture. But what exactly is minimalism? Common in all directions of this style is the basic tendency to simplify and slim down. Minimalists love the uniform aesthetics and functionality. Less is more and reduction is the principle. Minimalism can be found in art, architecture, music, design and fashion. For decades there have been individual representatives or entire movements that can be attributed to minimalism.

Minimalism in architecture

Strictly speaking, minimalism goes back far into history. Simple lines and buildings reduced to basic elements already existed in ancient Egypt.

Minimalism became undisputedly popular in the USA in the 1960s and early 1970s. From these beginnings, so-called Minimal Art developed in the visual arts.

Minimalism in architecture is essentially characterized by the absence of ornamental and decorative elements and by a clear form and line management. In the minimalism of modernism, the building forms are strongly reduced and often have cubic or simple geometric basic forms. Glass, concrete, steel and natural stone are the most commonly used building materials. A well-known representative of minimalism is the British architect David Chipperfield, who completed the Neues Museum on the museum peninsula in Berlin in 2009. The consistent minimalist succeeded in successfully transforming the building from the 19th century into the present.

Minimalism occupies a special position in Japan. Superfluous elements are not to be found and the interior design appears simple and clear. The emptiness of the interior is an important aesthetic element. Simple rooms are arranged with sliding doors and flexible room dividers so that modern and traditional elements are attractively combined.

Minimalism in art

In painting, the style of minimalism developed as a reaction to the overloaded style guidelines of previous centuries.

Characteristic of minimalism there is that colors and forms are reduced to basic structures and geometric surfaces. Primary colors are in the foreground. Minimalism is mainly used in three-dimensional art. This results in simple objects and sculptures that have a simple ordered geometric basic structure.

A well-known representative is Kurt Fleckenstein, born in 1949, who placed simple squares as installations in the landscape. The squares form a new context to the surroundings and give the viewer a differentiated view.

Minimalism in fashion

Minimalism can also be found in the fashion world. There, minimalists usually only need a few style elements to design a garment.

  • These are made with simple puristic and straight-lined cuts. As in architecture, they are often inspired by Japanese culture.
  • Even though the term minimalism actually comes from the field of art and architecture, the fashion style of the same name still depends on skilfully combining the right elements while remaining as discreet and minimalist as possible.
  • A well-known representative is the 72-year-old Yohji Yamamoto who kept his designs simple and minimalist throughout his life.

Minimalism in music

The fitting music for minimalism is called minimal music. This is a collective term for various musical styles that developed in the USA from the 1960s onwards.

Based on Minimal Music, Post-Minimalism emerged in the 1970s, which still influences Techno music today. In Minimal Music a simple basic pattern is constantly repeated over long periods of time with only slight variations. A well-known representative is the American composer Stephen Michale Reich, who was born in New York in 1936 and is considered one of the pioneers of minimalist music.