Minimalist Design

Front Cover
Walter de Gruyter, Jan 1, 2004 - Architecture - 221 pages
In any creative activity the term Minimalism usually refers to the radical stripping away of the expressive means and to its consequent formal austerity. Yet Minimalism stands apart from the numerous trends that have succeeded one another convulsively over the past decades.
In a movement that has now continued for over forty years, the idea of minimalist simplicity has influenced the theatrical work of Robert Wilson, the music of Philip Glass and Michael Nyman. Raymond Carver's literature, the architecture of Claudio Silvestrin. John Pawson, Michael Gabellini and Tadao Ando, the fashion of Giorgio Armani, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Calvin Klein, the dance of William Forsythe and Lucinda Childs, not to mention graphics, cinema and design. Several important antecedents come to mind when analysing each of these phenomena: Luis Barragan for architecture. John Cage for music. Marthe Graham for dance, Michelangelo Antonioni for cinema, jeans and T-shirts for fashion. Suprematism for art. Max Bill and Dieter Rams for design.
By adopting a process of working backwards, we discover how the idea of simplicity has permeated widely disparate figures and cultural areas in time and space: from Cistercian architecture to the Zen school of Japanese architecture, from the masters of the Modern Movement to isolated figures like Adolf Loos. In the field of design we have witnessed over the past few decades, a process of radical simplification and a new focus on the design heritage of the last century and more.
While the figure of Donald Judd appears increasingly pivotal also in design, it is impossible not to acknowledge A. G. Fronzoni's role as a significant forerunner. Opening with an attempt to outline the ways and means through which the idea of simplicity was substantiated in proposals set in a variety of historical and cultural contexts (from eighteenth-century rationalism to the Shakers and the Modern Movement) and culminating in an analysis of contemporary designers whose work is particularly committed to this process of formal reduction the book aims to underline the vastness of the roots from which this idea draws inspiration, its multiformity and, lastly, the versatility of expression it still offers today.

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About the author (2004)

Franco Bertoni lectures at the Istituto Superiore Industrie Artistiche in Faenza.

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