Minimalism and Aesthetics

Many people are enjoying the aesthetics and lifestyle of minimalism. They keep what they have to a minimum for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the reason, the movement tends to lend itself toward the extreme simplicity of design. For many this can be a relaxing look, it signifies less clutter and less to clean. For others, this look can feel very cold and harsh. For lovers of the ostentatious eras of Queen Victoria and King Edward, minimalist modern aesthetics tend to irritate their sensibilities. Or at least it does for me. Perhaps it is hard for me to enjoy the look of something that appears to lack a compelling story; a black Ikea coffee table, I lack the ability to see connection and enjoyment in such a piece. While I dislike clutter, which vastly irritates the lazy part of me, I also don’t appreciate the cookie cutter space age modern minimalist aesthetic that often loves a gray-scale.

Of course the lovers of this aesthetic would disagree with me and I am sure that they would say that there is beautiful individuality and great stories behind the pieces that they live with. I would not be surprised if there was; I just can’t see it as a whole in regards to the style. Personally, I love items from the Victorian Era to Art Deco. I just enjoy the aesthetics and pieces from those eras tend to have a longer history than more recent ones. When I walk into a home or look at piece of artwork on someone’s wall and ask the inevitable question of “Where did you get that?” I would rather the answer not be, oh I just got it at (insert box store here). While saying Goodwill instead is somewhat better, after all, it still had a life before it reached the store, it still is a bit short. Whereas being able to say that you bought something at a flea market on a Sunday and haggled with the booth owner over its price just sounds more interesting. To me a great story is one that starts with discovering a local craftsman and being able to tell their story in addition to your own. I feel that older pieces or ones that don’t feel as cookie cutter cold often have better stories.

Of course a deceivingly simple plain wooden table may have a fantastic story behind it; one that could include the tale of a craftsman. That would be fabulous to hear. I understand that people tend to love minimalism and that sometimes the aesthetics tend towards the very stark and plain. I only ask that we ensure that the furniture and decor that we surround ourselves with, don’t also have a minimal history as well. Many people try to follow the minimal lifestyle to help the planet by purchasing less stuff. If you wish to have less stuff, please ensure that the items you do have tell a great story. Perhaps I dislike the minimalist/modern aesthetic because it feels cold and lifeless to me but if you enjoy the aesthetic, great; just ensure your aesthetic tells your story with other ones and possesses a life of its own.

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