Since the birth of modernism more than a century ago, the ethos of “less is more,” the famous motto adopted by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, has become synonymous with sophistication.
And nowhere has that been more evident than in our homes, where Scandinavian and Japanese-style interiors have become increasingly popular (a brief nod to Marie Kondo, the “tidying expert” who took the world by storm during the pandemic). (not to mention obsession)) reflected values of simplicity, restraint, and purpose beyond excess and decadence.
But in recent years, more designers and homeowners have turned to striking color, pattern, and texture combinations. Bold, expressive, and extravagant, this maximalism (as opposed to minimalism) is in many ways the antithesis of the clean lines and muted color palettes that have dominated modern home decor.
And it’s a style rooted in a completely different philosophy. more It’s more than that.
Inside the home of a “maximalist” where more is more
Although the term only emerged as a reaction to modern minimalism, it has its roots in the decorative styles of the 17th and 18th centuries, when Baroque and Rococo flourished in Europe. Think Louis XIV’s lively Palace of Versailles. Often associated with the very wealthy, the aesthetic of excess came and went, resurfacing during the Victorian era and later intertwining with movements such as Art Nouveau and postmodernism.
The style seems to be making a comeback, perhaps inspired by the rise of social media and the recession-era backlash against frugality.
new book “Living to the fullest: luxury homes and maximalist interiors” pays homage to maximalism through the lens of around 30 projects, mostly private homes and a small number of boutique accommodations, expressing the stories, influences and creative processes of the people behind them. From fashion designer Rosita Missoni’s vibrant Milan apartment to burlesque icon Dita Von Teese’s glamorous, theatrical Hollywood mansion, this glossy title suggests that maximalism is not limited by set rules. rather than being defined by the eccentricity and eclecticism of its inhabitants.
Interior designer Matthew Williamson’s Mallorcan home This is a perfect example.. Rich in pastel colors and floral patterns, the building is filled with chandeliers, gold-framed mirrors, and Moorish mosaic walls, reflecting the owners’ lively and fun approach to design.
“I think I’ve always been a maximalist at heart,” Williamson said in an email. “I’ve always been drawn to things with patterns and patinas, interesting textures and colors, and items that tell a story. After all, our homes should reflect our personalities and tastes. or may be reflected.”
Jewelry designer Solange Azagury-Partridge’s summer home in Somerset, England, is also featured in Living to the Max. Maximalism, unlike its opposite, is a means of self-expression.
“Minimalism requires strict adherence to a way of seeing and living,” she says. “This is a powerful and brave perspective, but one that does not tolerate confusion or deviation. Isn’t your home the place where you can express yourself most freely? That’s why maximalism works so well and always makes sense. I will continue to have it.”
Many of the designers featured in this book are happy to support the maximalist movement and associate their work with it. But some, like Edinburgh-based designer Sam Buckley, shun the label (even if they embrace some of the ethos it represents).
“I appreciate that some of my designs touch on sensibilities associated with maximalism, but it’s not something I’ve ever really thought about,” Buckley told CNN. “I find it difficult to categorize my work into a particular style, with the exception of perhaps radicalism, because I look for inspiration in so many different things.”
Fun, playful and sophisticated, Buckley’s Edinburgh home combines his extensive art collection with eclectic furniture and quirky decor. In contrast, the apartment he created for his game designer Miss Carey (also featured in Living to the Max) takes inspiration from 1960s American “super graphics”. Although the two homes are aesthetically different, both feature Buckley’s fearless use of color.
“I love the simplicity of minimalism, but I often find the color palette disappointing,” says the designer. “I think maximalism is a great antidote to the often boring gray and beige color schemes that dominate minimalism.
“But I don’t see why we can’t use color better and achieve more minimalism. That’s what I’m really advocating.”
“Living to the fullest: luxury homes and maximalist interiors” published by Gestalten is now on sale.