Modern minimalism in the Indian home design context
When one uses the word minimalism in the design context, the obvious reference is to western terminology which ensconces this word in references to a 21st century movement inspired by Japanese design concepts.
It can be traced back to the De Stijl Dutch artistic movement of the early 20th century and to the philosophy of one of modern architecture’s leading names—Ludwig Mies der Rohe who believed that “less is more”.
The basic tenets of a minimalist philosophy are to strip form and function to essential elements and focus on the core. The underlying mantra is simplicity that is well defined. Combined with the basic framework of traditional architecture in India, cultural influences and local materials, the fundamental aspects of minimalist design have found an altogether distinct identity. Spurred by a greater responsibility in terms of promoting sustainable design. Interior design in India is witnessing a new conceptual framework that merges modern minimalism with traditional architecture.
The inspiration for a traditional home design is often based on the philosophy of the owners, their interpretations of living, family structure and sensibilities. It is meant to be a celebration of their way of life.
The focal point in a traditional Indian home is the central courtyard, open to the sky and serving as the main activity zone and the heart of the home. One of the marked features is the play of indoors and outdoors where the two merge into a unique language of space, where the boundaries of difference fade away into irrelevance to make way for an expression that is more aligned with nature.
While activities are cocooned in secure private spaces, they are well connected to the living areas, which are large and open. Corridors and staircases are used as connecting elements while openness and ventilation forms the bedrock of design. Spaces are merged and yet retain their individual sanctity.
The traditional Indian home has witnessed a revival in recent years, and has brought with it new definitions as heritage is combined with contemporary articulations to create spaces that are more unifying in their design. Minimalism has always been a traditional feature but is now viewed in a more modern context and used as a frame of reference to define an entire interior space. Furniture is basic and bare, but unlike the western definitions, the warmth of wood is used to create minimalism and steel is marked by its absence. Rustic earthern materials keep things grounded while shunning the appeal of glossy cold surfaces. In that sense modern minimalism in the Indian context has a very different connotation.