Is less really more? Not always

Less is more,” is a phrase from the 1855 poem “Andrea del Sarto, called ‘The Faultless Painter’” by Robert Browning. The phrase was adopted by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), American-German architect, as a precept for minimalist design.

OK, so we’ve heard these words a million times — less is more — often in situations that are not the least bit appropriate. Fashion designers use the term, makeup and hair consultants use it, weight loss and food professionals use it, and graphic designers use it. The term has taken on a life of its own, and you hear it used in many contexts. Today, however, we’re going to talk about it in the context of Mies van der Rohe’s take on design.

Wikipedia describes van der Rohe: “Mies, like many of his post-World War I contemporaries, sought to establish a new architectural style. … He created an influential 20th-century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define interior spaces. He strove toward an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of free-flowing open space. He called his buildings “skin and bones” architecture. He sought a rational approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design, but he was always concerned with expressing the spirit of the modern era. He is often associated with his quotation of the aphorisms, ‘less is more’ and ‘God is in the details.’ ”

While van der Rohe’s take is geared more to architecture, the phrase and the theory behind it is alive and well in the interior design community and used when referring to myriad décor subjects. Some feel that a few awesome pieces are “more” meaningful, appropriate, beautiful or any number of other adjectives than a houseful of them. Uncluttered, clean lines and a lot of visual rest — these ideas are espoused by many designers.

Less is more can mean other things as well. Many designers disagree on this premise (as they do about so many things!) but a few well-placed, appropriate pieces can make a bigger statement as opposed to just filling up a room for the heck of it.

Another take: For instance, I’m a collector. So, if I can have many of something I like as opposed to one, then I’m happier. Less is not more for me.

Another “less is more” applies to small spaces. We all have vastly different ideas of what should go into a small space. Some say little furniture for a small room. Others, including me, say, no, a few big pieces are the ticket.

In architecture and design, just like van der Rohe, low slung, contemporary furnishings with few or no accessories are quite popular. Most of us, though, like a little “more” when it comes to furniture, rug, plants, wall art and accessories.

Art collections or wall art in general fights the phrase. One large piece of art, or one specifically addressing a subject, is considered “more” than multiple smaller pieces. An uncovered window with good lines is considered “more” than covering the window with a treatment. One beautiful tree or plant is considered “more” than many small ones in the same area.

All of this makes sense, I suppose, but it’s just like most other things. In design, whether interior, architectural, landscape, graphic, fashion or whatever, what works for a space or individual is the thing to do. We can’t let others’ opinions or axioms dictate how we decorate or dress or fix our faces. Less is more sounds good and we know it has a meaningful history. But really, if “more” is “more” to you, go for it. You won’t be the first to buck the trend.

Carolyn Muse Grant is a founder and past president of the Architectural &Decorative Arts Society, as well as an interior design consultant/stylist specializing in home staging. Send questions to creativemuse@cox.net.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home and Garden Video
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like