Maximalism

If you've been keeping up with design for the past few years, you've seen a lot of a certain color.  Well, more like...lack of it.  White has been dominating the scene, accompanied by pastels, spare, desert plant-life, and the occasional organic pattern, such as shibori or marbling.

Top: Heath ceramics. Bottom Left: Apiece Apart, Bottom Right: Image from woodsandweaves.com

Top: Heath ceramics. Bottom Left: Apiece Apart, Bottom Right: Image from woodsandweaves.com

I've hypothesized a few reasons why this brand of "minimalism" caught on with the ferocity that it did.  Firstly, it is tied up in the scouring of previously industrial urban spaces that have been renovated for young, mostly white, upper-middle class people to move in by the hoards.  These spaces that are frequently advertised with buzzwords like "loft” already come with an "open floor plan" because they weren't built to be a home in the first place.  The open, airy, whiteness is built right in, and one can definitely see its appeal. 

Secondly, the aesthetic has a foundation in the "Kondo" movement, which has preached the power of owning less possessions.  This idea has thrived amid the overwhelm many of these same people experience being young urban professionals—minimalism allows them to feel more in control and present. 

Lastly, and very importantly, it is easily achievable.  You move in to an empty loft, buy a bed with white sheets, comforter, and pillow, throw a sheepskin on an Ikea chair, top it off with a succulent that you never have to water and it miraculously never dies, and...voila!  Instagram-worthy perfection.  I have no problem with the ease of this approach—design should be democratic.  It is the lack of individuality, the cookie-cutter application, that has made the movement a bit tiresome.  To be fair, that is the cycle of all trends.  Let's just say, although it certainly has its genuine innovators who I will continue to admire, I'm ready to move on from this one.    

It is clear that a "Maximalist" backlash has been brewing, the king of which I would deem Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci who stepped in in 2015 and has catapulted the design house to the top of many an aspirational list.

An image from Gucci's 2018 Cruise Collection

An image from Gucci's 2018 Cruise Collection

Another big player, who Michele has collaborated with, is fellow Italian Martina Mandadori Sartogo, the woman behind insider-favorite Cabana Magazine.  Cabana has a more focused aesthetic than your average publication, and that aesthetic is decidedly maximalist.  Mandadori's genius collaborations with other maximalists in the field only cements its voice as an authority on the movement.

Cabana Magazine covers by Gucci, left, and Schumacher, right.

Cabana Magazine covers by Gucci, left, and Schumacher, right.

Other big names in the resurgence are Luke Edward Hall—a designer with fine arts bent who has collaborated with the likes of Burberry and Drake's but has also lent his talents to Samsung—the "Pluralist" interior designers of Dimore Studio, JJ Martin of the new Italian label La Double J (no surprise that there are lots of Italians in the maximalist mix!), and Miguel Flores Vianna, the publication of whose book, "Haute Bohemians" undoubtedly inspired a fair few teetering minimalists to cross over.  

HauteBohemians_Cover.jpg
Image from La Double J

Image from La Double J

Luke Edward Hall in his Camden Studio

Luke Edward Hall in his Camden Studio

If there were any doubt, Maximalism was a big buzzword in 2018's trend predictions, landing spots on the lists of Instyle, InteriorDesign.net, WGSN, Chairish Co., Lonny Magazine, and the LA Times—and I'm sure many more that I missed.

Here are a few images of my favorite recent maximalist interiors to celebrate!

Interior by Anna Spiro.

Interior by Anna Spiro.

Tory Burch's Southampton Home

Tory Burch's Southampton Home

Miles Redd's interior design of a Gil Schafer home in San Francisco

Miles Redd's interior design of a Gil Schafer home in San Francisco