Minimalism From Shaker Furniture to Oki Sato

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Minimalism, today, has inspired millions of architects and designers around the world. While many have been exposed to minimalism in one form or another, very few understand and appreciate the underlying thought behind minimalism. Minimalism began as a very disjointed movement. It can be traced back to the time of the Shakers. The Shakers were basically a strong religious communal group of people who believed in simple living. Their belief of simple living extended to their architecture and furniture design which carried traced of minimalistic design. However, Minimalist design did not begin as a proper movement until the twentieth century. Minimalism in design gained momentum as a reaction towards Abstract Expressionism. It follows the principles of achieving more in less. Negative spaces in minimalist design are not feared. rather they appreciated by exposing them to bright white light. Oki Sato is one designer who appreciates the beauty of minimalism. For him, minimalism is beautiful with its simple design. This paper will discuss the simplicity inherent in minimalistic design by exploring the characteristics of both ancient and modern minimalistic design. The Shakers represent the old minimalistic style while Oki Sato through his design studio, Nendo represent the modern take on minimalism. Because simplicity in design is straightforward, this paper displays the progression of minimalism from Shaker furniture to the more modern Oki Sato designs. The paper will first focus on defining the scope.