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Minimalist interior designer means so much more than a stark, white room these days. A resurgence in the style has meant that 'minimalism' has become an umbrella term, with offshoots and tangents that bring new energy to the movement, yet still belong in the minimalist discipline.
From soft minimalists that bring warm tones and wooden materials to luxurious minimalists that are bringing a hint of glamor to their pared-back schemes, to the designers that see minimalism as a holistic practice, minimalism is no longer so black and white.
To help you get to grips with the ever-evolving style, Instagram is a fantastic source of inspiration and education. 'Minimalism is about finding the core,' says Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen, founder of Copenhagen’s Norm Architects, who practices what he calls soft minimalism in their architecture and custom furniture. 'It is about a search for essence. By eliminating the superfluous, you emphasize core qualities of life, spaces, people. It's a way of practicing daily life that has been pivotal in many important cultures of minimalism throughout history.'
With this definition in mind, we've curated some of our favorite minimalist designers who are inspiring us to embrace this modern interpretation of minimalism in our own homes.
Oonagh is an experienced homes writer and editor. With an interest in the world of interiors, her Instagram feed has evolved into a curated collection of stylists, bloggers and interior designers, but these are her favorite she's gathered from the world of minimalism.
1. Norm Architects
Norm are pioneers in minimalist design. Based in the homeland of minimalist design that is Copenhagen, Norm Architects was founded in 2008, and today work across interior design, residential architecture and commercial interiors. Norm's spaces are beautiful and focus on the simplicity of Scandinavian design, natural materials and thoughtful architecture. 'Our work is sharp and crisp and exudes, tacitly, our focus on quality, details, and durability,' explains founder, Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen, founder.
'Our approach to minimalism is about eliminating the irrelevant in order to emphasize what is important in life through tactile designs and interiors that invite you to engage with them. By working with natural forms, materials and colors we can create spaces and objects that engage with our ancient aesthetic preferences – that feel good, look good, and that last.'
A beautiful coffee table book exhibiting the works of Norm Architects that have made them key figures of Nordic design. It shows residential projects throughout Scandinavia, Italy and Japan.
2. Noa Santos
Noa Santos's style of interiors is luxurious minimalism. The neutral color palette, smooth curves, and simple lines combine with high-end minimalist decorative embellishments and a contemporary look that makes it really stand out. The founder of architecture and design studio NAINO is also about raw and textured materials, and a scroll through his Instagram feed makes for a soothing experience, awash with creams, greys, and muted tones.
3. House of Grey
For the founder of House of Grey, minimalist interiors are all about how our homes can be holistic spaces through salutogenic design. These principals dictate that what is essential in the home is the ambiance, ergonomic design, products, and a feeling of calm from nature. In this way, what we bring into our home is crucial to impacting our everyday lives, and must be sustainable. Scent-scaping is also an important layer of interiors for Louisa, so much so that she did the interiors for the Soho-based fragrance shop, Ffern, which opened recently. This minimalist living room features calming colors, shapes and texture. There is always a wonderful rhythm in interior design when it comes to her work.
'In positive surroundings, we can truly live in the moment,' says founder, Louisa Grey, 'bringing us into a state of contentment which supports our personal evolution, helping us to become a person who is wanting and needing less.
'This is not an innovation, this is the innate way of living and the future of modern living – where we elevate ourselves to a state of health and happiness.'
'We design creative places that allow your mind and body to be calm and focused by reducing visual noise and distractions – maximizing space and minimizing clutter.'
4. Pella Hedeby
Another Scandi designer who will give you a dose of wanderlust, as well as interior design envy, is Pella Hedeby, whose feed includes scenic, vast, and cold-looking landscapes mixed with her latest design projects. The landscape surrounding Sweden is so intertwined with Pella's work, from the color palettes used - whites, dark browns, creams, and greys, to the sustainable practices she preaches, as seen in this minimalist bedroom.
'For me, an minimalistic interior gives a sense of peace and harmony,' says Pella. 'With less distraction and more focus on what’s really important.
'And it is quite a simple recipe: A few handpicked furniture and objects, in materials and textures that add a natural warmth. A mix of wood furniture, stone, and linen is included in every work I do.'
'When it comes to a minimalist interior, you need the architecture to provide you with a base, that will live with the light through the day. And then simply add textures in subtle layers.'
5. Heju Studio
Under Heju Studio, minimalism is inspired by a real culture clash. Scandi meets Japanese design - or Japandi - all coming from a small studio in Paris. We like the account for its comforting curves, which helps detract from any starkness that emanates from a cold color scheme. This form of minimalism proves that minimalism can be playful, and friendly, and while might sit at odds with the traditional definition of minimalism, it is accessible and welcoming to those who are new to the discipline.
Hélène Pinaud and Julien Schwartzmann meet at the National School of Architecture in Strasbourg, founding the Heju studio in 2015. 'We work around straight lines and minimalist volumes to create timeless spaces. Our sensitive and spontaneous approach allows us to optimize spaces as well as possible, to challenge codes and customs and to advocate a return to emotion. We try to breathe poetry into the daily lives of our customers,' they say.
6. John Pawson
A quick scroll of architect and minimalist interior designer, John Pawson's Instagram will reveal how the design style is so entwined with the way light plays with our interiors, how shadows at different moments of the day cast a different hue, and how light, contrast, and shadow work as minimalist elements of interior design. John's Instagram flies the flag for why minimalism is a better way of life.
John's ethos is all about keeping the space clean, simple, and pure and how that helps us feel happy, and says that he noticed his fascination with interiors and architecture spike as a young child when he was aware of how architecture could make him feel and what spaces he felt good in. It's this direct correlation between architecture and one's well-being and feelings that makes John a minimalist.
Another interior design studio that prioritizes well-being in interiors is nune. nune is a small design studio based in New York and London, working globally on residential and commercial properties, with a focus on the planet and working to create comfortable and approachable spaces from kitchens to coffee shops.
'We are driven by the simple belief that thoughtful design contributes to well-being,' says founder, Sheena Murphy.
'We work as a collaborative team with our clients, architects, construction teams, craftspeople, and artists to create environments that allow their inhabitants to feel good. We design with consideration for both the planet and for human health, and we strive to support small businesses doing interesting work.'
Sheena's advice for living in a minimalist home is all about being ruthless with what you really need, being realistic, and buying what you love. 'Also, try to think about your design choices with a strong sense of function in mind so you're always making decisions that are both smart and aligned with your aesthetic preferences. '
At the heart of minimalism and one of the most well-known principles of the style is the practice of reduction and decluttering. 'Minimalism, to us, means to get to the core of materials,' says Luca Scardulla, co-founder of architecture practice, llaab.
'Reducing the substance and getting to the core doesn't mean losing character,” says Luca Scardulla. 'Rather than renouncing the soul, it’s about enhancing it: reducing to empower.
'Spaces can be minimal, yet they should be personal, responding to specific needs and personalities. We need spaces where we can feel at home and embraced. Homes are our nest.'
9. Studio Zung
14k people follow Studio Zung for daily inspiration on design, architecture, interiors and lifestyle, A modern design studio integrating architecture, interiors & the artistry of living. The team define themselves as architects, thinkers, designers and makers inspired by a holistic lifestyle and sensuous, luxurious design, celebrating the pillars of minimalism.
'We want people to connect with something in our spaces that touches an intimate moment within themselves,' explains principal Tommy Zung. 'True luxury is when something takes an incredible amount of detail, thought, materiality and structure just to get something simple and purposeful.'
Last but not least, while minimalism isn't known for its decorative flair, the move towards a more soft minimalism means that even the most ardent minimalists are welcoming more decorative furniture into their homes. Enter Pinch Design, a London-based furniture company providing real inspo for those looking for a warmth to their homes. From beautiful globe lights made from banana plant fiber to the Rodan elliptical table in oak, Pinch is a furniture lover's dream account.
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For style leaders and design lovers.
Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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