Less Is More, by Mies Van Der Rohe
In 1960’s New York, an unstoppable architectural movement bursts onto the scene, characterised by the simplicity of both its approaches and its forms and materials. This movement came to be known as minimalism.
The origins of this style can be traced to Europe, and German architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe’s “Less is more”. Mies was one of the most highly acclaimed architects of the 20th Century, who as a result of the Second World War emigrated to the United States, later becoming a US citizen.
Towards the end of the 1930s, Van Der Rohe was managing the Bauhaus (Germany), where he had his first ideas about purity of form and the use of the artistic concept to give personality to industrial design.
The phrase “Less is more” refers to stripping something down to the bare minimum, to its strictest essentials, avoiding superfluity. Although it is true that we can find references to this in classical architecture, the modern movement was a break with architecture and the other arts. There is a clear before and after, due to the new artistic and conceptual approaches of the time, in which “Less is more” critics also played a very active part. Robert Venturi was a well-known American
architect in those years who teasingly paraphrased “Less is more” to “Less is a bore”. Venturi is a self-proclaimed postmodernist who champions communication in architecture. His texts are entertaining and make you see all this from another perspective.
It wasn’t until the 60s that minimalism began to lose steam, picking up again in the 90s.
As we can see, the phrase has much history behind it and has been used not only in the world of architecture but in every corner of the artistic world.