Trend Report: Modern Maximalism

Trend Report: Modern Maximalism
March 3, 2016 angela

Trend Report: Modern Maximalism

Maximalism is a movement that gives a nod to postmodernism – a time where diversity and ideology were explored.

In interiors, maximalism goes against most of the colour and pattern combination rules and is commonly referred to as a dramatic or eclectic style.

It echoes truly customised spaces, rich layers by applying colour-on-colour and print-on-print along with the seamless integration of several styles and periods.

Now to best understand maximalism, it’s important to know its opponent, minimalism.

Minimalism is often credited to the famous words of German-American architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: “Less is more”.

Words that were then retorted by another American architect, Robert Venturi who stated: “Less is a bore”.

Now it’s no secret that the world has had a long-love affair with minimalism. The most recent trends are often reported to be prompted by the 2008 recession. During this turbulent time consumers chose to adopt a more frugal lifestyle, tried to make “safer” economic decisions along with an increased environmental awareness of reducing ‘excess’ anything.

Like most movements, this minimal approach remains strongly reflected in interior design trends. Aesthetically it’s seen through neutral colour pallettes, less texture and minimal décor. This has presented a very “no fuss” approach to many interior spaces.

However, it seems I’m not the only one tiring of clean marble countertops and copper accents or a polished wooden table with a mere lighting pendant hanging above.

Consumers are starting to miss the colour, the drama and the opportunity to really personalise their spaces – the foundation for which is maximalism.

To explore decorating “to the max” I’ve drawn on the expertise of John Croft, principal interior designer of the award winning John Croft Design firm in Australia and Ana Zuravliova, interior designer at Roman Blinds Direct in the UK.

Croft’s firm is renowned for their audacious flair and maximalist approach in décor while Zuravliova creates an array of maximalist styles for customers as the look is informed by colour and texture – often applied to wall décor, fabrics and window coverings.

Defining Maximalism

“Being the opposite to minimalism, maximalism is all about layering,” explained Croft. “Things like texture, scale, colours, accessories and art all help to give a dynamic look.”

Croft also offers some interesting insight on the reports that the rise in minimalism has been informed by global economic strain and social stressors – he believes maximalism can offer similar comfort.

“Returning to classic designs during austere times actually counteracts the minimalist look in economically uncertain times because these classic designs are reassuring, comfortable and not challenging,” he said. “Typically these classic looks are not minimalist and in fact maximalist.”

Maximalist design by John Croft Design in a Gold Coast home.

Maximalist design by John Croft Design in a Gold Coast home.

Zuravliova’s definition is complementary.

“For me, (it’s) something old; a style gathered together over many decades or even eras,” she said. “Something heavy; heavy looking materials coupled with a mix of different eras; touches of Baroque design and classicism etc.

“But the most important thing maximalism represents is the knowledge, beauty and wealth gathered together over a lifetime.”

Maximalist involves textures and rich layering.

Maximalist involves textures and rich layering.

The Maximalist Approach

When it comes to decorating Croft exercises a thoughtful approach of using scale, texture, colours and accessories to achieve the look.

The artful hallway of a newly-refurbished Shorncliffe home by John Croft Design

The artful hallway of a newly-refurbished Shorncliffe home by John Croft Design

Zuravliova also confirms that maximalism is not to be confused with clutter or a mis-matched application.

“Maybe at first maximalism can look cluttered, but it is not,” she said.

“Maximalism represents the wealth of a life. If we will look back to the history we will be able to see that only the richest people could afford to decorate their houses with a heavy wood and metals which speak of expense and luxury.”

The luxury furnishings of the Palais du Louvre that used to serve as a home to the royals before it was a museum.

The luxury furnishings of the Palais du Louvre that used to serve as a home to the royals before it was a museum.

A Maximalist Movement

So do our experts predict that that maximalism will experience a surge in the new future?

“I predict this will happen on some level, but not a complete return to maximalism as this style obviously isn’t for everyone and doesn’t suit every style of interior,” reports Croft.

Zuravliova acknowledges that in the last 40 years, minimalism has had a strong reign over maximialism with many people choosing it as it appears easier to style.

“To style a good looking maximalist space, you need to take a lot of time, or maybe you will never actually finish it because you always will be finding a new accessory or piece of furniture to fill up you room.”

She also recognises that the décor that often makes up a maximalist space has lost its lustre in the mainstream market.

“People are seemingly less interested in historical art and literature now, seeing it as a very niche style, which leads them to cold and empty looking rooms because they have nothing to keep there,” she explained.

“I believe that maximalism occupies a strange place right now, as a counter-culture movement against modern “clean” designs and homes. Hopefully, it will experience a revival in the near future!”

Finally, what makes maximalism so great?

(It’s what we all want to know)

“Maximalism is much more dynamic, creative, flamboyant and extravagant. It’s exciting and has a sense of enthusiasm and joy,” concluded Croft.

For some further maximalist inspiration, you can visit the flair of John Croft’s work here and some beautiful product from Roman Blinds Direct here.

Cover image via Vogue Living

Now to create your own maximalist space the lovely Zuravliova has offered a four step design guideline. Off you go, get adventurous! Ange x 

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