Trending :

April 19, 2024

The evolution of modern maximalism

Schenelle Dsouza 
Maximalism is undoubtedly the ‘it’ word in the interior design industry today. Taking over after the previously popular style of minimalism, maximalism has come to be described as an expression of bold personalities; an eclectic mix of unique styles, striking colour palettes, patterns, shapes, and textures. While minimalism focused on the less-is-more aspect of design, maximalism seems to be all about more is more!  
Altus Luxury Living
Photo Courtesy: Altus Luxury Living
While maximalism is still the biggest trend right now, it does seem to be undergoing an evolution. Sticking to the more is more trope; experts have begun to notice a pattern amid the chaos giving rise to what is now called modern maximalism. 
So how is it really different from maximalism?  
Calling it an individualistic expression of maximalism, Aroosh Mahipal – Co-founder of White Domus believes modern maximalism to be a contemporary interpretation of the maximalist style. The main difference between standard and modern maximalism, he believes, is the historical and cultural contexts, as well as their design purposes and aesthetic goals. “In the past, standard maximalism was used in India as a way to showcase the wealth and power of rulers and aristocrats,” Mahipal shares. He believes standard maximalism to be rooted in traditional design with an emphasis on luxury. “Ornate buildings and palaces like the Taj Mahal or Amber Fort were built as grand symbols of their patronage and were intended to impress visitors with their opulence, beauty, and scale.” Modern maximalism however, he feels, has a more individualistic and contemporary aesthetic sensibility. “It tends to be less formal than its traditional counterpart and often incorporates elements of pop culture or contemporary art. It is used more for self-expression purposes.”
Adetee Sawhaney - Founder and Creative Director, Altus Luxury Living
Adetee Sawhaney, Founder and Creative Director, Altus Luxury Living
Adetee Sawhaney – Founder and Creative Director of Altus Luxury Living, believes modern maximalism to be reinvention, more contextual and idiosyncratic to both, a space, and the individual. “The philosophy of maximalism is to create a space that is full of energy, colour, and character, with each element carefully chosen to contribute to the overall effect. It is the idea behind the artwork or the furnishing that one chooses, which differentiates standard and modern maximalism.”  
Retracing History 
Maximalism in India can be traced all the way back to the medieval age when the obsession with more is more began with the royals. Back then, the elements of maximalism were defined by ornate architecture, intricate carvings and lavish materials like silk and velvet. 
Altus Luxury Living
Photo Courtesy: Altus Luxury Living
“Maximalism, when tracked down through history was all about glitz and glam; gold accents, striking lights satin upholstery and an uncanny influence of Neoclassicism, Rococo and multiple design cultures; maximalism over the years has just got better,” says Neha Gupta, Co-Founder and Interior Designer of Beyond Designs. While the design styles remain more or less of the same, Gupta feels that the inclusion of bold colours, floral patterns, embroidered details, and textural collages has modernised maximalism with increased experimentation. “People today, are not afraid to experiment. They will try to go for layering, experimenting with multiple patterns, textures and even colours.”
For Abhishek Kathuria, Founder and Creative Director of Rosabagh, the evolution between maximalism during ancient and modern times has much to do with the evolution of the society we live in. “A maximalist vision will always evolve over years. However, looking back and comparing the separate times, it is the relation of materials to design and the geometry of space that has transitioned with the development of our society at large.” He further shares that modern maximalism evidently continues to pay tribute to ancient design where the spirit of opulence is explored through different mediums – artefacts, wallpapers, traditional colour palettes, all of which draw heavily from the royal period.
Photo Courtesy: Nitush & Aroosh Mahipal, Co-founders, White Domus
Photo Courtesy: Nitush & Aroosh Mahipal, Co-founders, White Domus
The use of opulent décor and rich elements back in the royal age was a way of conveying wealth and power of the rich and affluent – that was the idea of maximalism back then. Maximalism in the 21st century is a means of self-expression; a personal and eclectic approach to one’s own personal space. “With the power of the internet and social media, consumers have become exposed to newer forms of design, finding inspiration within different mediums and attempting to incorporate these elements in their cookie-designed homes which represent their own uniqueness,” says Nitush Mahipal – Co-founder of White Domus. The essence of self-expression through one’s home is what maximalism is all about. People want their home to be a true representation of their personality and so they often look for pieces that are an extension of their personalities. “We live in the era of personalisation, and this is a part and parcel of maximalism.” 
Apart from the elements used, there has also been an evident shift in the materials used. For the ancient royals, it was marble and wood. Today there is an exploration of non-traditional materials like resin, metal, concrete, leather etc. 
Sachin Gupta & Neha Gupta, Founders and Interior Designers, Beyond Designs
Sachin Gupta & Neha Gupta, Founders and Interior Designers, Beyond Designs
Room For More  
Minimalism is still very much in trend as its crisp lines and muted colours has recently dominated the design world, especially the urbanized population seeking reference in the design trend. However, the loud and rebellious maximalism is also taking some of the spotlight. Less is more to more is more, the preference of design themes is changing where people are not scared to experiment and are introducing bold print and patterns to their homes. While it can get a bit tough for both the trends to co-exist in one space, designers can make it happen by finding a balance between both. Accentuating the heights of maximalism and subtly toning it down through minimalism can happen by merging the characteristics of both the design trends. A highlighted accent wall with a plethora of frames can be toned down with neutral walls on the other sides. 
Minimalism and maximalism is an ongoing conversation: you are either labelled a maximalist or a minimalist. But we feel there is room for both. 
Beyond Designs
Photo Courtesy: Beyond Designs
In spaces, for example, we are seeing a rise in the use of maximalist aesthetics in minimalist spaces. There is a contemporary fascination with minimalism that carries on the ideals of European modernism. While it is true that minimalism creates the illusion of wide-open space, it has become too common in a world where people are looking to personalise everything. This is where maximalism comes in. Over the past few years, we have seen how people are incorporating big paintings Rothco-like into their spaces or experimenting with bold fabrics and wallpapers to add a touch of their personalities to the spaces they inhabit. The biggest shift, however, has been in the use of sculptural furniture as a statement piece that is both functional and a piece of art. 
Looking at this from a pure material perspective, one can see a coexistence of both trends. The minimalist design expression descends from late 19th-century and early 20th-century European modernists who championed an industrial aesthetic with no decoration. There are several modern artists that are challenging the notion of how we use industrial materials and shape it into pieces of art that move away from the traditional geometric shapes of minimalism. This is precisely what we do at White Domus. We do not like labels, so we do not consider ourselves one or the other, but what is central to our work is to explore the limits of the industrial stainless steel, and shape it into seemingly impossible textures and shapes to create one-of-a-kind pieces that are the focal point of any space.
Beyond Designs
Photo Courtesy: Beyond Designs
Organised Chaos  
While the maximalist design is all about embracing excess and creating an energetic and visually rich space, it is important to strike a balance so that the space does not become overwhelming. By creating a focal point in the room, such as a statement piece of furniture, an eye-catching work of art, or a bold accent wall, you can draw attention to a specific area of the room without overwhelming the entire space. 
Lighting can be used to create a warm and inviting atmosphere, as well as to highlight specific areas of the room. Use a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a layered and dynamic look. While mixing patterns and textures is a key element of maximalist design, it is important to do so in moderation. Choose a few key patterns and textures to incorporate throughout the space, rather than going overboard with too many different elements. 
Photo Courtesy: Rosabagh
Although maximalism is often thought of as the opposite of minimalism and may seem easy to understand, it actually requires a delicate balance of elements to create a visually stimulating space without overwhelming it. Achieving a well-designed maximalist space requires expertise in layering, combining furnishings, accessories, and art to create a sophisticated look. A good understanding of colour theory and colour combinations is also essential. However, it is equally important to know when to stop, as maximalism can easily veer into hoarding if not carefully curated. Even though maximalism is all about abundance, it is crucial to highlight a few statement pieces such as a unique artwork, an ornate mirror, or a piece of sculptural furniture. Focusing on these few standout pieces can add a dramatic touch to the space without overpowering it. 
Adding components to Modern Maximalist interiors without making them appear obtrusive or overdone is hard. The chaos is not without order. It is essential to take the right colour palette, prints and patterns into consideration to avoid making the space look cluttered. An orderly collage is better than a random splash of colour in various locations. Adding metallic and gold accent to interior design is a great idea in this scenario.
Abhishek Kathuria - Founder and Principal Designer, Rosabagh
Abhishek Kathuria – Founder and Principal Designer, Rosabagh
Do not mess up being a maximalist by having a disorganised space. Put some luxurious patterned rugs in there instead of random artefacts that do not evoke reminiscence or charm. More will be more when it comes to modern maximal spaces. Employing components like wallpaper that tells stories, floor patterns to evoke conversations, tinted mirrors, warmer lights, and bold colours in interiors will appear like chaos that is worth appreciating. 
Have a cohesive colour scheme: Use a colour palette that is cohesive and harmonious. Choose a primary colour and add complementary colours to create balance and interest.
Use patterns thoughtfully: Avoid overwhelming the space with too many patterns. Instead, choose a few statement patterns and mix them with solid colours to create a visual hierarchy.
Create focal points: Choose a few statement pieces or areas in the room and make them the focal points. This could be a bold piece of artwork, an ornate mirror, or a piece of sculptural furniture.
White Domus
Photo Courtesy: White Domus
Layer thoughtfully: Layer different elements such as furnishings, accessories, and art in a way that creates a sense of depth and dimension. Start with larger pieces and add smaller items to create a layered effect.
Edit and declutter: Finally, edit and declutter the space to ensure that it does not feel overwhelming. Remove any items that do not add value to the overall design and ensure that there is ample space for movement and flow.
While maximalism encourages layering and abundance, it is important to edit and declutter the space to prevent it from becoming too cluttered or overwhelming, maintaining a sense of order. It is all about creating a visually stimulating space, while still being functional and practical.
White Domus
Photo Courtesy: White Domus
Grouping related items together, such as books, vases, or decorative objects, can create a sense of order and make the space feel more intentional. Organizing elements by colour can also help create a cohesive and visually pleasing look. Similarly, dividing the space into zones, such as a reading nook or a dining area, can help define areas and prevent the impact of elements and accents used in a space from converging into one another.
You may also like: 
LuxeBook Decor Special Issue
Crockery and cutlery trends for the summer

Schenelle Dsouza


Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter