If simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication, then it’s no wonder why minimalism has endured in home decor. While overdone interiors decked like the halls of Versailles fail to stay in vogue, minimalist design is timeless. But who says simplicity has to come at the cost of luxury? As evidenced by the French designer Jean-Michel Frank, with great design, minimalism can be just as decadent.
In 1920’s Paris, Art Deco reigned supreme. Lavish and ornamental, this decorative style reflected the decade of prosperity following WWI. While showy and flashy was all the rage, Jean-Michel Frank was making a name for himself with his minimal, avant-garde approach to design. Still reeling from the tragic loss of his family as a result of the war, he ushered in a style that reflected the austerity of the previous generation. By stripping furniture down to the bare minimum, he created spaces devoid of ornamentation and clutter—along with a new approach to understated elegance.
While his pared-down style appeared sparse to some, it was embraced by the wealthy and culturally elite. His furniture featured pale palettes and cubic forms punctuated by the use of unusual luxury materials such as lacquer, vellum, and shagreen. Designing apartments for luminaries like Cole Porter and Nelson Rockefeller, Frank’s minimalist interiors were embraced by those living in the lap of luxury.
Testifying to the power of Frank’s designs, his popularity endures to this day. In 2011, Hermès reissued some pieces from his classic 1924 homeware collection. The now iconic furniture features his characteristically clean lines and subtle exotic veneers, including a sheepskin club chair and a parchment-covered dressing table.
Today modern luxury companies embrace Frank’s influence, creating minimal designs from high end materials. Renowned for their traditional fine ceramic technique, LAUFEN exemplifies Swiss workmanship and the minimalist aesthetic. Created by renowned designers, their deceptively simple and organic forms are the height of modern bathroom luxury.
Underscored by their philosophy that every detail has a purpose, bulthaup is a leading creator in the architecture of timeless living spaces. Using precision German engineering and premium wood veneers, bulthaup creates signature kitchens featuring clean lines that adhere to minimalist form.
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