Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Less is More?

Less is more. Less is more. Less is more. It is true that less is more. In a world of 24/7, always connected, Twitter and more, more, more, less is a welcome respite from the daily barrage. Homes, places of business need to be more efficient, more simple, more Dwell magazine, minimal and Zen. Living rooms and lobbies are furnished with planar, furniture sculptures within wide horizontal spaces to quiet life and business. Less clutter means more getting down to business and minimal elevates living to a rite of sorts. The minimal can also inspire and stir the imagination. Look at the Pyramids and their geometrical perfection. They are literally man-made mountains. Wow! Stonehenge with it's simple post and lintel construction. There must have been a very good reason to stack these elephantine stones that way. There is "Cloud Gate" in Chicago's Millennium Park. People are drawn to it's reflective and funhouse mirror surface. The Vietnam Memorial , with its somber list written in black stone of the those lost, guides us on the path to paying tribute and gratitude. Two elegantly placed pieces of etched stone help us to remember. Yes. Less is more.

Then there is Antoni Gaudi's "La Sagrada Familia". There is nothing less about this building. Here more is more. It is not a mass-produced thing, a cog, a car, nor a machine for living. It is tailor-made. It is pre-industrial. It is unique. And every piece of it appears unique. None is like the other. Gaudi built to glorify Nature. He was a Catalan builder. And proud of it. Is it overindulgant? Is it wasteful? Is it less because it is more? No. It inspires because it invites you to discover its messages. It is overwhelming with message and craft. It invites you to read its messages. It is a hidden grotto with hidden treasure. It glories in the hand-made or at least in the appearance of it. Inlaid mosaics. Tree-like columns. Sculpture. In fact the whole is a sculpture. It is humble in in capturing the everyday and the holy. Birds of the air and farm animals mingle with angels. It revels in its individualism. It blurs the boundaries between art and building. It is a building that showcases its personality rather than distilling it. And for this reason, it is a very human building. A living breathing thing that is far from shy. So yes, Less is More. But every once in a while you got to let go.

P.S. I love Dwell magazine.

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