Just when you thought you had a handle on interior design, along comes the maximalist movement, an emerging trend that sees homeowners and interior designers revelling in bright and vivid colour. But, where has it come from, will it catch on and what are the ramifications if it does?
The maximalist movement is being explored by those who see mainstream interior design as bland, boring or simply not for them. Instead, they are choosing to fill their homes with colour, crazy eclectic collections and kitsch – for some this heady mix is too much to bear, but for others the colour can be therapeutic.
“I was like, oh my God, £4 – that’ll go with the pigeon!”
A recent article in the Guardian asked if maximalist interiors were “a response to our troubled times – or individual expressionism?” Some of the maximalist images posted online are reminiscent of the 1970’s, punk rock and the album covers of Jamie Reid et al – a time when, much like now, there was political unrest and uncertainty.
The article features Tania James, aka Ms Pink, who has a penchant for collecting dayglo ornamental animals and whose home is totally maxed out. She also runs Quirk and Rescue, a small business selling maximalist prints and soft furnishings, but it appears that maximalism isn’t just a playground for a niche band of artsy rebels.
The trend is being adopted, at least to some degree, by a number of the high streets bigger names. River Island and John Lewis have recently launched more raucous homeware ranges and artist Per B Sundberg has been ushered in by Ikea to design accessories that are “lush, rough and burlesque”.
Neon colours and quirky collections may be the headline grabbers of the maximalist movement, there is however a more graceful and elegant strand to the trend. This aesthetic is more classical bohemian than punk rock and plastic and prints are replaced by silk, velvet and original oil on canvas – as in the photo above, captured beautifully by Martyn Thompson.
We have a vested interest in architectural and lifestyle renderings, some of which we do for large scale residential property developments. So, it pays to stay abreast of the latest trends as they can sometimes impact on what we do.
And whilst we’re not ready to fully embrace the maximalist movement, it does raise questions about how we consider the colour balance within buildings. Have we all been brainwashed by the Scandi design ethos?
Clarity, Calm and Wellbeing
When in search of clarity, calm and wellbeing, many search for an environment that is neutral and free from distractions. John Lennon famously retreated to his white house, Tittenhurst Park in Ascot, to escape his hectic life in London.
The full scope of the maximalist spectrum features interiors that could be described as escapes, certainly from the corporate world many of us spend our working days submerged in. The personal nature of the trend means that it’s unlikely that we’re going to see maximalism adopted into the spaces of offices buildings any time soon.
If, however, self-expression and individualism, in the home, can help people through hard times and make them happier, then who really cares how bright, chaotic or maximalist it is.