Next To Nothing

ISLAND selects thirteen light fixtures that qualify as truly minimal

Calipso from Artemide has a diffuser that mimics an organic, honeycomb shape, and is fitted with LED lamps. Through LBU Lighting, Fort Lauderdale, Fadecci, Miami.

Of course we’ve all heard Mies van der Rohe’s oft quoted “Less is more” dictum, which helped usher in an era of architecture stripped to its essentials.  By ridding buildings, and furnishings, of superfluous ornament, the thought went, the focus would be placed on the rational… on the inherent beauty of simplicity. The embrace of this idea led to masterpieces like the Seagram’s Building in New York or the John Hancock Tower in Chicago. In furnishings it led to Saarinen’s Tulip chair and George Nelson’s Bubble pendant light.

Like many movements in art and architecture, eventually there is pushback. In the case of Modernism’s minimalist leanings, the pushback came by way of Postmodernism, led by Robert Venturi’s proclamation that “Less is a bore.”  But after decades of applied columns, crazy color and historicist references, the tide turned… and turned hard. On these pages we celebrate a minimalist aesthetic in lighting. Because right now, we need simplicity more than ever. It’s that simple.