I HAVE THIS THEORY that full-on mid century modern style never really takes hold and endures — because it’s just too spare for most people. It’s minimalist. And we humanoids are not. We like our ornamentation. We pouf our hair and bedazzle our ring fingers. We put bones through our noses, we draw on cave walls, we put feathers and arrowheads into cigar boxes, and we spend hours hunting down rare kitschy creatures for our collections of postwar Made in Japan salt and paper shakers but “animals under $5 a pair only”. It’s a magical, mystical, mesmerizing, magnetic pull — to accumulate. Above: The Wilson House is stunning, but still too… tidy… for me.
I really don’t like to encourage ‘being a meanie’ [a key commenting rule here on the blog is: No one is to be made to feel bad for their choices], but for purposes of today’s Open Thread, I point to this website, Unhappy Hipsters, which lampoons the poses of not-too-happy-looking people in their bare, artful, modern houses. Should we get these folks some tchotchkes, stat?
I spoke to none other than mid century modern design legend Vladimir Kagan recently, and we chatted about this very issue — the struggle to achieve the most noble philosophical aspirations of minimalism.
My designs were influenced by the Bauhaus philosophy, “less is more” – I was raised on this. If you have a bigger piece of furniture, you need less seating elsewhere. The serpentine sofa seats eight people.
Pam: Do you live “less is more” in your own home? (I knew the answer because I had seen the photos of Kagan and Wilson’s New York City apartment on The Selby.)
Mr. Kagan laughs:
Less is more. Except in my own home. Do as I say, not as I do.
Pam: So why did you end up with more is more?
I wish I could be less is more. I have a yearning to move and start over. You end up with more is more because you like things. Erica and I traveled a lot, and we collected…. We have always acquired never eliminated. To create a clean space is a wonderful thing. I admire it and help create it for my clients. Unfortunately, emotionally I can not down-scale!
that it’s so hard to be minimalists?
Is there something very deep instinctual need to have our stuff?
(Let’s set aside the extremes, please, for this discussion.)
Should we give ourselves a break for being
creatures of domestic comfort?
Or, is there, and *should* we, strive for some sort of more “evolved” “balance”?
Please be *compassionate* in this discussion, okay?