“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance; – Gabriel Coco Chanel
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo Da Vinci
“Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art”
Frank Lloyd Wright
There is a book written on Simplicity by Rhode Island School of Design(RISD) President, John Maeda, called andldquo;The Laws of Simplicityandrdquo;. This is a quick but excellent read that not only talks about the simplicity in design but also how to incorporate that simplicity into the daily tasks of your day.
One of the most known of all furniture styles is that of the Shakerandrsquo;s, most notably the Shaker rocking Chair. Almost completely void of ornamentation except for the finials, these Chairs are coveted by many collectors for their simple yet graceful lines. The Shakersandrsquo; lives were much like the furniture that they produced, simple. Everything seemed to have a purpose in the shaker communities, and if something didnandrsquo;t seem to have a purpose, then it was seen as worthless embellishment.
One of my favorite pieces of furniture addressing simplicity in design is the andldquo;Nail Cabinetandrdquo; (shown above) of 1979 by Gary Knox Bennett. Bennett made a cabinet using complex joinery and production methods. He then took a six penny nail and drove it into the front of the cabinet. Purist studio furniture makers were outraged when he displayed his piece. Bennett was communicating that these complicated building techniques were useless embellishments of technique and craftsmanship. In other words, Bennett was making the point to the furniture world to keep things simple because there is no reason to overcomplicate design.
All of my own furniture designs as well as the dandeacute;cor in my own home take after this devotion to simplicity. My furniture is designed to be constructed using simple methods. I tend to let the textures and materials that I use to serve as the only ornamentation. If all these other great artistic minds put such a heavy emphasis on simplicity, then I would be out of my mind if my own work didnandrsquo;t follow their example.