In fashion there are fads, in architecture there are trends, in life there is both, fashion and architecture and ofcourse fads and trends. While one cannot really pay much attention to fads or trends, one cannot ignore fashion or architecture. It’s been a while since Van de Rohe proclaimed that, “Less is More”, an adage that has found it’s application in a bunch of things across the world, in unlikely disciplines, say literature or waste management, meditation or even in conversations, for the wise often said, “least said, soonest mended”. Now thats a one for the road or even another post. But this is the age for Minimalism, not Brutal Minimalism lest we are mentally afflicted with the cause of nothingness, but instead Clinical Minimalism. In an age of COVID, lesser surfaces means lesser space for the virus to land on and lesser chances for it to thrive. But minimalism has got to be kept clinical, and my clinical I mean that we are all patients, prospective or retrospective, and all attention needs to be made to make sure we are well observed very efficient and very detached, being all at once practical and clear. And clinical also in the sense of being with a scientific bent of mind. There is little that we can do, and that little has to be done with clinical precision. As I tuck away unnecessary material possessions, a friend chopped of her hair, for the ease of maintenance during these times, am reducing the number of surfaces thereby clutter and embracing this age of clinical minimalism.
There is little that we humans need to live, oxygen being the number one on the list, but of course there are others, to maintain our sanity and to keep ourselves predominantly human. In our quest to be safe and stay protected may we not lose the one thing that makes us human, our empathy for fellow human beings. It is a pity when one exhibits such clinical precision in cutting one off, sets up boundaries, only to keep oneself safe, demonstrating no sense of humanity, or even a sense of empathy for fellow human beings. Pristine castles are built with absolutely no warmth and are perfectly cold and detached havens for such beings, who perhaps will not be affected by COVID, let alone any other virus, but such people then are building castles devoid of warmth, devoid of any feelings. They are the clinical materialists, the opportunists who manage to live, and be largely unaffected by the lives of the others. Let us then clinically purge such people, embracing minimalism in the truest sense of the word. In a fear of turning Positive, may we not forget how to indeed be positive, optimistic rather than opportunists.
There are homes, that are losing members, cities that are losing citizens and countries that are losing people. As architecture, stands tall, it can shelter us from the elements and perhaps from the virus, if only we let in ample ventilation and make use of cleaning products to wipe out this vicious virus. It may just have shown us the viciousness that thrives in the world, but then we have our forts, built on land to tide us through this storm that has come unannounced. Our homes, are our havens. They have always been, but even more now. And in these homes its time we embrace a clinical attitude to minimalism, and as we take away things that we deem inessential, may we not purge human values, that make us human. Caring for the world at large but caring for those who we can protect by the resources that we have. For what use is material possessions that are in place instead of a beating heart, and when COVID is gone, may it show us how to thrive in spite of all odds, showing us how fruit full less can really be, especially when it is coupled with science and make with deliberate observations. As the construction industry grinds to a halt, let our imagination still soar, dream and manifest a life that thrives beyond all odds.