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In this episode for Sunday Edition, we welcome Kyle Chayka to examine Silicon Valley’s taste for minimalist design. Is this just the latest development for a style that has a long history but only emerged into pop culture during the 1960s and ‘70s when a contemporary art movement emerged to propel the taste for less into a global phenomenon?

Chayka’s book, (Bloomsbury, 2020), is a highly readable book that examines the historical precedents of minimalist design, its incarnation as contemporary art, and how it was co-opted by architecture, design, and fashion companies to represent a new, generic sense of luxury. I also want to mention that the author should be no stranger to longtime Hyperallergic readers.

The music for this episode is Darkstar’s “Timeaway,” which is taken from the new album News From Nowhere, courtesy of Warp Records (warp.net/artists/darkstar>)

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

2 replies on “Our Obsession With Less and Its Co-option by Silicon Valley”

  1. This interview is insightful in some ways and I respect both of your work. But your discussion of minimalism has some significant gaps when it comes to historical precedents and proposes a distorted (or at least partial) interpretation. Minimal interiors began during late 19th and 20th century design reform movements and were socially, philosophically, and technologically minded. Just like today, some prominent architects and designers certainly produced luxurious spaces and objects couched in reform rhetoric. It would be interesting to tie in the early modernist precedents for both Silicon Valley interiors and 1960s Minimalism (referring to painting and sculpture).

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