Maximalism in Architecture: The Unconventional Style

Maximalism in Architecture

“Maximalism is a manifestation of a desire for a different world”


Maximalism in design, known as the ‘aesthetic of the excess’, is a philosophy that is based on the idea of abundance which is gaining momentum in the field of architecture in recent years. It is a style of design that emphasizes bold colors, textures, and patterns, as well as multiple materials and forms that often is considered the antithesis of minimalism, which emphasizes simplicity and clean lines.

However, this style can be applied to any type of building. Its main goal is to create an environment that is dynamic and creative, and that expresses the occupants’ personalities and interests. This approach to design is rooted in the belief that more is better, and encourages architects to be creative and daring in their designs.

Maximalism emerged in response to minimalism, which uses straightforward design components without embellishment or decoration. The maximalist theme embraces the playful concept that “more is more” in contrast to the minimalist theme, “less is more.”

Maximalism is a relatively contemporary aesthetic movement, but in some aspects, it seems to restore some historical aesthetics. Maximalism is a cultural theory that has its roots in the visual, performing, and literary arts.

The fundamentals of maximalism

  • Layering
  • both organic and abstract designs (including animal prints, feathers, and flowers)
  • opulent accent colors
  • Unusual objects
  • various textures combined
  • repeated motifs throughout the images
  • blended visual themes, etc.

Maximalist architecture is majorly known for using unconventional materials, such as glass, metal, and concrete. These materials are used to create structures that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Hence the maximalist structures are not only about creating bold and eye-catching buildings, but also about creating spaces that are functional and comfortable for people to live and work in. Maximalist buildings often feature large open spaces, making them perfect for gathering and socializing. They also often feature plenty of natural light, which helps to create a more inviting atmosphere. 

Maximalism architecture goes above and beyond what is necessary for a house or structure in an effort to be aesthetically beautiful. They stand out from the others to their numerous angles, intriguing designs, built-ins, abstract lines, and other features. These structures are very different from the “cookie-cutter” homes we frequently see in our neighborhoods, with highly customized constructions. Even on Google Maps, they’re the ones that stand out because they’re so distinctive.

Maximalism in Interior Design

The element of design for maximalism in interior design

  • Walls: Red, green, and blue would be the dominant hues on maximalist walls, which can be served as the room’s center points. Some walls can be given more importance than others by using wallpaper, patterns, and textures.
  • Furniture: Extreme maximalism can be seen in the size and color of furnishings.
  • Furnishings: Chandeliers, centerpieces, and other decorative items are used in nearly every corner of the space by the maximalist. Here, the room seems more cramped and intimate.
  • Flooring: A maximalist interior may choose to have flooring that is the same as the walls or completely different from the rest of the space. A space’s fascinating element is a combination of numerous tiles that have been carved into designs.
  • Design style: Boho design can be an example of maximalism.
  • Lighting: Warm lighting is used in maximalism in order to bring the entire range of elements together.

Maximalism in architecture has been embraced by many prominent architects. Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, and Rem Koolhaas are all examples of architects who have embraced this trend. These architects have created iconic buildings such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing. 

Guggenheim Museum in New York City by Frank Gehry
Guggenheim Museum in New York City by Frank Gehry

One very familiar example of architectural maximalism is the Luma Arles building in France, designed by Frank Gehry. The building is composed of curved glass structures covered in colorful panels, creating a vivid visual experience. The bright colors and dynamic forms of the building contrast with the more traditional buildings in the area. 

Luma Arles building by Frank Gehry
Luma Arles building by Frank Gehry

Maximalism can also be seen in the work of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, who uses non-traditional materials such as foam and plastic to create unique spatial experiences.

CCTV Headquarters in Beijing by Rem Koolhaas
CCTV Headquarters in Beijing by Rem Koolhaas

Although maximalism may be seen as a form of excess by some, it should be embraced as an opportunity to push the boundaries of what is possible in architecture and create something truly special. It is also a way to challenge the traditional expectations of architecture and create something new and exciting. Today is an exciting time for maximalist architecture, and its potential for innovation is limitless.

With the right mix of creativity, daring, and skill, maximalism in architecture can help create truly remarkable works of art. Because Maximalism in architecture is not a one-size-fits-all approach; rather, it is an approach that can be adapted and customized to suit a variety of needs. Ultimately, maximalism in architecture is an exciting and creative way to bring life to any space.