De Stijl: Setting Simplicity

De Stijl is known as an art and architecture movement that emerged in the Netherlands. This trend showed its influence intensely between 1917 and 1931. Although different trends were observed in both art and architecture afterward, De Stijl has never lost its impact on today’s design. Piet Mondrian, Theo Van Doesburg, Gerrit Rietveld, and Jacobus Oud are among the movement pioneers.

De Stijl’s Understanding of Design

We can say that the works of Piet Mondrian pioneered the formation of De Stijl movement. Of course, Mondrian did not create De Stijl alone, but today when we mention De Stijl, his works come to mind directly.

Artists belonging to the De Stijl movement refused any imposition from the Baroque tradition. They adopt a more straightforward style of expression with the influence of modernism. Some subgroups of De Stijl say that they are inspired by nature, and we can see that they include amortization forms in this direction. However, Mondrian’s work does not appear to belong to nature.

De Stijl made significant contributions to modernism with his intellectual foundation. It has a straight, clear, geometric, and abstractive expression style, and we can only see certain angles and lines in Mondrian’s works. The use of color is limited to only include primary colors. Using yellow, red and blue, and black and white, which are not considered colors, De Stijl artists, led by Mondrian, have achieved a unique language of expression in expressing the world.

De Stijl and Architecture

De Stijl has been useful for a short time but managed to infiltrate all areas of art during this period. We can see De Stijl’s effects on fashion, architecture, and furniture design.

De Stijl’s relationship with architecture is a little different. At this point, it becomes difficult to talk about pure De Stijl architecture. Instead, the effects of many different movements like modernism and minimalism with its intellectual infrastructure manifest themselves in architecture. People realized De Stijl’s acceptance of architecture because it did not contradict this philosophical infrastructure. From that point of view, we can easily see that all these ideas affect each other and how they relate to each other.

After all, if we need to talk about De Stijl architecture, probably the best example would be the Schröder House. This residence, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, is almost the life of De Stijl as a building.

Rietveld, as an enthusiastic De Stijl supporter, followed Mondrian’s footsteps in designing the building. Just as Mondrian did not accept intermediate colors to its canvases, it is impossible to see any color other than primary colors in the Schöder House. Primary colors were used for visual purposes and turned into tools expressing the functions of the building.

The plan of the Rietveld House also successfully reflects De Stijl’s thinking. There is only one fixed wall in the house. All other walls are movable. Thus, we can provide flexible use in the space. Walls serve as separators, not carriers. The walls owe their flexibility to the development of reinforced concrete and steel construction technology.

Both its original attitude in design and the fact that it includes innovative technologies for its period make Schröder House one of the modern architecture milestones.

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