Where Does “Less Is More” Come From: Let Us Back to 1947

Written by Amanda CHEN

Proofread by Ursula YANG

Aug. 4th, 2022


Having been a cliché of lifestyle Youtubers, having been voiced out by commercials from MUJI the Japanese brand, having been defined as the dresscode of French chic, we find “less is more” to show one’s good taste and self-discipline almost everywhere, especially on social media. Like a cure-all to consumerism, “less is more” has become a statement-making attitude in spite of the realistic difficulties behind. Have you ever explored who was the first to say “less is more”? What was the proverb for originally?


(Mies van der Rohe)



“Less is more” was originally declared by Mies van der Rohe in 1947, who was called “father of skyscrapers”. This minimalism style is a brand-new antonym to art nouveau, a style of decoration and architecture that is characterized by dense flowing lines and complicated patterns of flowers and leaves. The birth of “less is more” was almost a revolution in those days against the superfluous aesthetic stereotype rooted by the upper class. Meanwhile, reduction of elaborate decorations is the first condition to achieve a rational formal beauty.





The pursuit of being “less” is never to be boring, but a ceaseless attempt to perfectionism, a refusal to accept any inferior standard. Sisi HONG the designer with grado admired the will of creating practical objects with the soul of artworks delivered by Mies van der Rohe. She paid homage to his reform-liked avant-garde via a ”less is more” design of Omelette Lounge Chair.






“Less is more.”

“God is in the details.”


–Mies van der Rohe







Greatly influenced by the minimalism from “less is more”, we wished the Omelette Lounge Chair to have minimal structure so that the beauty of materials themselves can be presented to the largest extent. Therefore, every detail of Omelette has been perfectly polished to offer a look of its sublime state — the stainless steel base with mirror finish and the gentlemanlike texture of deep black real leather. This typical industrial styled mix-and-match of softness and coldness strikes a rational and calm visual impact.







Mies van der Rohe also had another well-known motto — “God is in the details.” grado has been particularly deliberate on details and materials


The solid stainless steel frame provides superior sturdy and durability; a very wearproof Cordura fabric is applied in between upholstered seat and steel frame, reducing any friction; velcro is used to fit upholstered seat to the frame.






Down filling guarantees the comfort, while high resilience foam guarantees the durability.

Finally, button tufting joins to add a sturdy form. Delicate curve at the seat edge was detailed to ease the possible pressure to users’ legs and upgrade the seating comfort.






Mies van der Rohe was born in anxieties about the soullessness of modern manufacturing, in fears about art’s confinement in ivory tower and loss of social relevance. “Fine arts” are not supposed to be “visual arts”. Designers should care about people, care about how they feel when using the designed product.







“Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change. The granite rocks, the ever-brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comes into shapes, and dies, in a twinkling.”

— The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered (1896)

By Louis Sullivan, American Architect, “father of skyscrapers” and “father of modernism”





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