Maximalism book Claire Bingham

Five designers who show that maximalism is back in fashion

From millennial pink bathrooms to totems in clashing multi-colours, maximalist design is on the rise, says Claire Bingham, author of More is More. Here she picks out five contemporary designers piling on the pattern.

Spanning the worlds of interiors, furniture, fashion, and graphics, the book More is More: Memphis, Maximalism, and New Wave Design, explores how the maximalist aesthetic continues to shape the current creative scene.

"The book is a celebration of design that feels happy," said Bingham. "This is design that goes beyond the comfort zone. It makes you smile."

The recent resurgence of maximalism started with the craze for millennial pink, a baby pink shade that dominated at Milan design week in 2017, and has developed to embrace a full brightly coloured palette.

"The sweet-shop colours, terrazzo floors, and curved cartoon shapes have been given a black outline and made graphic," said Bingham.

Bingham charts the history of maximalism back to the rule-breaking Memphis Group – the postmodern 1980s Italian design and architecture founded by Ettore Sottsass.

But she demonstrates that the maximalist aesthetic and "high-low combination of materials and styles" has been embraced by many contemporary creatives.

"Hello-there hues, vive la différence mindset, and flamboyant creativity – all hopefully, in the teeth of good taste," she said. "It's more than a style, it's an attitude."

More is More book by Claire Bingham
Claire Bingham's book More is More focuses on the resurgence of maximalism

The colourful, highly patterned look has been recently applied to interiors, furniture, and fashion, as well as graphics.

"In the book, the idea was to look back to design of the 1980s, specifically Memphis and see how that's shaping the love for all things maximal right now," she continued.

"It's multi-patterned, highly individual and no shapes-barred. The designers and projects featured embrace a freewheeling and curious spirit that characterised the original Memphis mood."

See below for Bingham's pick of five designers pushing maximal design:


Maximalism book Claire Bingham
Sasha Bikoff designed the technicolor Dreamhouse in New York. Image courtesy of Sasha Bikoff Interior Design/Genevieve Garrupo

Sasha Bikoff

"If there was any designer to sum up the adage: 'more is more', Sasha Bikoff is it. She recently completed a project for the Kips Bay Decorator Show House on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that is megawatt happy. It scatters colour and pattern like confetti and to me, is everything that maximalism is about.

"Yes, it is the antithesis of minimalism – there's an awful lot of design going on here but more than that, it's Bikoff's ability to combine so many opposing, complicated elements.

"For all its design credentials, the scheme projects strength and confidence. Faced with the challenge of designing a staircase in the townhouse rather than a reception room, Sasha owned it and decided to do crazy beautiful regardless of the tricky space."


Maximalism book Claire Bingham
Jamie Hayon designed the Terraza del Casino in Valencia. Image courtesy of Hayon Studio/Klunderbie

Jaime Hayon

"In the years since he founded his eponymous design studio, Spanish designer Jaime Hayon has created work for the likes of Cassina, Fritz Hansen, Bisazza and Baccarat – as well as interiors for leading hotels, restaurants and retail spaces.

"No stranger to Memphis or maximalism, his distinguishable whimsical and colourful style, stacked totem shapes and dazzling patterns makes him a modern day Alessandro Mendini.

"He is daring – and this has always influenced his attitude and creativity. At his interior for La Terraza del Casino in Madrid, guests are greeted by Hayon's characterful tropes. In this space, eyes, noses, ears and mouths are drawn into the lamps, trolleys and tableware. Known for his recurring use of figurative shapes, the building is literally smiling back."


Maximalism book Claire Bingham
The Sweet Drop lights were designed by Schneid Studio. Image courtesy of Schneid Studio/Noel Richter

Schneid Studio

"With German studio Schneid, what's really nice is the detail. With their candy-drop Junit pendants they incite even the most cautious to get creative with lighting.

"Evolving the taste for industrial-style bare bulbs with their interchangeable, stacked, geometric shapes, they have married simplicity with character, instilling personality into an object that fits with the playful spirit of Memphis design. For a closet maximalist, this is a lovely way to add interest to a room – on a daintier scale."


Maximalism book Claire Bingham
George Sowden is one of the designers covered in the book. Image courtesy of George Sowden

George Sowden

"Originally from Leeds, George Sowden has been a Milanese native for almost five decades. Recognised for his Memphis colour-blocked and geometric designs such as the Saragoza chair and long-legged D'Antibes cabinet designed in 1981, he switched this aesthetic to all manner of objects from his zigzag-shaped lighting, clocks, and textiles.

"Think of 1980s motifs and his abstract patterns in bold, clashing colours is where it all began. His life as a product designer was nurtured by Memphis and continues today with products such as the colourful, covetable Coffee and Softbrew Teapot for Danish design company HAY and the Bertie Bassett-like Zeta table for British company Another Brand.

"With so much personality embedded in his designs, why have a plain side table, when you can choose this?"


Maximalism book Claire Bingham
Bethan Laura Wood works from a studio in London. Courtesy of Studio Bethan Laura Wood/Perrier-Jouet

Bethan Laura Wood

"British designer Bethan Laura Wood is one of my maximalist faves. From her bags with a toothpaste-y handle produced for Italian leather goods brand Valextra to her collaboration with fashion designer Peter Pilotto at his townhouse last year, she has a unique way of seeing things and is extremely present in everything she does.

"What sets Wood apart is her curiosity and desire to experiment with materials, resulting in objects that are a feast for the senses. Laminate is a main connector between her work and Memphis. She shares the Memphis Group's affinity for working with materials that are known within one industry and then using them in another.

"Colour, pattern and new technologies – all of this is something she likes to grapple with every day in modern design. Boring she is not."

Main image Image courtesy of Sasha Bikoff Interior Design/Nicole Cohen.