More is More

New maximalism in interior design and what it means for real estate developers

By Anna Abbruzzo and Alain Courchesne of Igloodgn

A new philosophy is taking hold in interior design and it puts the onus on style without clutter. The recession has finally dwindled and people are yearning for sumptuousness, texture, and good looks. This exciting new movement is being called “maximalism.”

This new idea of “maximalism” looks to break the mold of “minimalism” which is bare and simplistic. In contrast,”maximalism” goes after bright, bold, and detailed accents.

During the recession everyone cut back and gravitated toward repurposing — people were downsizing,reusing, and recycling and made do with as little as possible. Gone are the days of repurposing and reclaiming items, as this practice lacks the refinement and detailing of “maximalism.” The new “maximalism” means that the recession is almost over and people are spending again. It’s the place where more is more and less is most definitely a bore.

As people, along with designers, move toward this notion of “maximalism” I’m quick to point out that this does not necessarily mean accumulating things. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! “Maximalism,” as it pertains to interior design is about having elegance and sophistication in materials but striking a delicate balance between style and keeping disorder at bay. “Maximilism” is not about clutter and over decorating — it’s all about curating spaces. It is important that we not be afraid of bringing luxe and detail back into our lives. It’s not necessarily the opulence of the 1930s and 1940s, but opulence with restraint that truly reflects what our lives are like today. Luxe is not intimidating.

“Maximalism” is a term that is used to emphasize work-intensive practices and concentrate on the process of creation itself. The term was coined by historian Robert Pincus-Witten to describe a group of artists associated with the challenging start of Neo-expressionism in the late 1970s. Charlotte Rivers describes how, “‘Maximalism’ celebrates richness and excess in graphic design, characterized by decoration, sensuality, luxury and fantasy.”

Heeding this new “maximalist” movement and integrating it into interior design projects is of particular importance to real estate developers. The fact that consumers are well on their way to seeking out this emerging trend proves the actual weight of this new model of interior design. When developers are putting up a property they have to be ahead of the curve by eight or even 10 years because it all boils down to this: You have to be able to forecast beyond the trend and forget about “trendy” because by the time it is built it is not going to be vogue anymore. It is time to understand that “maximalism” is the new wave and full future of interior design trends.

It is also important that real estate developers become the go-to experts when it comes to buyers seeking out the latest design movements, like “maximalism.” The public looks to developers to be on the up and up when it comes to emerging interior design philosophies. I say, if developers want to stand out and want to translate their efforts into sales, they need to create interiors that go beyond what is digestible. So why not push the envelope and stand out?

I see even more lavishness in the future of interior design, which often follows off of the heels of fashion runways. Since the recession started in 2007 we have been starved, but not anymore — real estate purchasers want a full package. They want to see colour, light, detail, pattern, and they want to have fun. Real estate developers need to realize this and adopt it over the upcoming year with a strategic focus on being ahead of the design curve. Luxe is coming and people want it. It just can’t be ignored.


Anna Abbruzzo and Alain Courchesne are the Principal Designers of the award winning award winning interior design firm Igloodgn, (Pronounced Igloo Design), with headquarters in Canada. The design duo successfully works with real estate developers to scale projects to the next level for both residential and commercial properties. Igloodgn is easily recognizable by their prestigious work for previous clients such as the major burger restaurant Mister Steer; opulent housing development unit Roccabella Towers; exclusive men’s retailer Dom Rebel Threads; and the elegant Spa Calme, just to name a few.

Please visit Igloodgn website at for more information.

Francois Guy CIBC
Francois Guy CIBC


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