Design is not about following a formula; it’s about challenging norms, raising questions and experimenting with new ways. Today, we dive into two different aesthetics that answer the question Is less more, or is more more? To help us come to our own conclusion, we’ve enlisted minimalist Ryan Jackson of Studio Jackson and maximalist Ron Woodson of Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design, who shed light on these two opposing sides of the design spectrum.
Ryan Jackson (left), Ron Woodsoon (right)
Describe your design style in three to five words.
Ryan Jackson: Bold, clean, tailored, sophisticated, intentional
Ron Woodson: Classic, opulent, sophisticated, bold and timeless
How has your design aesthetic evolved over time?
RJ: My aesthetic is always evolving, but is based in a modern sensibility.
RW: My design aesthetic has evolved over time; it’s all a part of growth—both personally and professionally. I’ve been in this business over 20 years; if you haven’t evolved within that time, something is wrong *LOL*.
Ryan, how would you define minimalist style?
RJ: Minimalist style is a pure understanding of function and space.
Ron, describe what maximalist style means to you.
RW: Maximalist, to me, doesn’t mean there has to be furnishings and accessories in every corner of a space. To me, it’s giving thought to who I’m designing for and the context of the project. To me, it’s being bold and confident, knowing the rules and being able to break them.
Ryan, are there any instances when you channel maximalist elements into your designs?
RJ: I channel maximalist elements in my design when it comes to the display of books. One can never have too many.
Ron, do you ever channel minimalist elements into your designs?
RW: It’s all about curating and editing. Some spaces need very little to make a statement; it’s important to know when and how to accomplish that end.
Ryan, in your experience, how do clients perceive a more minimal design aesthetic?
RJ: Minimalism is a lifestyle that comes from an understanding of what one truly wants and needs from a space. The minimalist lifestyle is typically ingrained in my clients before we have met.
Ron, how do clients regard a maximalist design aesthetic?
RW: My clientele seek me out for bold and confident design. They know what they’re getting into when they sign on!
How can maximalist and minimalist styles work together?
RJ: I don’t know that they can. I think a space requires one or the other.
RW: Again, I don’t view maximalism as meaning an overabundance and don’t view minimalism as stark and cold. It’s about editing and curating a space. Some rooms need more layers than others—others need fewer in the same space.
Are you seeing a distinct trend toward one or the other?
RJ: I think contemporary design is as popular as it has ever been, which really is a gateway to the minimalist sensibility. People are comfortable with saying more with less.
RW: I tend not to follow trends—I follow what feels good to me in my designs. I think timeless design is key!
Continue the minimal vs. maximal debate at the PDC Fall Market on Thursday, October 6. Ryan and Ron will join in conversation with Marmol Radziner’s Ron Radziner and The Jungalow’s Justina Blakeney for the keynote “The Great Design Debate: Less Is More vs. More Is More,” moderated by Michael Wollaeger of Design Media Partners. Find out more here.