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Space Design

Modernism as the preferred choice of design and expression in India still has a long way to go when compared to Western countries. However, there are glimpses in our country of this transition making a gradual yet powerful impact, highlighting the beauty in simplicity, function, form and aesthetics.

Our country has pockets of areas where there is evidence of this shift, clearly indicating how this style has made its way into the Indian landscape over the years. From farm houses to urban homes and apartments, there are examples that support this delicate yet spiritual transition.

It is important to understand that more than a physical form or shape, the intention behind a design is reflective of a way of thinking – our earlier article on incorporating Japanese philosophy into the design of a space has clearly brought this out.

Zeitgeist’s Principal of Space, French-Canadian architect Dominic Dube is unequivocally representative of the Modernist style of architecture.

What is Modern Architecture?

Modernism is the single most important new style or philosophy of architecture and design of the 20th century, associated with an analytical approach to the function of buildings, a strictly rational use of (often new) materials, an openness to structural innovation and the elimination of ornament.


The style is characterised by*:

  • Rectangular or cubist shapes
  • Minimal or no ornamentation
  • Steel and or reinforced concrete
  • Large windows
  • Open plan


For a visual understanding of modernist architecture here are 30 brilliant examples, put together by Trendir.

Modern Architecture in India

In a country like India, so vastly diverse and so deeply embedded in tradition, the Modernist style really only found its way here in any significant form when internationally renowned architect and city planner, Le Corbusier – famed for his functional designs – was invited by the Government of Punjab to design the city of Chandigarh, after India’s Independence. The photos in this blog show the exterior and interior of Palace of Assembly designed by him.

Le Corbusier’s work served as an inspiration to Indian architects in the years that followed.

This year’s Pritzker Prize winner, B.V. Doshi, worked under Le Corbusier and the Modernist’s influence can be seen in the former’s work, though Doshi went on to develop his own unique style – modern, but also reflective of his desire to design within the Indian context; against the backdrop of a country in cultural, economic and social transition.

Dominic Dube himself was employed by B.V. Doshi at the beginning of his career, while his methodology draws inspiration from that of Le Corbusier’s.

Next week we’ll be showcasing some of Dominic’s work, so do tune in!


Space Design
What is Minimalism?

More than a design ‘style’ from a visual point of view, minimalism is a principle – that of removing all unnecessary decor or features from an object and leaving only those that serve the purpose of the object. By doing so, the object is left in its pure form to deliver, without hindrance, that which it was created for in the first place.

To quote Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, “Less is More”.

Whether it be living a minimalist lifestyle or designing an easy-to-use website, minimalism is always about removing what is unnecessary and keeping what is essential. This allows for a clearer focus on what matters most.

What Colours Are Usually Used in Minimalist Interiors?

When it comes to minimalist interior design, a muted colour palette – most commonly black, white and grey – is usually incorporated, to emphasise the clean lines, give the feeling of space and keep the look modern and natural, omitting bright colours that can distract.

Such thinking would be hard pressed to find a spot in India, where we are known for our loud colours, ornate decor and intricate patterns.

But what if there were a middle ground? One that understands that the Indian market is ready to adopt the new and the modern, but perhaps not quite ready to let go of the warmth that we are accustomed to in our homes, and indeed, our way of life.

How Can Minimalist Interior Design Find a Place in India?

Zeitgeist’s design strategy when it comes to finding that sweet spot has been to use a Greige palette while incorporating modern minimalist interior design into various spaces, ranging from hotel lobbies to private homes.

Greige, which is basically a mix of the colours grey and beige, offers in its spectrum a variety of colours that are neutral enough to stay minimalist, yet have the warmth that appeals to the Indian consumer’s sensitivities.

With this strategy textiles and patterns can still be incorporated, as can an array of beautiful natural materials like various natural stones and fabric that India is so well known for.

In this sectional snapshot of a kitchen that was designed by Zeitgeist, we have incorporated clean lines and a greige palette, but have introduced copper fittings and accessories to retain an Indian feel.

In this laid back minimalist living room, we have incorporated a greige palette into the patterned decor elements and material like jute, keeping the room Indian, yet modern.