From Mies van der Roe we can learn a valuable lesson: keep it simple. And, if it's not too arrogant for me to do so, I'd like to add a few
Famous for structures such as the Barcelona Pavillion and Villa Tugendhat, Mies was the pioneer of minimalist and modern architecture and design. He created spaces incorporating only the bare necessities, the "skin and bones" of the structure, if you will, in the form of natural elements like stone, wood, glass and metal. Large panes of glass formed entire walls, causing the natural world outdoors to become a part of the design of the interior. Additionally, the furniture he designed for such spaces acted not to obstruct one's view of the vista outside or the stone walls and steel pillars within, but to enhance these elements and produce an effect of total harmony between the inside and outside worlds.
Now, while Mies may have the laid the groundwork for modern designers in years to come, and while I totally appreciate his mantra of "less is more," the phrase which he is famous for coining, I like to be a little more comfortable than that. For instance, maybe throw a few more pillows on that couch. And, why not instill the sense that something unexpected might lurk around the corner? You know, a funky statue of some whimsical creature might work nicely, or a bookshelf stuffed full of literary gems containing adventures known and unknown.
On that note, I think I may have stumbled upon a little apple of knowledge applicable not only to my own personal preferences regarding design and decor, but to the act of existing in this complicated world: always keep it real, simple, and a little bit weird.
images: Barcelona Pavillion, Oracle Fox, The Selby, Tugendhat House