De Stijl


De Stijl, or The Style, is an art and design movement founded in Holland by painters and architects around 1917. The movement strives to express universal concepts through elimination, reduction, abstraction, simplification, and a dynamic asymmetrical balance of rectangles, planes, verticals, horizontals, the primary colors, and black, white, and gray.

Designers formulate a new language and vocabulary for architecture. To do this, they take the traditional house apart, analyze it like an object, abstract it to eliminate traditional references, and then reassemble it in a new way. The new form emphasizes the cube. It is not a solid box, but instead opens up from outside to inside with solid and void relationships established through flat planes.

1. Typical Characteristics are a flat roof, asymmetry, geometric forms, white or gray walls with details highlighted by primary colors.
2. Houses for individuals are the most important.
3. Compositions generally emphasize the separation of planes, the application of primary colors, and the spatial relationship of solids to voids.
4. Rectangular shapes define the geometric repetition of windows, doors, and blocks of color.
5. Window sizes vary on an individual building from large to small. They may be arranged in patterns or one unit on a large wall.
6. Flat roofs are typical, and distinctly different from other structures.

Furniture and decorative arts are conceived as one with the architecture and interior design. Designers similarly emphasize structure, construction, proportion, and the balance between solid and void relationships. They carefully place individual parts to develop visual balance and harmony so that all parts are appreciated alone as well as in context with the whole furniture piece.

1. Chairs and tables are the most important conveyors of concepts.
2. Furniture complements the architectonic character of an interior through its emphasis on straight lines, rectangular planes, and geometric forms.

Symbols and Motifs:
There are no decorative motifs in De Stijl design. Instead, beauty evolves from simple, unadorned surfaces arranged in geometric relationships and from construction detailing.

Decorative Arts:
Decorative arts are limited in De Stijl houses. Artwork is prohibited because the house itself is a piece of art. Few designers create decorative arts.

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