Artist Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) was introduced to art at an early age by his father, a drawing teacher at a local primary school. At the age of 20, Mondrian entered the Academy for Fine Art in Amsterdam and formally began his career as an artist and teacher. His artistic career began with more traditional, representational paintings, however upon moving to Paris in 1911 his style was greatly influenced by Cubism and his work began to turn more abstract. Later, alongside painter Theo van Doesburg, Mondrian created the De Stijl movement, which embraced an abstract, simplified aesthetic. The De Stijl artists sought to devalue tradition, and they greatly impacted the rise of modern art during the 20th century.
Regarded as a pioneer of 20th century abstract art, Mondrian is best known for his paintings featuring basic forms and colors. The artist limited his paintings to the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) and the two primary directions (horizontal and vertical), thus creating colorful and geometric compositions. He hoped that these simplified subjects could transcend cultures and become a new common language. Mondrian is considered one of the greatest artists of his time, and his colorful and simplified paintings are now iconic and immediately recognizable.
Mondrian’s impact on modern art is visible in the work of other artists and subsequent artistic movements, as well as in contemporary art and design. Read on to explore six projects that embody the spirit of Mondrian’s work.
When redesigning their bathroom, a passionate art enthusiast couple asked Alloy Workshop to design a space based on the work of Mondrian, one of their favorite abstract painters. The design team used floor-to-ceiling tiles to create the geometric interior. Yellow tiles connect the shower fixtures to the drain, blue tiles are used for the shower seat, and a red block is recessed to create a niche in the wall.
The exterior of this home in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco was inspired by the colorful grid-based paintings for which Mondrian is best known. Painted in Mondrian’s style over 20 years ago, this whimsical house has become iconic also due to its location across the street from the beach. The two-story house features two beds and one bath, as well as a recently landscaped backyard—and it recently hit the market.
"Breakfast with Mondrian" is a concept by design duo Brani & Desi inspired by the artist's work and vision. Mondrian saw the world, nature, and the human as one unit, and he expressed these relationships through his geometric and colorful paintings. Brani & Desi aim to provoke the emotions of their viewers and to create unity within every aspect of the apartment.
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To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the De Stijl movement, the Dutch town of The Hague turned its city hall into a Mondrian masterpiece. The building is painted with the iconic colors and straight lines of some of Mondrian’s most well known paintings. Artists from Studio VOLLAERSZWART painted the building, which was designed by famous American architect Richard Meier.
Ukrainian industrial and interior designer Daria Zinovatnaya has never been afraid of experimenting with color and geometry. This 807-square-foot apartment in Oslo, Norway incorporates colors and lines that bring to mind the paintings of Mondrian.
Taking cues from Piet Mondrian’s iconic paintings, architect and critic Joseph Giovannini designed this New York City studio apartment highlighting primary colors and straight lines. The typical red, yellow, and blue colors are used in conjunction with the lines of the physical building to recreate one of Mondrian’s most famous works.
Related Reading: Bright Colors Meet Bold Patterns in This Compact Oslo Abode
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