04 Apr Creative Genius: Mies Van der Rohe
Less is more.
But sometimes, less can also be less and more can also be less. No matter how little or lot I say about the genius of Mies Van der Rohe, the master architect and creative nut, it will always be less. Sorry, Mies. Can’t pull off this one with “less is more”!
Mies Van der Rohe was not only a master architect, he was a thought changer of his time. While his other contemporaries focused on form, structure and working with the available materials to do better design of the buildings already present, Mies was the pioneer in giving the world a new building type – skyscrapers with a steel skeleton. He was a visionary who could combine the goodness of technology and insight with a great creative confidence.
“True education is concerned not only with practical goals but also with values. Our aims assure us of our material life, our values make possible our spiritual life.” — Mies Van Der Rohe
Mies Van Der Rohe gave the world a shift in thought trend. His contribution to education was far beyond that of mere construction technques and methods. It was a way of perceiving built space itself. It was the wire frame on which we start drawing our lines and curves.
It is worth noting that none of Mies’ skyscraper experiments were actually built for several years. They were only exhibited and wrapped up as great studies after that. Yet, Mies kept churning out one marvel after another without any waning of enthusiasm!
A true creative genius doesn’t wait for rewards and validation of his genius. He doesn’t depend on others’ appreciation and support for inspiration. His own creativity gives him inspiration. That was Mies Van Der Rohe.
“I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good.” — Mies Van Der Rohe
He never craved mass appeal or public honor. He simply got it because he pursued that which is much greater – personal excellence and experimentation. He never stopped experimenting and exploring design.
“Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space; living, changing, new … To create form out of the nature of our tasks with the methods of our time – this is our task” — Mies Van Der Rohe
Mies was a radical, a visionary and an iconoclast. He molded the thinking of many architects who were not even born yet, into something many decades would reminisce.
What We Can Learn from Mies Van Der Rohe About Creativity
- “God is in the details”
- The pursuit of excellence reveals more talent in our own selves, rather than the pursuit of outward acclaim which only limits our thinking to what already exists
- To be creative is to be ready to be different – different from what the society considers as “normal”. It may take several years before the society comes around to accepting your creativity as mainstream
- To be creative is to think different. You cannot be creative using the same kind of thinking that you always use.
- Great talent can come from anywhere. Mies was the son of a mason with no formal education in architecture. Yet he is remembered as a master architect of his times.