Obscura: A local’s take on minimalistic design

By Jordan Puyear | gargoyle@flagler.edu

When you first hear the word minimalism, what comes to mind? Is it only wearing black t-shirts everyday, not owning a television, sleeping on the floor, or being able to fit all of your belongings into one suitcase? While some of these stereotypes do apply to some people, this isn’t what minimalism means to everyone.

In fact, minimalism means something different to everybody, but the simple definition is one who owns possessions that are necessary, meaningful, and useful.

Andrew Deming co-owns Obscura, a minimalist shop that combines tropical and modern themes filled with housewares, jewelry, books, bags, and more.

“With Obscura, we wanted to create a space that feels like a breath of fresh air: a shop that brings well-crafted products and modern design to the oldest city,” Deming said. “Everything is designed, either intentionally or by default. We are trying to highlight the kinds of designs that are thoughtful, considered, and made with intent.”

With the mass amounts of consumer culture that tell us to buy the next new thing on a day-to-day basis, minimalism is based around the idea of freedom from both material’s overwhelming and emotional stressors.

“We believe in the minimalist ethos of ‘buy less, buy better,’” Deming said. “It’s more of an ethical, lifestyle consideration than a purely aesthetic preference. Our version of minimalism doesn’t lack warmth or richness and is largely inspired by Japanese and Scandinavian design.”

For those who question Obscura’s aesthetic, it ties back into the idea that highlights investing in quality over quantity, even if that means spending a little more money at that time.

“Our store is filled with products that span a wide price range, but you won’t find any cheap, plastic, throw-away products at Obscura,” Deming said. “We wanted to bring a store to town that could highlight not only our own products, but also quality designs from local makers and our friends from afar.”

Minimalism isn’t necessarily for everybody, in fact, some people thrive off of “collecting” certain material possessions.

“We also believe in championing businesses that have a strong tie to the makers and hands that actually produce the products,” Deming said. “Whether it’s Lauren Ytterbom throwing ceramics in Davis Shores, or our friend Sarah of Minna Textiles supporting artisans with fair wages in Central America; these are the types of business we believe deserve our support.”

Whether you are adapting a more minimalistic approach or purchasing necessities through local artisans, there are so much more environmentally sustainable ways to approach consumerist behaviors.

“For a town so small,” Deming said, “St. Augustine has an outsized group of talented creatives making work that deserves a broad audience and we hope to do our part to raise awareness of that.”

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