How to get a Minimalist Look in a Modern way. Modernism explored new ways in which people could live more simply. Ornamentation was rejected and the adoption of the machine aesthetic came to the forefront. There was a return to Minimalism in the 1980s, towards the end of Postmodernism. The essential quality of buildings was revealed by simplified living spaces through minimalist architecture. This was vastly stirred up by Japanese traditional design and the notion of Zen thinking.