The new trend in decoration: Wabi-sabi
Japan has always been something of a mystery to the Western world. Its history, its customs, its way of life. Also, its ability to combine the latest technology with its millenary story full of traditions has always been attractive. Moreover, this part of the world has become a source of inspiration for a multitude of disciplines.
Everything has an exotic touch that is magnetic and deeply appealing. Nor does interior design escape the Japanese influence. Today, we will talk about a new trend in decoration: wabi-sabi. Oriental philosophy in every corner of the house.
Principles of the wabi-sabi philosophy
To understand the meaning of wabi-sabi it is necessary to free the mind and escape from strict conventionalisms. It is necessary to forget the homogeneous, the mass-produced, which is always straight, perfect and flawless.
The wabi-sabi aesthetic is committed to admiring beauty in imperfect objects. It values the traces left by the passage of time on everything that surrounds human beings. These scars, traces or marks become stimuli of profound beauty for what they are and what they mean.
If there is a mantra in the wabi-sabi philosophy, it is that everything passes, everything is transitory. Such a melancholic view is perfectly compatible with a joyful approach to life that thrives on constant change and growth.
The continual challenge to the established rules of beauty is a constant. There is no aspiration for everything to last forever. The moment is enjoyed, without great expectations. Fleeting beauty or beauty enclosed in imperfections produces great satisfaction.
The wabi-sabi way of life seeks an intuitive vision of the world and strolls through the imperfect with total calm. It delves into the reviled elegance and enjoys striking a discordant note in the face of so much uniformity and exactitude. In the end, the idea that the traces of time bring serenity and that everything is incomplete is always present.
All this vindication of the soul of the imperfect began the moment a Japanese monk broke away from the established. In the middle of the 16th century, in the tea ceremony, he used handmade bowls and vessels far removed from the straight-lined pieces that came from China. At that moment, the first stone was laid for the wabi-sabi philosophy, which became a way of life and even a decorative style.
Wabi-sabi decoration. Features and materials
The philosophy of wabi-sabi has condensed all its principles and has given rise to an aesthetic current that places imperfection at the epicentre of style. In this way, simple furniture and handcrafted and traditional objects are used.
The warmth that natural materials can bring is clearly sought after. Similarly, great value is placed on all those accessories that accumulate history and bring soul to the home.
Wabi-sabi decoration has certain connections with the minimalist style. It also avoids overloaded spaces and opts for simple atmospheres. Less is more” also works with wabi-sabi interior design.
If there is one trend that is repeated, it is the respect for craftsmanship. This inclination is reflected in the predilection for handcrafted, unique, sustainable objects that convey emotion. The purity of the raw material and respect for the result are fundamental.
With all of this, we look for atmospheres that inspire harmony and stillness and we focus on antique pieces with a long history. The spaces maintain order, avoiding symmetries and using organic elements.
Imperfect is beautiful
Wabi-sabi decoration does not hide imperfections, it does the opposite. It turns them into witnesses of time and adds value to them. This means that decorative pieces, furniture, bedheads, chairs, tables… can and should have cracks, crevices or marks that reflect the passage of time.
The same applies to fabrics. Frayed and hand-woven pieces made from natural materials are sought after. Similarly, wabi-sabi style flooring features unevenness and indentations. Finally, the walls are not smooth or polished. Roughness is left visible and they are never decorated with paintings. They are always bare.
The result is a serene, intimate atmosphere that provides refuge and takes us away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Wabi-sabi interior design shuns synthetic materials and clearly opts for those offered by nature. Undoubtedly, wood is the core of the style. And once again, this wood must show traces of the passage of time. For this reason, it is common to find tables or cupboards with cracks or built with stripped wood.
Similarly, materials such as wicker, linen, hemp, stone, marble, earthenware and ceramics are essential.
Plastic or vinyl pieces and modular furniture are almost forbidden.
A wabi-sabi room usually has rustic wooden benches, wicker furniture or handmade armchairs made of natural fibres.
One of the most defining features of wabi-sabi decoration is its colour palette. First of all, whenever possible, the natural colour of the material used to create the piece is respected.
The chromatic range moves between earth tones, greys, browns, muted greens, ecru, blacks and oxides. Again, these are colours inspired by nature that facilitate neutral compositions. These tones connect with the natural and the uncontrived. The wabi-sabi style avoids strident and flashy colours.
We have already referred to the connection between wabi-sabi decoration and minimalism. Of course, this is a style that is committed to displaying only the essentials in the rooms. It promotes open space and avoids the ostentatious.
Free and empty spaces enhance the feeling of freedom and silence plays its part in bringing calm and tranquillity. The furniture is not symmetrical and the focus is on simple pieces with a history.
Presence of nature
The communion of wabi-sabi decoration with the natural environment is total and continuous. For this reason, it is very common for the style to resort to living pieces. The result is the placement of branches in vases, wooden trunks in corners, tree leaves on tables or shelves. It is even common to find fruits such as chestnuts, walnuts or acorns in ceramic bowls.