Wabi-sabi – The Art of Imperfection
2017, saw the captivating Scandinavian Trend ‘Hygge’ takeover our Interior Design focus—the feel of contentment and cosiness within the home, an appreciation of the simple things in life complimented by the flicker of a warming candle. In 2018, we welcome ‘wabi-sabi’, the compelling design trend that will engage authenticity within your home and introduce a new feature to simplicity and understated design. This Japanese concept will help create harmony and tranquillity within the home.
What is wabi-sabi?
Wabi-sabi is the 2018 interior trend imperfect designers need to know about. Wabi-sabi, finds ‘beauty in imperfection’, our everyday lives are by no means perfect—and our homes aren’t perfect—and that’s okay to recognise. The design trend finds profundity in earthiness, of focusing on authenticity and reality above all.
The trend originated in ancient China, with its original history rooted in Zen Buddhism and the traditional tea ceremonies—whereby drinking tea was more than just a drink, but something which expressed the harmony, thoughtfulness and beauty at the heart of tea.
The movement is the extreme antithesis of modern Western Society common values—the fast-paced, technology focused, mass-consumerist, throw-away existence. It reminds us to relax and take comfort in the simple life. Overall, the movement recognises the importance of authenticity and striving to remain authentic in one’s existence. This immersive trend begs the individual to experience a sensual exploration of imperfection. We are invited to absorb our existence through the eyes of a child; children are fascinated and captivated by the beauty in the world; essentially, wabi-sabi invites us to do just that—possess a childlike appreciation of the purity of life.
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Use Natural Materials
Wabi-sabi identifies and celebrates natural materials over man-made additions; the house feels homely and comforting. The trend focusses on subtle colours which don’t shout out, but compliment and radiate hues found in nature. Natural colours allow spaces to feel light, open and at one with the earth.
Whichever natural materials you use, authenticity of materials is key. Opt for one-off productions over mass-produced objects; absorb yourself in bamboo, wood, wool, iron, leather —humble products produced to last. Delve into aged wood with visible knots, un-finished stone, soft and wrinkled linen bed sheets, cracked ceramics; introduce your home to the earthiness of authenticity and rough charm.
When choosing colours you can also use nature to assist your decision making. Utilise earthy greens, blossom pinks, sky blues, developing a natural quality within the painted features of your home.
Usually within interior design, when we suggest applying the finishing touches, we are emphasising the application of perfection. Wabi-Sabi works entirely against this; the trend is about imperfection and the beauty of this. The application of this trend allows us to be artfully messy, bear in mind however, there is a fine line between embracing wabi-sabi and clutter—it is important to always remain purposeful with your interior design choices.
Wabi-sabi puts a focus on gratitude, recognising and celebrating what we already have, rather than always yearning for something new. This shift in perspective will help us to become calmer and content within the present moment and embrace tranquillity within our day to day lives.
When embracing wabi-sabi, there is no ‘wrong’ way to go about it, this trend is about moving your energy from perfection to a state of appreciation and engaging this within your interiors.
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