Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wabi Sabi


Yay today is my 100th post! And I cannot think of a better topic than "wabi sabi"!!! What's that you say?? Yup, that was my reaction too when I heard it yesterday for the first time........, till I researched it and fell in love with its philosophy! And now I know I'm a wabi sabi gal! It's a long post....but stay with me!

Simply put, wabi-sabi is the marriage of the Japanese wabi, meaning humble, and sabi, which connotes beauty in the natural progression of time. Together, the phrase invites us to set aside our pursuit of perfection and learn to appreciate the simple, unaffected beauty of things as they are. Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It's simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent.

Intimately tied to Zen Buddhism, wabi-sabi can be embraced as an aesthetic sense, but it also brings a subtle spiritual component into the home. It reminds us that home should be a sanctuary, not a loud place full of disturbance and distraction. It asks that we set aside our judgments and our need for perfection, and focus instead on the beauty of things as they are. It is a kind of earthy interior design which is balanced, organic, free from clutter and chaos, and somehow quite beautiful in its simple presentation, never appearing ostentatious or decorated. To create a true wabi-sabi environment, one must slowly strip away excess and learn to be satisfied living in the moment.

Here are the basic rules:

Declutter first. Keep your interior on the spare side. Wabi-sabi philosophy is that it is just as important to know when NOT to buy as to know when to buy. Overcrowded interiors can make occupants feel weighed down and restricted. Open, airy interiors hint at freedom and the possibilities of life. The key is to not veer so much in the direction of austerity that things get ostentatiously minimalist again. Keep things comfortable.
Bring nature indoors. Plants, stones, rocks, driftwood, can function as natural sculpture, helping to keep your interior in touch with the great outdoors.Use colors found in nature. Color should help foster a sense of tranquility, intimacy and serenity. That means for most of us, that wabi sabi colors will take inspiration from plants, stones, rocks and wood, incorporating greens, beiges, grays, whites and tans.
Eschew symmetry. Wabi-sabi thrives on the irregular and asymmetrical. The goal is to look beyond conventional beauty to find pleasure in what some might even consider the ugly. So avoid “matching” anything and go for a much more casual, unplanned look that is confident enough to incorporate that weathered sideboard or distressed table.
Focus on natural, organic materials and shapes. Wabi-sabi appreciates first and foremost nature. So look for ways to bring nature inside the home. This might mean linen slipcovers, a jute rug, a rough-hewn oak dining table and bamboo floors. And remember that the natural materials don’t have to be the most exalted. Wabi-sabi holds a special appreciation for the simpler materials that might include bamboo, paper, mud and rocks. Expensive marble and granite countertops are natural, but not really humble enough to be considered wabi-sabi.
Allow things to age. Did the kids just scratch up the dining room table? Did the cat just put a new rip in the rug? Did you chip that dish or dent that chair? Great! The wabi-sabi way appreciates the patina of age and signs of a life well-lived. Remember not to take this too far. Wabi-sabi doesn’t mean messy or slovenly, so when things truly need to be repaired, fix them.
Here are images of Wabi Sabi House built by well known Olson Kundig Architects and set in a traditional residential neighborhood of Houston. This single-family home combines the beauty of natural materials and simple modern forms. The roughness of cedar siding is balanced by a quiet and peaceful interior. An open floor plan facilitates flow through the space, culminating in an expansive roof deck, which overlooks mature bamboo and pecan trees.







So to recap.......

13 comments:

Turmericnspice said...

Congratulations on your 100th post...way to go!! very interesting read about wabi-sabi. Love the pix ...love bamboo....!!

Bhavna said...

Congratulations! 100 amazing posts, and here's wishing for many many more to come :)

And what a way to celebrate the 100th post! Thanks for the lovely write up on wabi sabi. I love the chart at the end...made me nod in agreement at each bullet point :)

GB said...

100 posts! Way to go Kamini!

Minus the de-clutter, I think i'm definitly a wabi-sabi gal. Like Bhavna mentioned in the previous comment- I love the little is/isn't chart.... :)(did you put together the chart?-its perfect!)

Anpu said...

Congratulations Kamini on your 100th post...and thanks for the Wabi-Sabi post. It was a very interesting read...and made me realize, i am a very wabi-sabi gal...:-)

Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) said...

Cograts Kamini on your 100th post!!
All your posts are awesome....but this one goes without saying :)
By the way, very recently I have done a modest post on minimalistic Japanese decor too...
Just loved your bamboo pics and the end chart!!

Kamini said...

Thank you all. Isn't it a wonderful philosophy? I still have to work on parts of it though! GB - I wish I had created the chart at the bottom, but no...3 words...google, copy, paste :-)

Kamini said...

But I thought of a few more I could add on of my own..
Wabi sabi is wrinkles, not botox; grey hair, not L'oreal color; curved bodies, not size zero;.....see where I'm going with this????

varsha said...

Congrats Kamini!!

All the very best... Way to go!!

Shalini said...

Oh, I do like this philosophy and all it's design principles. The only one I would struggle with a bit is the focus away from symmetry. I must expand and try a different asymmetrical look. Great post...and congrats on the milestone.

Sharon Colaco D'Souza said...

Very informative post - I guess I'm only half wabi sabi:)...
Congrats again on the century...May you beat Tendulkar's record, and then some!

Sharon

Purnima@a creative project said...

Congrats on your 100th post!! a lovely post as well!!

Deepa Raman said...

Your entrance looks lovely with all those plants and lanterns...too good...

Patricia Torres said...

Congrats on the 100th post.. may you have many many many more... :-)

Now I'm a wabi sabi.. person as well... You've got me thinking.. I'll be waking up really early tomorrow.. to declutter..