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Wabi-sabi – the art of simple living

In the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values, Wabi Sabi has the same position as the Greek ideals of perfection to the European. But do not ask local inhabitants of Nippon (name of Japan that are often translated as Land of the Rising Sun), what Wabi Sabi means. There is no precise definition to express the depth of the concept. That’s why Japanese often laugh and respond, «Nobody knows what Wabi Sabi means!».

It is difficult to explain «wabi-sabi» in words. A man has to comprehend it.

Wabi Sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view. The embodiment of the austere desolate beauty. The cult of naturalness, imperfect things and impermanence.

Decor with its weathered, rusty things is just one of continents on the planet of the Wabi Sabi philosophy.

The meaning of Wabi Sabi is often condensed to «wisdom of simplicity.» American artist, aesthetics expert and author of the book «Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers» Leonard Koren studied the phenomenon and concluded that the beauty of Wabi Sabi is rooted in modesty. He says, «Wabi Sabi is about the minor and the hidden, the tentative and the ephemeral: things so subtle and evanescent they are invisible to the vulgar eyes.»

Simplicity hides real wealth. Searching for Wabi Sabi means searching for simplicity, harmony with nature and self-consciousness.

Our body is clothes for our soul. Our house is clothes for our body.

A Wabi Sabi house is filled with air. There are no random things there, only functional and useful. With own history and memory. Little cracks on a vase. Deep plaque patina on the chest of drawers. Slightly worn armrests.I find exceptional beauty in the marks leaved by time.

The interior of a mod man is cluttered with things like an attic. On a metaphysical level, Wabi Sabi is a beauty at the edge of nothingness. Luxury for the Japanese – to possess a little.

The form takes 2nd place in Wabi Sabi. The essence is the first. The forms may change, but the essence remains the same. People shoud see beauty in imperfection. For example, under the weight of time the dark wood became even more beautiful.


Soft natural lines and shapes give the space unusual taste. Сompleteness is incompatible with the eternal movement of life, due to this Wabi Sabi denies symmetry.
We are used to divide into equal parts. Europeans instinctively put in the middle even a vase on the table. Japanese will move it to the side, because they see beauty in the asymmetric arrangement of decorative elements, in disequilibrium, which represents the world of the living.
Duplicate decorative elements Japanese consider as bad taste. «Hoooow? They are all different!», you think after seeing patterns on cups and plates. Their tableware has no similarity with our «service».

Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view. Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace. – Leonard Koren

Colors in the Wabi Sabi interior do not shout, but radiate the universal calmness. White, beige, gray, brown, ocher tones make the space light and weightless. In addition to this, the eyes will not get tired of variegated hues and say: «Thank you.»

Honey color of the air with dust. The warm color of milk. Captivating color of faded leaves. Wabi Sabi is in love with natural hues.

A legend says the Japanese house is lighted by moon. Interiors are usually dimply lit. Muted lighting, often table and floor lamps, emphasize richness of textures.


A strong connection with nature is seen through natural materials: wood, stone, clay. Textures often imitate a living earth, while a soft scent of wooden surfaces takes you away to a forest.

Wood accumulates and radiates life-giving energy. To create the most natural atmosphere people prefer to a raw material. Rough countertops, tables, cabinets fill the interior of the archaic spirit of the Sabi.


Wabi Sabi opens a portal to another world. This hidden reality is similar to manually twisted yarns from which a carpet of life was woven. Such an interior gives a pleasant feeling of detachment.

Creating a Wabi Sabi home is the result of developing our Wabi Sabi mind. Understanding philosophy is possible only through inner contemplation, meditation, life without excesses, a sense of unity with nature.

In a big way to the Wabi Sabi one should realize: All things are impermanent. All things are imperfect. All things are incomplete.
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