Japanese culture abounds in unique design trends.When the country closed its doors from 1639 to 1853, its isolation bred a very distinct culture and artwork, unmarred by knowledge or influence of the West and other Eastern nations. Such as the restorative art of Kintsugi, traditional rice paper wall coverings, and stone dotted Zen gardens. Today their Creators are as cosmopolitan as they come. They merge traditional styles with new influences and have vibrant, unexpected art everywhere. Yet, looking around at the layered colors of Kyoto, we’re still feeling the demure serenity of the past.
Traditional zen philosophy seems to peek through Kyoto’s open minimalist spaces, wooden surfaces, neutral tones, and natural materials. The city’s palette, has lent inspiration to many designers of cafes, restaurants, and private residences worldwide. From tapestries and wallpaper to minimalist wooden furniture, these Wescover creators are reminding us of this aesthetic we love!
- Barber & Osgerby are a London-based duo fascinated by Japanese culture and design. Their handcrafted wooden tables are named Tobi-Ishi, literally translated as “stepping stones” or “flying stones.” Their smooth coloring was inspired by the soft colors used in traditional Japanese Zen gardens. This coffee table found in a private residence in Melbourne, Australia is perfect to sit Seiza-style on the floor and enjoy a late-afternoon tea.
- Afton Love’s large-scale portraits have delicate graphite strokes reminiscent of the black and white Japanese art style of Mori Yuzan. Her beeswax and tracing paper portraits appear like fine ukiyo-e sketches. Rice paper, a material highly used in Japan for origami and calligraphy, can be seen in her expansive nature portrait in Mister Jiu’s restaurant in San Francisco.
- Porter Teleo draws on the unique style of ancient Japanese screens and antique architectural ornamentation to create hand-printed wallcovering. Their custom Kintsugi wallcovering in a private residence in New York is inspired by the traditional Japanese method of repair known as golden joinery, which uses metal to highlight the seams of broken or destroyed objects that maintain a flawed beauty. There is definitely a beauty to restoration!
- Diana Greenberg is a painter that channels nature into abstract paintings. Her paintings resemble flowers at a quick glance, with solid bright colors in a backdrop of a soothing grey. Her paintings in the South Congress Hotel bring forth the healing powers of the color white, her minimal artwork may just bring us the serenity of Japanese culture.
You don’t have to travel to Japan to connect with nature. Want to discover more Japanese-inspired design?