Stuart Barr
Barr Joinery
Barr Kitchens

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1st Mar 2018

Celebrating the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi

The ancient Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi focuses on accepting the imperfect and transient nature of life. When this belief is applied to an interior space it can be summerised in the way in which you can turn something imperfect, impermanent or incomplete into something valuable and beautiful. Wabi-Sabi appreciates the unevenness, authenticity, asymmetry and transience that can be found in natural materials and forms such as stone, drift wood, hand-made pottery. All these things have a certain roughness, simplicity and uniqueness, which make them beautiful despite their imperfect shapes and textures.

In the home of Ukrainian architect Sergey Makhno, known for his project ‘Rose House’ (pictured) named in reference to the reaction of the steel cladding to the natural environment of the mountain climate. He has once again united architecture and nature, this time blending Japanese aesthetics with Ukrainian traditions in his own home. This is epitomised with the use of clay for all the walls of his penthouse apartment, a technique used for old Ukranian houses that perfectly embodies the beauty of the unfinished form so loved in Wabi - Sabi. Old world methods used in this way somehow come together, creating a space that is both timelessly chic and absolutely contemporary.

We first spotted this apartment on Elle Decoration and fell in love with the kitchen. With its bold forms and use of dark colour and texture (reminding us of the interiors essay ‘In Praise of Shadows’ by the author and novelist Jun'ichirĊ Tanizaki), which goes in to detail about the way in which Japanese interiors can be defined and are so distinctive in style. Traditional Japanese elements continue to influence designers around the world from Sergey Makhno in the Ukraine to us at Barr HQ in the Oxfordshire countryside.

There are so many ways you can incorporate the philosophy of Wabi –Sabi into your kitchen design. If you don’t fancy going huge with unfinished clay walls, how about a nod with textured unglazed tile splashback, an antique mirror, or possibly roughly sawn effect timber panels? In Western aesthetics we can be so obsessed with perfection we can lose sight that cracks and imperfections found in natural materials should be cherished for symbolising the passage of time and loving use.

BarrKitchens believe it is so important to always seek out beautiful interiors from across the globe and stay inspired. Our designers hope to create unique kitchen designs that foster a feeling of ultimate fulfillment and lasting satisfaction for you and your family. 

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