SIWA: Naoto Fukasawa re-imagines washi, traditional Japanese paper

Japanese washi paper maker Onao collaborated with renowned product designer Naoto Fukasawa, who liked the way washi got wrinkles when it was shrieked. He designed many items using “naoron” under the brand name “SIWA” – a term coined by flipping “shi” and “wa” of “washi,” but it also means wrinkles.

TAKEO Paper Show: SUBTLE

TAKEO Paper Show “SUBTLE” was originally held in 2014 in Japan as part of the exhibition series that has been presented by the Japanese paper company, TAKEO, since 1966. It was brought to the newly opened “Japan House” in the heart of Hollywood, Los Angeles, to quietly but powerfully showcase the potential of “subtlety.

Takeo Paper Show: Kenya Hara – Packaging for Pierre Herme’s “Ispahan”

Butterfly Stool by Sori Yanagi: 60th Anniversary Exhibition

The exhibition “BUTTERFLY STOOL 60th:カタチの原点 (the groundwork of the form)” focused on how Sori Yanagi, a trailblazing industrial designer in Japan, came up with the idea of a beautifully minimalist stool that consisted of only two pieces of plywood held together by a couple of bolts.

Tadao Ando: A wild beast that refuses to be tamed

Church of the Light by Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando re-created the “Church of the Light,” one of his landmark works he designed in 1989, at the exhibition “Tadao Ando: Endeavors” held in Tokyo in 2017. It is stunning to see how light meets concrete, inside meets outside, and how people face nature through this remarkable piece of architecture.

The Japanese House Chapter 4: House is a work of art

The Japanese House Chapter 5: From closed to open

“Simplify!” Steve Jobs’ relentless quest for Zen design

Steve Jobs is known to have practiced the Soto-school of Japanese Zen, and is also known to have loved the kare-sansui garden of the Saijo-ji in Kyoto, which was founded by a prominent Zen priest/garden designer in the 14th century. Find how Jobs leveraged Zen philosophy to design simple and minimal Apple products.

MUJI Passive house

Tofukuji kare-sansui by Mirei Shigemori

Japanese artist Mirei Shigemori (1896 – 1975) infused fresh energy into the traditional Japanese Zen rock garden (kare-sansui). Tofuku-ji Hojo garden in Kyoto is one of the most acclaimed works of his that still survives to this day. Find how traditional and modern, classic and avant-garde blend in his work while maintaining the serenity of Zen.

MUJI “Wood House” model home in Kanagawa, Japan

We visited MUJI’s model house in Kanagawa, Japan. The model, the “Wood House,” is a “tiny house” of about 1,000 square feet that delivers edit-ability and flexibility you could never have expected in other homes. The secret? Efficient insulation and no walls that would otherwise have limited your option to leverage each corner of the space. Find out how it works.

Katsura Imperial Villa (Katsura Rikyu)

Katura Rikyu (Imperial Villa), built during the 17th century in Kyoto by an aristocrat family, is often dubbed as the culmination of traditional Japanese architecture. Its simplicity is very “modern.” You will be amazed how the fine, subtle lines define architecture so cleanly and potently, and how it dissolves into nature seamlessly but elegantly.

The Zen of Minimalism: How Minimal Design is a Catalyst for Happiness

We tend to think of minimalism as an art movement and a minimalist lifestyle as two separate things, but they share a common philosophy. It has to do with how we leverage our inner ability and potential. Connect the dots among De Stijl, Zen rock garden and “decluttering.”

MUJI Hut: tiny house dissolving into the environment

MUJI released a “hut” in 2017 which is even tinier than a “tiny house.” Coming with the interior size of 9.1 m2, it delivers agility, mobility and flexibility you would never expected from a house. “Place it anywhere you want,” says MUJI. With the MUJI Hut, you are almost free to choose your ideal location to spend your time.

MUJI Oak Bench: Minimalist, agile and versatile

MUJI’s simple, minimalist Oak Bench is a “tote” bench. It’s agile, mobile and will add lively and flexible flow, movements and accents to your room.

Discover the aesthetics of “less is more”

When you abandon “more” to start embracing “less is more,” what is actually taking over “more” to make us happy? Zen could help you find the answer.

Kintsugi: Repair beyond repair

Kintsugi” is a traditional Japanese technique to repair broken ceramics, but it’s something that will change your definition of “repair.” Using glue and gold or silver powder, Kintsugi “heals” injured ceramics and give them new life, embracing the wound. It is fascinating.

Minimalist Ukiyo-e & paints by Hokusai

Kenya Hara and the aesthetics of “emptiness”

Kenya Hara is a Japanese graphic designer who helped cement the philosophy of Japanese brand MUJI by leveraging the concept of “emptiness.” Even though these concepts might appear similar, “emptiness” in Japanese aesthetics is different from Western “simplicity,” observes Hara. Ultimately it has to do with how we perceive our relationship with nature.

MUJI x UR: MUJI beautifully fixes-up old-fashioned urban apartments

MUJI started selling houses in 2004, and the project has been evolving. They now collaborate with other parties to re-invigorate outdated building stock. Discover their philosophy and strategy on how to re-discover the value of old homes, minimize disposal of old parts and adjust them to today’s living environment.

Discover the magic of smallness: MUJI’s toothbrush stand

Many everyday products are designed based on the assumption that “bigger is the better.” But MUJI’s tiny toothbrush stand – one of their best selling items – reminds us that small is simply beautiful. Small items fit our body and our living environment so smoothly and consciously. They let you engage and take control your own life.

Kare-sansui (Japanese Zen rock garden): ultimate beauty of absence

Where would millennials live when they go minimal?

Millennials are not interested in owning extravagant properties but instead are interested in investing in experiences. Their “ideal” house should look very different from older generation whose dream was to own a big house. What Sou Fujimoto imagined at House Vision may be the answer.

Japanese minimalist design and the influence of traditional Zen art

If you want to introduce Zen-taste minimalist design, what are the tips? There are several critical Zen aesthetics such as “subtraction”, “condensation” and “absence” that strongly influenced modern minimalist design. Find them through MUJI and other iconic product design.

How much is sufficient? “80% Full Product” by MUJI

Pursuing “just right” (not too much, not too little), MUJI uses the slogan “fitness80” to ask what the “just right” level/amount is for humans.