The aesthetics of “absence” in Ukiyoe: Hiroshige – One hundred of Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige was an Ukiyo-e master excelled in emphasizing essential elements only. His One Hundred Famous Views Edo is a prime example of his aesthetics of subtraction and absence.

Importance of Small Architecture by Kengo Kuma

Kuma’s book, “Small Architecture,” is full of inspiration that questions the myth of modern architecture, which has become excessively big, hard and alienating. He advocates small architecture as an alternative, due to its boundless potential.

Engawa

Engawa, the narrow wooden strips attached around the periphery of a house has been an indispensable part of the traditional Japanese house, functioning as a sun porch, a workshop, a venue for socializing and a buffer to shield the house from harsh weather. Learn more about its various faces and versatile applications.

Anonymous is beautiful: “The Profiles of Design” by Naoto Fukasawa

Japanese product designer Naoto Fukasawa quotes from his book “The Profile of Design.” Find where his minimalist, quiet yet powerful design came from.

Why is MUJI’s minimalist design called Zen?

The Japanese household brand MUJI is often dubbed “commercial Zen” for its no-frills, minimalist design and approach. But exactly what kind of Zen aesthetics are seen in MUJI? Two prominent designers Kenya Hara and Naoto Fukasawa give us inspiring clues.

Aesthetics of “emptiness” by Kenya Hara

Kenya Hara is a Japanese graphic designer who has been playing a pivotal role shaping MUJI’s brand philosophy. As a member of MUJI’s Advisory Board since 2001, along with Naoto Fukasawa, he strengthened the concept of “emptiness,” which is behind MUJI’s minimalist design.

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

MUJI has been working with the Japanese UR (Urban Renaissance Agency) to re-define and re-invigorate danchi, old-style condo complex that house thousands of residents at one location.

History of Japanese aesthetics 3: Muromachi and wabi-sabi

History of Japanese asethetics (3) reviews Muromachi era (1336-1573), which coinsided with the early Renaissance in Europe. However, Zen-influenced, minimalist aesthetics were the opposite of Renaissance.

“So-an,” the 1000-year-old Zen tiny house

The tiny house was already a “choice” for some 1,000 years ago. In medieval Japan, people called their version of the tiny house 草庵 (so-an), “thatched hut” away from home. Practitioners of Buddhism, artists and/or wanderers created the “tiny house movement” and created so-an as a base for freer, ideal life.

Tea ceremony and chashitsu: the ultimate example of Zen design