Roll back the clock 1,000 years to the Heian Era to find the origin of the elusive and ambiguous Japanese aesthetics where the aristocrats explored the culture of “mono no aware.” It is amazing to find how much the aesthetic style had changed, but the fundamentals remain the same to this day.
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.
MUJI entered the home building business in 2004 (only in Japan) with the model 木の家 (Ki no Ie, Wood House) to provide a simple, universal, compact yet highly editable platform that is meant to last for decades. It added its forth product 陽の家 (Yō no Ie, Sun House) in 2019, marking its 15th year. Find more about MUJI house.
History of Japanese aesthetics (2) reviews civil war-ridden Kamakura era (1185-1333) and the aesthetics of mujo, which produced highly philosophical/poetic inward-looking, hermit culture.
“Less is more” is a design or aesthetic concept that reminds that additional frills do not necessarily guarantee beauty or happiness. But its principle, or the tension between “less” and “more,” is totally universal that it applies to everything people has done in history. Indeed, the conflict between the desire for “more” and “less,” or the reservation toward it, has been what has made our history colorful and thriving on one hand, but violent and tragic on the other hand.
People who built Horyuji, the oldest surviving wood structure, had unbelievably deep knowledge about wood. Better than our technology.