Key elements you need to know to apply Japanese minimalist, Zen design

People talk a lot about Japanese-style interior design such as Zen, Japandi or wabi-sabi, but what are they exactly, and how do you apply it to your own home?

Know about the several key elements that makes traditional Japanese Zen-influenced aesthetics unique. 

  • Less: As we call it “subtraction” on our website, “less is more” is the main tenet that makes Japanese minimalist style unique. But i’s very difficult to decide which ones to subtract. See below for Japanese approach for the aesthetics of subtraction.
  • Small: As we call it “condensation,” small things can concentrate the essence incredibly powerfully. Concentrated existences can easily overwhelm empty “big-ness,” adding focal points in your space without taking up room. 
  • Nothing-ness: In Buddhism, if you keep stripping
    off unnecessary elements to find your true self, you eventually become zero. As we call it “absence,” this kind of nothing-ness can be very powerful to stir your imagination and make you stay keenly focused. Traditional Japanese Zen rock garden is a prime example of the aesthetics of absence. 
  • Ambiguity: Ambiguousness is at the heart of Japanese culture. Although people tend to focus on its negative side in modern society, ambiguity can be beautiful when used to leave potential for each involved element unrestricted. For example, a house with few room dividers can be very flexible and versatile. 

Key elements of Japanese minimalist, Zen aesthetics (click images to open)

Subtraction: a tool to eliminate any distraction, disturbance or contamination to access pure beauty or happiness

Ikebana: the flower arrangement that seeks the ultimate essentials by reducing the number of flowers, colors or species.

Condensation: a vehicle to help you keenly concentrate on your behavior and the surroundings to discover beauty.

Chashitsu: a small, rustic room used for tea ceremony gatherings is the microcosm of our consciousness and inner-self.

Absence: a device that stirs your imagination and creativity by providing an empty space filled with potential.

Kare-sansui: a garden without water and plants that questions our common sense and inspire us to explore higher level of beauty.

Ambiguity: a leeway to amplify potential by intentionally leaving blurred boundaries or unclaimed ownership.

Engawa: an architectural device that connects the outside and inside, or nature and humans seamlessly to help us live in harmony with the environment.