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  • Writer's pictureDASHA HERVEY


Wabi-Sabi is a centuries old concept that is now being borrowed by the west. It’s a Japanese world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete." It’s a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching often condensed to "wisdom in natural simplicity" or "flawed beauty.”


The positive characteristics represent liberation from a material world and

transcendence to a simpler life. The philosophy itself, however, warns that genuine understanding cannot be achieved through words or language, so accepting wabi-sabi on nonverbal terms may be the most appropriate approach.

So how does this transcend into design? Think of it as the material representation of Zen Buddhism. The concept is to be surrounded by natural, gently changing, unique objects to help connect us to our real world and escape potentially stressful distractions.

In a high-tech, low touch world, some people are living at a frenetic pace and striving for perfection on impossible timelines and situations.

Wabi-sabi design could be the needed antidote to de-stress ourselves in the home. It’s a gentle, naturalistic style that is forgiving of imperfections and embraces design elements that create calm and minimize distractions in the home environment.

Some characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include

  • asymmetry

  • roughness,

  • simplicity

  • modesty

  • intimacy

and appreciation of the ingenious integrity of natural objects and processes.

It’s where less is more, imperfect is perfect, simple is better and the raw human form or otherwise is embraced.

- Author Dasha Hervey with Sea and Pine Interior Design

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