Japanese style

Traditional Japanese design,prizes natural materials like stone, wood, and rice straw. From Buddhism, it takes a sense of worldly impermanence, expressing life’s ephemerality with ikebana flower arrangements and cryptic Zen rock and gravel gardens, raked in concentric circles to represent the ripples of time.




Japanese style can run the gamut from sophisticated to rustic, but it often creates a pleasing mix of both extremes, with an emphasis on minimalism and natural materials. Refined teak and bamboo chairs alongside a roughhewn timber post exemplify the blend of earthy and elegant that characterizes Japanese design at its best.



Even the most modern Japanese homes frequently incorporate traditional rustic elements: wooden posts and beams, ceramic or copper roof shingles, bamboo, tatami, and delicate rice-paper shoji screens. Irregularities are prized -- a chip in a teacup becomes part of the object’s history, rather than a flaw -- and everyday objects like handmade brooms or an earthenware food jar are often works of art.




Nature is always kept in sight in Japanese design, whether with a formal bonsai garden or simply a loosely-constructed wood or bamboo fence enclosing cedars, Japanese maple or cherry trees. Indoors, bird, flower and tree motifs appear on painted scrolls and screens.

Stone temple lanterns, bells, and incense-holders are also wonderfully evocative. For the diehard Japanophile, a torii gate, which marks the beginning of sacred space in a Shinto shrine, can be a stunning garden element.




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