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Wabi-sabi office

After the Danish ‘hygge’ and Swedish ‘lagom’ there comes the Japanese ‘wabi-sabi’. Trendsetters unanimously speculate that wabi-sabi will rule in 2018. The Japanese aesthetics of wabi-sabi can be defined as the beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent and incomplete."

According to Leonard Koren, wabi-sabi is "the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty and it occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West."¹ [¹Koren, Leonard (1994). Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers. Stone Bridge Press.]

Exemplary implementations and stylisations displaying the features of wabi-sabi aesthetics:

The words ‘wabi’ and ‘sabi’ do not have their equivalents in other languages. 

‘Wabi’ initially referred to the loneliness of living in nature, away from the society. Nowadays, ‘wabi’ is associated with rustic simplicity, freshness and silence. ‘Sabi’ is the beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the lifecycle of an object and its impermanent character are visible in its patina and wear as well as in any visible signs of repairs. 

Wabi-sabi seems to be a perfect answer to the call of the modern times, in which we have started appreciating things which are simple and natural. We have been fed up with elegant interiors and constantly striving for perfection. This philosophy advocates undisturbed harmony, authenticity and beauty in nature. Following the wabi-stabi assumptions, objects need to be functional, long-living and natural. 

Wabi-sabi office – things to remember:

1. Plants

 Wabi-sabi implies close contact with nature. The presence of plants allows to enjoy the calming effects of greenery and reminds us of a close relation between man and nature (learn more about the positive influence of plants in the office from "Office Greenery – a Feeling of Well-being" article and "Green Office – It Really Works!" - an article written by Kwiaty&Miut duo.

Office in Berlin, design: PB/STUDIO, implementation: RUBIO Gdańsk, photo by Jakub Pszczółkowski 

2. Colours of nature

Warm and somewhat “faded” earth colours are typical of wabi-sabi interiors. A workplace arranged in neutral colours drawn from nature will work perfectly on the senses. The wabi-sabi colours assist concentration.

Source: Pinterest

3. Natural materials

Wood, stone, wool – these natural materials are must-have elements for wabi-sabi office. 

SIMPLIC table on wooden legs (solid oak wood), photo by Błażej Pszczółkowski