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.]
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.