The concept of “Zen” is associated with the Buddhist teachings, which came from India and spread widely in China, Japan and other Asian countries. This philosophical and religious school has touched many spheres of life – including the sphere of culture and art, influencing the formation of the category of Oriental aesthetics in general. Surely, it is impossible to collect and describe all the possible principles to create textbook zen interior design concept for your home. Many of the principles are ambiguous, blurred and can be clearly understood only by people who lived at the countries of their origin.
It is recommended to install three-dimensional windows to increase the proportion of natural light. In the dark, ordinary nightlights should emit warm light, creating a sense of a small twilight. Curtains need to be chosen the most unpretentious: the fewer patterns and drawings – the better.
Since the Zen style bears simplicity in itself – the house is furnished with furniture with sharp corners, without steep bends. True use of low sofas beige tones in conjunction with the floor of dark wood. This kind of interior style is perfectly complemented by small, varnished tables and modern technology. For a bedroom it is better to choose a low bed.
Do not heavily clutter the house with decor – nothing should be in excess. It is important that there is no symmetry in the construction, and the details of the environment do not repeat each other. Accessories of natural origin: plants, stems, bamboo, stones are in priority. The usual flower in a glass vase can emphasize and refine the style. You can put works of art with dark, thin frames on the walls. Country house will be harmoniously arranged with a fireplace in a clear design.
The Zen style can be present both in the whole house and in separate rooms.
In the context of the interior, you can often find quite superficial descriptions – and then, only decorating the space, without trying to identify the origins and starting points of a solution. In early sources, the school of Zen is called the school of contemplation. Having adopted this term, we are also more like observers than experts – we will try to reveal some characteristics of this style and its origins.
Using the Western approach to the definition of a particular concept, it is difficult to describe the categories of aesthetics of Zen, since they contain a large number of meanings. We will use the characteristics most appropriate to interior design. Examples of the implementation of a particular concept, and most importantly – your perception – will be no less important than the description. After all, this Eastern philosophy asserts that a holistic understanding is unattainable through words, but a nonverbal language may prove to be the most faithful approach.
Wabi category of Zen interior concept
Often this principle is partially expressed in Loft design, when structural elements in the form of metal beams or connecting structures do not hide behind additional materials, but on the contrary are presented in a winning light – in order to be able to see the essence of the material and the support of the entire building.
Also this principle works when we bring to the fore the natural, rough surface of a stone, wood, ceramics with a minimal finish in order to use our tactile sensations and receive experience of meeting with natural material.
The process of the passage of time, which we perceive through objects, the contemplation of the ancient touch. In this approach, it is very important to surround yourself with objects and materials that age beautifully to be able to observe it, to see in this a special charm.
This approach certainly comes into conflict with the current trend of consumption and the desire to bet on fashionable, but perhaps short-lived solutions, quickly changing them to other options.
If you like to see how the shade of the stone changes over time or rust appears on metal substrates, this principle is for you.
In this dual concept, a contradiction is laid initially, which is its essence. It describes a certain “non-creative method of creativity”, when the master is guided by the principle of not creating something completely new, but revealing what is inherent in nature. Wei-wuwei comes from the basic position of Zen Buddhism – the manifestation of “action through non-deed”. At the heart of this category is the transfer of the role of the main artist from man to nature, an attempt to manifest it.
In this photo we see this principle in the technology of manufacturing a glass sink. The person chooses colors, the shape of the object, but the nature of the pattern on each product, the direction of the lines, the density of penetration of one color into another is given already by the physical characteristics of the material and can be completely different under the same production conditions.
Note that this shell design is well supported by wall tiles with an individual natural pattern of natural stone.
Yugen. One of the Japanese aesthetic principles
There are 7 common Japanese aesthetic principles, but we will not review all of them as they are not fully related to Zen philosophy regarding the interior decoration.
The desire to comprehend the deep content of an object or space that is hidden from a superficial glance. Here we come to the significance of the hidden mystical content of this approach, which is opposed to an open, superficial manifestation.
In Japanese homes, you will not find a large number of open shelves with exposed decorative items, here rather use sliding partitions, which hide all objects from an alien sight. The exception is the tokonoma – niche, the only aesthetic center of the whole house, where in the penumbra there can be a picture of an ikebana.
This method assumes the use of a special lighting scenario. In the evening, in the natural twilight illumination, it is not recommended to use flooding top light, it is better to stay in space with only a small local illumination. This makes it possible to observe the boundaries of light and shadow, which appear on walls, in niches, during transitions from one space to another.
Hieta means “to grow cold” or “get chilly” from Japanese.
It primarily focuses on the analysis of the form of the object. In this context, it is better not to use things that are fanciful or specific bright, designer forms. Such objects can “crush” their own individuality. If we fill the space with a lot of similar solutions, this affects the manifestation and sense of freedom of the owner of the place.
In this philosophy, things must correspond to their functional task and be more “imperceptible”, so that the experience of the space itself should be single, integral, and not accompanied by a broken attention that jumps from one original solution to another.
Yohaku no bi
The beauty of empty space, the value of silence, the stoppage that arises in conversation, during our thoughts … Therefore it is customary for the East mentality to have solid walls, as the western person would say. Perhaps this space looks less uninteresting, but it’s good to think, to look for new ideas when you want to get rid of the confused flow of mind.
Try to leave at least one wall completely free from decorative elements and observe – you may notice that sometimes you are drawn to stop looking at it to rest your eyes and thoughts.
In connection with this principle it is important not to overload the space with objects, to be able to hide them, leaving only those that need to be used right now. In Japanese houses, the same room can be used both as a bedroom and as a study room – it is enough just to make a table for writing, or to spread pastel accessories. Furniture is light, does not take up much space. Of course, it had its own economic, cultural backgrounds, but certain principles can be taken when planning the organization of its space.
In translation means “pale, colorless”. And as you already guessed, this concept reveals to us the theme of color in the Zen interior. It does not use bright or contrasting hues, wallpaper with pictures, decorative plaster, so as not to distract attention from the main one. Hints are welcome, which are the logical continuation of the overall interior, filled with shades of natural materials.
One of the significant moments of the whole Zen style is the connection: blurring the boundaries between what is inside the house and out. One of the manifestations of this principle is the ability to observe, let sunlight into the room, which every hour changes its shades, when we can notice (albeit unconsciously) sunrise, noon, sunset. Such an interior becomes a continuation of the surrounding world, and not a refuge from it.
In order to catch all the nuances of this phenomenon, the walls are painted in light neutral colors without a pronounced texture. In the same context, the reception of a special organization of space, which gives shadows, glare – the most effective way of decorative decoration of the walls.
All of the above may seem completely detached from today’s trends and our mentality. Of course, one must take into account that these categories and receptions for the design of space have been formed quite a long time and in quite different from our culture. Even with a clear orientation to create an interior in this style, it is hardly possible to follow all these postulates.