We would not be surprised to find Mediterranean-style design in the south of Spain, Italy, or in Greece. But of course we would be a little surprised to enter a friend’s house in Alicante and suddenly feel in the Tokyo of the 19th century. However, nothing is impossible anymore. With cultural globalization, in fact, even construction and design styles have become increasingly replicable elements.
THE EMBRACE BETWEEN EAST AND WEST
And so that is what is going on with the Japanese style, philosophically a source of inspiration for “our” minimalist style. After all, the Japanese style perfectly reflects that anti-modern aspiration of the undoubtedly modern minimalism. And it almost seems that, embracing the East, the West somehow seeks a return to its very essence.
But the Japanese minimal, of course, is a Japanese specificity. Proposing it as it is outside of Japan can hardly yield a result that expresses authenticity.
Especially without the help of a tasteful designer. Because the Japanese style is more than a style. Rather, it is a way of living, thinking and acting, which is reflected in the furniture and in the arrangement and construction of spaces. This does not mean, however, that it is not possible to be inspired and bring something beautiful to life.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE JAPANESE STYLE
In case you have decided to do it, we recommend that you first work on the spaces and floors. The classic “kitchen-living room” western open-space is not enough. The minka, the traditional Japanese house, is almost a unique space. The walls are almost absent, often replaced by mobile structures. Sliding or fixed, in any case they’re made of wood or rice paper panels, which lighten the atmosphere even more.
So, in terms of materials, surely wood dominates (especially red pine, beech, cedar, maple and cypress) even if there is no dopubt that bamboo is essential in a Japanese-style home.
The rooms are tidy, reduced to the essentials, with little furniture spaced apart, few and linear decorations, preferably built-in wardrobes, sliding shutters, ukiyo-e prints that usually represent flowers, plants and animals and the typical bonsais. As we said, it is essential to intervene on the ground. In Japan, the tatami is traditional and consists of a set of wooden panels covered with pressed straw. That is why it is essential to adapt to the Japanese style by finding a strictly monochrome and seamless solution.
As for the colors, these are generally neutral tones, especially related to wood. Low tables, legless chairs almost at floor level, cushions and lamps with warm and soft lights are used to warm the environment and make it more welcoming. Recreating that atmosphere is not child’s play.
A LIFESTYLE CHOISE
The keyword of the Japanese style is Zen. And everything seems to point in one direction: rigor, inner peace, slowness and tranquility. The Japanese style, in fact, is the expression of the character and habits (even religious) of a people, which are certainly not transmitted by buying a piece of furniture on the Internet. The choice of the Japanese style, therefore, must undoubtedly be a conscious choice, almost a choice of life.
Emmanuel Raffaele Maraziti