Minimalism, the Japanese way….

Minimalism – the Japanese way…

I am finding of late, a new appreciation for contemporary Japanese design.

As I scroll through the latest design projects my eyes are drawn to the clean lines, the continuation of fresh colour / material palette, the innovative ways in which the project is carried out and – most importantly – the purity of the conceptual ideas.


Ito-Biyori café, designed by studio Ninkipen, is a great example of how to use materials and texture to create a ‘simple and warm atmosphere’. This has been developed using polished artificial stone, brick and the more unusual choice of a soil wall… This contrast ensures that each material is highlighted and expresses texture rather than simply being ‘a wall’. If you are not quite ready to build a soil wall in your house (is anyone?!) then use wallpaper such as raffia, available from Phillip Jeffries, to add natural texture.

“The main idea of this design is to make the atmosphere harmonise with the organic foods that are offered in the cafe,” says architect Yasuo Imazu.

I particularly enjoy the placement of the large circular mirror, positioned to reflect the planted Jabuticaba tree; the reflection then becomes a piece of art in itself re-iterating the organic theme of the café. When going for this look, stick to a simple mirror design as we want the reflection to do the talking, a beautiful example is the Cordova Round Mirror, available from Amazon.


Another project which has caught my eye is the ‘Ant House’ by mA-style architects. The designers intention was for the space to look and feel like a hiding space. The house has minimal partitions, creating an environment which is open and which enables the users to connect whilst having pockets of privacy within. For those wanting to create a walk in wardrobe which makes use of existing space and height rather than dedicating a separate room – this image of the ‘free’ room leading into the wardrobe may just give you some new ideas…

You can achieve this look by collecting pale wood furniture pieces, adding soft, sculptural lighting, incorporation of plants (don’t hold back!) muted grey colour palettes and a touch of playfullness in your object choice will ensure your home does not take itself to seriously!



Here are a few ideas of individual pieces to create the look….

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