Golden joinery of Kintsugi

How many times in your life have you smashed one of your favourite mugs, plates or bowls? Sometimes it just slips out of your hands, other times time works its magic and one day a crack appears, the ear remains in your hand …If it is a very precious or favourite piece of yours and it has not cracked to too many shards, you might want to try to fix it so that it would not be visible repair. Then you can use such a mug, for example, for pencils, plate or bowl under the flower. But only if you can get it together in such way that it is not at first sight recognizable. Otherwise, you just throw it away.

zdroj: kinarino.jp
source: kinarino.jp

But it can be done differently. You can on the contrary repair such a piece so its repair stands out, it is shining in the distance and making so a new original piece in its way.

In Japanese culture, you can find Kintsugi art (translated to “golden joinery”) or Kintsukuroi (“golden repair”) – which can be briefly described as an art of repairing broken ceramics with a lacquer dusted or mixed with gold, silver or even platinum powder. It is believed that sometimes the repair of broken things can make them even better and more beautiful than if they were new.

kintsugi

This way of repair celebrates the unique history of each artefact by emphasizing its breakages, cracks or even missing parts instead of hiding or disguising them. Kintsugi often makes the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original, reviving it with a new life.

History

The art of Kintsugi dates back to the end of the 15th century. According to one legend, this art came into being when Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a cracked Chinese chawan (a tea bowl) back to China for a repair. After its return, Yoshimasa was disappointed to find that this was corrected by unsightly metal staples. This motivated his craftsmen to find an alternative, aesthetically pleasing method of repair. And so Kintsugi was born.

Collectors were so enchanted by this new art that some were accused of deliberately breaking valuable pottery to repair it with the golden Kintsugi seams. Kintsugi became closely associated with the ceramic vessels used for the Japanese tea ceremony – the chanoyu. However, over time, this technique has also been applied to ceramic pieces of non-Japanese origin, including China, Vietnam and Korea.

Philosophy

Since its inception, Kintsugi technique has been connected and influenced by various philosophical thoughts. Specifically, with Japanese philosophy wabi-sabi, which calls for beauty to be seen in flawed or imperfections. This way of repair is also associated with the Japanese feeling of mottainai, which expresses regret when something is useless or thrown away, as well as mushin – an acceptance of change.

Basic methods

There are three predominant Kintsugi styles: crack repair, piece recovery method, and joint-call method. While, in any case, gold-dusted compound/epoxide is used to repair the broken ceramics, the remedies themselves differ a little from each other.

Crack repair methodCrack repair method – use of gold dust and resin or lacquer to fix broken pieces with minimal overlapping or filling of missing pieces

The piece recovery methodThe piece recovery method – if a ceramic fragment is not available, it is produced and supplemented exclusively by epoxy resin – golden mixtures

Joint call methodJoint call method – the missing piece of ceramics is replaced by a similarly shaped but inconsistent fragment of aesthetically different ceramics. It combines two visually different works into one unique piece. It is a method reminiscent of the well-known patchwork.

Present time

Kintsugi inspires many artists and craftsmen all over the world even today. And it does keep this ancient tradition alive. Works inspired by this technique can be found in many world museums and galleries.Kintsugi

But it can also inspire us. The next time we will not want to throw away a crackled saucer from a grandmother’s set, a broken cup we liked, or just an old flower pot … We can also take the breaks and subsequent repair as part of the history of the object, rather than something that should be disguised.

Please follow and like us:

Axel Vervoordt – “Finding happiness through creating happiness”

Source: axel-vervoordt.com
Source: axel-vervoordt.com

Among the artists and designers that present and apply the spirit of wabi-sabi in their work undoubtedly belongs Axel Vervoordt – a world-renowned interior designer of a very specific style, but also an antique collector, gallery owner and an author of several books. He was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1947.

As a designer, he is celebrated for his capti­vatingly minimalistic interiors infused with a serene sense of history and timelessness.

“I believe in the historical, not the merely decorative. I like depth, not superficiality – everything needs a deep human reason, and for me, it is important to create something interesting, not just decorative.”

He gained the love for all the old and authentic and a certain fascination by the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque, in his youth, when he helped his mother with the reconstructions of old houses in the Vlaeykensgang – the historic district of Antwerp, which was then rented to local artists. To this he later, thanks to business travels throughout Thailand, Cambodia and Japan, added an admiration for Eastern philosophies and art.

“I really don’t mind if things are ugly. They have their own beauty if only one looks hard enough.”

He already combined unusual rustic furnishings with baroque ones or ancient sculptures with modern paintings. Today, in his work, he also promotes the zen idea of wabi-sabi – that true beauty is imperfect, incomplete and unstable – in other words, as transient as life. This view is reflected in his love for modest, sometimes at first look almost “ugly” subjects, such as a shepherd’s rough table or a raku tea bowl. “For 30 years I have been interested in developing an art of living which can transform the ordinary object into an objet d’art and the everyday gesture into perfection – the fullness of emptiness.”

For some, his combination of materials and styles may seem contradictory, but Vervoordt believes that truth may be contained in a paradox and in ambiguity.

“I love the tension between different objects and different cultures and I always let the space I am restoring inspire me.”

Axel Vervoordt

Axel Vervoordt creates environments, that do not look like they were just made but found. His specific style is highly sought after and often imitated. Among his former clients belong members of royal families, successful tycoons from financial and IT world, rock and film stars and other artists. The most famous of them are Bill Gates, Ellen DeGeneres, Kanye West, Sting, Calvin Klein, Robert De Niro (see his New York wabi-sabi Penthouse), and many others.

“Etre heureux en rendant heureux”

– which could be roughly translated as “finding happiness through creating happiness” -a quote which Axel Vervoordt states on his website as his favourite.

Please follow and like us:

Wabi-Sabi Home

domovThe home should always be a place where you can forget about the difficulties of the surrounding world. A home based on wabi-sabi should be a place where you feel absolutely free and unrestrained, to relax, to meditate, but also to create and develop your creativity.

Just like the philosophy itself, the interior according to wabi-sabi is characterized by simplicity, purity, naturality, asymmetry, and the appreciation of the flowing of time. More about wabi-sabi interior here.

Purity and simplicity, space and light. It can be said that for the wabi-sabi home, this is the most desired decoration.

For an at least partial transformation of our home into the wabi-sabi style we do not need great finance or even a designer work. A few little steps might just be enough.

However, before proceeding to the first basic step, i.e. opening space as much as possible, cleaning up, rearranging rooms, or then decorating them yourselves, take a zero step:

Magazines inundate us with images of perfect flawless interiors according to recent trends, describing how correctly and contemporarily everything should look. So often we can get to succumb to the feeling, that at home we can see things that are not exactly the way we think it would be right according to some kind of rigid perceptions of the current habitation.
Is our kitchen or bathroom too small, old, dark? Do planks on the floor have a slightly larger joint in one place? Is the plaster on the wall after the work of the electrician and even still bulging after repairs? Does the third stair after stepping on squeak a little bit? Is there a small, unclean stain on the couch that is not visible, but you know about it?

No house or apartment where someone really lives is not without any flaws.
So, step zero:
Look at your home with a slightly more tolerant attitude towards its mistakes and imperfections.

 

Do not give up on your home, but also do not look at your dwelling as a list of imperfections. Let’s simply just love our home. Even with its minor faults, behind which there’s often a story.

Step One:

As already mentioned – space, light, purity and simplicity – these are the fundamental principles of wabi-sabi interior. You probably won’t enlarge your room by any magic wand, but sometimes it’s enough to just move a piece of furniture into the corner or to think about the necessity of having some of our stuff. Cleanliness (purity) is practised not only figuratively, but literally. With the cleanliness of our home, we express our respect for our visitors, but above all that we respect ourselves. By keeping surfaces free of dust and dirt we deliver to our space the desired feeling of peace and order.

So, therefore, the first and indispensable step in creating a wabi-sabi style space is cleaning or getting rid of the disorder and things that have gradually accumulated. It sounds simple, but maybe you also have a problem with throwing out all those small or big gifts from your loved ones, a collection of travel souvenirs, a family heirloom. Maybe you would even like to throw some of them away, but for another member of your family, they are valuables, that he/she would not want to lose. And even though you have restrictions, what to do when you want to relieve your home?

Try the old Japanese method of ROTATING PRECIOUS ITEMS. Japanese hid their valuables and were displayed just a few of them in a specially designated area or in a special niche – tokonoma. After a certain time, they realigned them. Assuming we have storage space, we just hide these little things and our valuable belongings and display only a few of them at a time. After some time, we replace them with another from our “warehouse”. This method is far less painful than just getting rid of our “valuables.” Moreover, after some time when we do not have them all the time in our eyes, they will seemingly come off as even rarer or on the contrary, suitable for throwing out or handing over.

Wabi-sabi home does not have to look like a monastic dwelling without any ornaments or few fancy items. But also it should not be overcrowded with external details.

But we’re already at the next step:

Step Two: Interior Equipment

The wabi-sabi style is not suitable for supporters of consumerism. On the contrary, it is inclining towards a sustainable environmental approach. Things and equipment made of quality natural materials and in good quality design are not hurt by time or a gentle usage. Getting a patina of time often rather benefits them. And we do not change such things so often.

As mentioned in the Wabi-Sabi Interior post,  with the wabi-sabi interior, they are related:

  • colours –  rather subtle and matte;
  • materials – as natural as possible, coarse and patina;
  • shapes – round, rounded edges, non-rectangular;
  • furniture less so it would not occupy the whole space and at least some piece of “attic”, ie., such as one that has already implied a certain age
  • art and decoration – abstract paintings and photographs, sketches expressing incompleteness – perhaps from our children, accessories of interesting shapes, colours and structures.

To make our home really a place where we feel absolutely free, freely, fetterless, we should listen to our feelings and take heed of our intuitions when arranging it. In that way, we use colours, materials, and objects that we love and that are pleasing to us.

 

Please follow and like us:

Wabi-Sabi Interior

A look at a wabi-sabi interior can remind us of the austerity of the industrial style, perhaps a little bit in celebration of the old times in a Provençal or a rural rustic style. But just like the philosophy itself, the interior according to wabi-sabi is characterized by simplicity, purity, naturality, asymmetry, and the appreciation of the flowing of time.

Unlike other interior design concepts, the wabi-sabi interior is not about an equipment with a specific style or a carefully set colour palette. It’s the art of appreciating space and what’s possibly already there from the past. It’s about the art of matching what we really need to buy with what we already have. It is certainly true that LESS IS MORE.

The wabi-sabi style is not suitable for supporters of consumerism. On the contrary, it is inclining towards a sustainable environmental approach. Things and equipment made of quality natural materials and in good quality design are not hurt by time or a gentle usage. Getting a patina of time often rather benefits them. And we do not change such things so often.

The interior in the spirit of wabi-sabi is not a place that you want to show off or impress other people with. Much more important than the appearance itself, is how you are feeling in it.

The home is conceived as a shrine of peace and tranquillity. A place where you can forget about the difficulties of the surrounding world, to relax, to meditate, but also to create and develop your creativity. A home based on wabi-sabi should be a place where you feel absolutely free and unrestrained.

If you’ve recently found demonstrations of interiors in the style of wabi-sabi in magazines, they were often very expensive residences. And often they are also homes of more or less well-known people (see the Robert Niro residence in New York). Recently, however, it is possible to see at least small signs of wabi-sabi inspiration even with Czech interior designers in arranging “normal” houses and flats. Whether for renovations of old apartment flats or family houses or also for new buildings.

But for an at least partial transformation of our home into the wabi-sabi style we do not need great finance or even a designer work. More on Wabi-Sabi Home.

Please follow and like us:

Robert De Niro’s Wabi-Sabi Penthouse in New York

Manhattan, New York – a centre of global stock exchange and the location of the headquarters of commercial banks, in a way a place of luxury and pomposity, a place of a constant city rush. In a sense, a symbol of Western capitalism. You could describe this place with a lot of adjectives but definitely not calm and modest. And still, in Tribeca, a 2000 square meter large, two stories high rooftop apartment was reconstructed, a penthouse in the style of the wabi-sabi philosophy for a very famous man.

Robert de Niro

This famous man is the American actor Robert de Niro. The orchestrator of the transformation of his apartment is a world-renowned designer – a Belgian named Axel Vervoordt, who previously designed the homes of Sting, Ellen Degeneres, Calvin Klein and Kanye West. He and his team, together with the Japanese architect Tatsuro Miki, took three years to create a unique living space that has, if you look past the obvious simplistic theme, an incredible timelessness to it. Together with the vast terrace, this forms a calm refuge from the surrounding inner city.

wabi-sabi interiorAll that using a minimalistic design, seemingly incompatible architectural elements, interesting recycled materials from the vicinity, antique furniture from Asia and Europe. This sustainable design is noticeable on the entire interior and exterior.

The frame for a bathtub and a double sink in the bathroom were sculpted out of a 17th century weatherworn stone trough.
The ceiling of one of the bedrooms is lined with wooden planks taken from the nearby Union Square Farmers Market.
The headboard in the master bedroom is made from a 19th-century walnut tabletop.
Hanging copper lanterns created from the original roof of the building.
The 1200 m2 private multi-levelled terrace includes a lush garden with wisteria-wrapped pergolas, dining areas, a spa pool, a gas grill, and even an outdoor wood-burning fireplace.

 

The result of this reconstruction proves that the wabi-sabi style can be used as a part of a luxurious interior and exterior design, all the while celebrating simplicity and humility.

After the completion, the photographs and descriptions of the penthouse in TriBeCa, towering over the corner of Greenwich and North Moore streets, have appeared in the lifestyle columns of many world-renowned media, such as The New York Times, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Spiegel, Die Welt, Vanity Fair, Elle and many others.

Take a walk and look yourself:

Please follow and like us: