Japanese design is way more than just a design aesthetic – it’s a rich philosophy rooted in ancient ideals and trusted schools of thought. In this article, we explore ways in which you can integrate the 5 key Japanese design principles with ease into your own personal space - as well as demonstrating how at OSU, we’ve applied them to brand philosophy and products.
Kanso – The Art of Simplicity
What Is Kanso
Kanso is the art of simplicity and the elimination of clutter within your personal space. This embraces the ‘less is more’ approach and stands behind the belief that things are best expressed in a plain manner. It’s important to not focus on the aspect of decorating with Kanso. More so the goal of clarity - keep it clean and simple, don’t adorn or over embellish.
How To Apply Kanso
You can approach Kanso by removing all unnecessary objects in your personal space and focus on creating a simplified and minimalist environment. Remember to remove anything that doesn’t serve you, either practically or emotionally, and replace them with things that do e.g. Throw everything that is broken/doesn’t work anymore.
How OSU Embraces Kanso
We embrace the principle of Kanso with the clean label ingredients we use in our ACV, which comprises of two simple ingredients: Natural Apple Juice and Apple Cider Vinegar.
Fukinsei – Asymmetry In Design
What Is Fukinsei
Fukinsei is a principle that stands for irregularity or asymmetry. This stems from the concept of ‘Zen’ which maintains the idea that balance can be controlled through irregularity and that there is a balanced asymmetry. This doesn’t mean everything in your house should be lopsided, rather a balance has to be established across the entire space.
How to Apply Fukinsei
Fukinsei is easily applied in art, where imperfect brush strokes or asymmetry can look beautiful. Consider looking for these simple but abstract pieces to complement the walls of your home.
How OSU Embraces Fukinsei
The use of the Sakura on our Apple Cider Vinegar product packaging is a perfect example of Fukinsei. The plant is not symmetrical but creates a balanced asymmetry that pulls to the design of the product together. This is the same for the copy on our product label, with it rather than being centered it is left aligned.
Shizen – Natural Over Artificial
What Is Shizen
Shizen is an adjective that means “to be natural”. It encourages natural creativity (that is not forced) through the absence of fakeness and artificialness. This involves intentionally creating a space that has that natural feel.
How To Apply Shizen
You can apply Shizen to your home by introducing nature to your home. This can manifest as plants and greenery where you see fit. Or the integration of natural light including aspects e.g. white painted walls or objects to reflect the natural sunlight more.
How OSU Embraces Shizen
Our Apple Cider Vinegar product is blended using only all-natural ingredients, so you can be assured that there are no artificial flavorings, preservatives or colourings. We always ensure that our vinegar is raw, unpasteurised and unfiltered so it contains "The Mother", to keep our product as natural as possible.
Wabi Sabi – Beauty Of Imperfections
What is Wabi-Sabi
Wabi-sabi means finding beauty in imperfection. It combines the principles of Shizen and Kanso and refers to living in simplicity while being at one with the surrounding nature. It encourages you to accept the imperfections of what is around you and embrace an authentic interior design.
How to Apply Wabi-Sabi
You can apply Wabi-Sabi by finding value in what is weathered and imperfect. This could be an old mirror or a used basket. Rather than adding a new shiny piece of decor or frantically trying to make every aspect of your home perfect, find joy in upcycling or renovating handed down or previously owned objects, and embrace the uniqueness of their imperfections and history.
How OSU Embraces Wabi-Sabi
We embrace the principle of wabi-sabi in our apple cider vinegar product packaging. Our product label features an intentionally frayed edge rather than a straight edge. This gives the impression of a heritage calligraphic paper - heritage and history are at the very core of wabi-sabi.
Seijaku – Bring Stillness Inside
What is Seijaku
Seijaku can mean a range of things like “tranquility”, “stillness” or “solitude”. The best way to think of it is to imagine you’re in the open space of a Japanese garden, and the sense of calmness it exudes - this is what Seijaku is all about. In relation to interior design, Seijaku encourages you to embrace a design that allows for calmness and solitude via open spaces.
How to Apply Seijaku
You can bring Seijaku into your home by creating more open space. This could involve removing some of the clutter you have taking up space or by swapping bigger furniture pieces for smaller and more open pieces.
How OSU Embraces Seijaku
We embrace seijaku with our clean, simple, and very clear label. Lots of white space and minimal colouring. Not only does this bring a sense of calmness when looking at our bespoke apple cider vinegar product. This also allows you to read the important information a lot easier e.g. the fact our ACV features ‘The Mother’, is raw and has a smoother taste.
The Future of Japanese Design
Minimalism has always been a key part of traditional Japanese design, however, it has gained popular attention through the global rise of designers like Hara and Fukasawa. As interest in the importance of the environment grows, design principles that stand against capitalist consumption and encourage a really close bond with the natural world, such as Japanese aesthetics, will only flourish in popularity and influence.
Baku Sakashita is a designer who said this about Japanese design: “The spirit of adapting something from the past is not about it being old or retro — it’s good design. It’s taking good components of older design and incorporating it into something new.” So, don’t be shy to tap into your creativity, create a space that is good, nurturing, and calm for you. Follow some of the design principles we have listed and show us your interpretation of it via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Also don’t forget to try out our bespoke OSU Apple Cider Vinegar, which you can find at Amazon, and proudly display it as part of your new Japanese inspired decor.