As we try to bring warmth into our homes during these restless times, the Japanese design aesthetic of wabi-sabi, which goes beyond just simple, cold minimalism, has found its place as a favourite among homeowners and designers.
Photography: Simon J Nicol
“Wabi-sabi combines natural inspirations and a neutral palette with an acknowledgement of the beauty in the imperfection of daily life,” Smeding explains. “Unlike minimalism, which seeks to streamline and eliminate clutter, wabi-sabi celebrates the knot in the wood or the wrinkle in the linen.”
Such design also focuses on giving you a chance to loosen up at home, rather than just please an onlooker’s eye.
“Styles that require minimal built-ins and focus more on loose furniture that has more character are very versatile,” Shihan comments. “They can be styled up or down, depending on the homeowner’s needs.” Similar styles that the Singaporean designer has enjoyed doing include mid-century modern, bohemian and resort-inspired décor.
Heah is an advocate of deriving true beauty from simplicity, authenticity and imperfection as well.
“We don’t need excessive and pretentious decorations to make a space beautiful, sometimes keeping the decorations minimal allows the detail from the natural materials to speak for itself,” he says.
Citing his heritage as one of his greatest inspirations, he defines his style as “the fusion of the old and the new, eastern meets western, the fluidity between different periods”.
“The essence of my work is carefully preserving elements of heritage while conceptualising contemporary living in a cultural context,” he adds. “The style of a home goes beyond aesthetics, but honouring both the past and the present.”