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WABI SABI - Beyond A Culture

Updated: Apr 9

The concept of Wabi-sabi highlights the importance of acceptance in Japanese culture, a society forced to contend with devastating natural disasters on a semi-regular basis. Rather than casting nature solely as a dangerous and destructive force, it helps frame it as a source of beauty, to be appreciated on the smallest of levels.

The Hall way
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Wabi-sabi offers a refuge from the modern world's obsession with perfection, and accepts imperfections as all the more meaningful – and, in their own way, beautiful

The Actual Meaning of Wabi Sabi

Wabi-sabi is often expressed or written as one combined word. The compound noun contains some images of the Japanese aesthetic- the simple and calm beauty of objects with wholesome imperfections. However, if we uncouple the Wabi from Sabi, we can better understand the concept. So let's take a look at the two words separately.


Initially, the word Wabi had negative meaning- conveying pessimism and mourning, the feeling of sadness and anxiousness from a wish unfulfilled. The meaning changed in the 16th Century, shifting to a more positive connotation of acceptance in plans going awry.

Experiences such as disappointment or poetry could be met with calm. Wabi express the spiritual abundance of discovering simple beauty in having less and enjoying it. Wabi is the beauty that can't be felt from natural imperfections and shortages rather than something artificially crafted.

The Lobby
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Rather than seeing dents or uneven shapes as mistakes, they are viewed as a creation of nature – much as moss would grow on an uneven wall or a tree would curve in the wind - BBC


Sabi possesses a meaning of discovering the beauty in an appearance that has deteriorated or gotten old over time. We can feel that an object has a life and story that reflected in its unique patina. Thing is imperfect and reveals its character and inner life, unlike an artificial material. The Sabi object is a reflection of our own continuity through change.

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“The aesthetics of Wabi-sabi opened our eyes to everyday life and gave us a method of handling what is common in an uncommon, aesthetic way,” Prof Otabe said

Combined, these experiences allow the viewer to see themselves as part of the natural world, no longer separated by societal constructs and instead at the mercy of natural timelines. Rather than seeing dents or uneven shapes as mistakes, they are viewed as a creation of nature – much as moss would grow on an uneven wall or a tree would curve in the wind.

Incorporating Wabi-sabi in our Apartments decor

Wabi-sabi is about appreciating nature, so at Wabi Sabi Serviced Apartments, we pay attention to the materials that bring into our apartments and go for nature option like wood, steel and look to nature for inspiration when choosing colours, and in physical objects, we except the use of natural materials in rustic style.

Camellia apt's terrace
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Imperfection are not from sloppiness but the nature of the materials and process, or the use of object itself. Objects will be personal, humble and functional.

Elusive and beautiful, Wabi-sabi is an integral part of Japanese life. Omnipresent, it is the basic of the delicate Japanese sensitivity that so often surprises us. It's represents a precious cache of wisdom that values tranquillity, beauty and imperfection, can strengthen your resilience in the face of materialism.

Source: Online collected

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