Ancient Japan in Milan


If design is in the details, at this year's Milan furniture fair the key shift is away from flawless surfaces and toward Japan's ancient aesthetic of wabi sabi, which rests on the concept that beauty is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.


In today's often jejune design world, it's refreshing to see the remnants of the artisan's work, reflecting the randomness of nature instead of what at times feels like contrived simplicity. Some pieces from the fair that speak to this look are Hella Jongerius' crackled pink vase for Ikea , Gitta Gschwendtner's concrete and recycled wood stools modeled after the rife disposable paper bag and Nacho Carbonell's recycled leather design, stapled together for Fendi's "Craft Punk" show.

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