Doctors of Design: Using Wabi-Sabi to Treat the Home
And so it was in early 2019 that we sat down with a doctor couple (the husband a neurologist, the wife an anesthesiologist), and took on the project of redesigning their newly bought, two-bedroom apartment according to their vision for how they wanted to share their lives together in their new home.
The first step involved a “diagnosis,” not by the doctors but by us, based on symptoms described to us by the couple: the rooms felt too small, claustrophobic, and lacking in light. Our “treatment plan” thus called for a shot of the distinctly Japanese aesthetic sensibility known as “wabi-sabi.”
“Like homeopathic medicine, the essence of wabi-sabi is apportioned in small doses. As the dose decreases, the effect becomes more potent, more profound. The closer things get to nonexistence, the more exquisite and evocative they become. Consequently to experience wabi-sabi means you have to slow way down, be patient and look very closely.”