Design showcase: Top five wabi-sabi projects

by | 15 Jun 2022 | Design

This week’s collaboration with TOPHOTELDESIGN focuses on five hotel projects drawing our attention to wabi-sabi design principles.

Projects from Ibiza to New York and Bacalar embrace this philosophy of appreciating the beauty of imperfection.

The wabi-sabi approach

“We do not dislike everything that shines, but we do prefer a pensive lustre to a shallow brilliance, a murky light that, whether in a stone or an artifact, bespeaks a sheen of antiquity…. we do love things that bear the marks of grime, soot, and weather, and we love the colours and the sheen that call to mind the past that made them.” ― Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows.

In Japanese aesthetics, the term wabi-sabi describes a way of understanding the world where the acceptance of transience and imperfection are valued.

This approach finds and appreciates the beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete in nature, resulting in characteristics like asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and an appreciation for the forces of nature that affect our tangible world.

Wabi-sabi values the impact of time on matter and the resulting unique aura that objects acquire by being worn out, broken and fixed over time. It also sees beauty in the scars left by nature and is interested in the lifespan of matter itself and its poetic decay. In a world where plasticky planned obsolescence is the norm, this is truly a breath of fresh air.

Today we have selected five projects that draw inspiration from this timeless concept. These designs are filled with interesting textures and interactions with light, highlighting the vibrating essence of all objects in the room.

Click on the links below and explore more projects on TOPHOTELDESIGN. 

Oku Ibiza

Sant Antoni de Portmany, Spain
by Oku Hotels

Imagery © Georg Roske


The Greenwich Hotel

New York, United States of America
by Axel Vervoordt


La Granja

Ibiza, Spain
by Dreimeta


Sunyata Hotel Meili

Diqing, China
by Zhaoyang Architects


Casa Hormiga

Bacalar, Mexico
by TallerMid51

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