Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm sure by this point you're all aware of the devastating natural disaster that took place in Japan two weeks ago. With loved ones trying to get back to the U.S. and thinking of the natives beginning to repair their broken cities with the overwhelming statistics increasing daily, it's been heavy on my heart and my mind.
(traditional japanese brush painting interpreting the four seasons)
This is predicted to be the most expensive natural disaster in history,
estimated to cost up to 310 billion dollars. I felt this would be an appropriate time to discuss the important role that the Japanese have played in the evolution of modern interior design. Before Asian influence, wealth and status was expressed through abundance and extravagance. Rich textures, patterns and colors covered intricate and embellished furniture.
With the rich culture and inspiring attitude towards life, Japan brought their take on sophisticated design. Understated and flexible rooms, simplistic with natural colors and materials, they taught us that a room can be chic without being arrogant. Confident in its simplicity, Japanese design is all about minimalism and functionality.
Traditional Japanese homes generally include sliding partitions to make rooms more flexible with the possibility of more privacy or open space as needed. Furniture, particularly tables, are traditionally low to the ground with family members sitting down to meals on cushions rather than chairs and the walls and/or partitions are sometimes adorned with the difficult and beautiful art of Japanese brush painting.
Japanese culture is inspiring in so many ways, not merely their ancient yet innovative design techniques. The people there are facing an uncertain future and a long and difficult rebuilding process. Many would like to help, but don't know where to start or where their money and efforts will really be properly utilized. The American Red Cross is a great place to donate money that will directly aid those in Japan; also, here are a number Bay Area businesses trying to help and ways that you can too just by just participating.