In these hectic and stressful days of modern living, we are increasingly looking for ways to create our own peaceful oasis where, far from the madding crowd, we can unwind and regain moments of serenity and sanity.

Through the years, this search for peace has led architects and designers to the rural far east, where a natural harmony, balance and simplicity in these oriental homes reigns.

The two main keys to zen are simplicity and serenity. These imply the paring down of a cluttered environment and concentration in creating harmony, balance, touch and texture.

By achieving these key factors, we can create a place where the spiritual and psychological needs to regain peace of mind can be reached, a space where we can indulge in calming or stimulating the senses through colour, light, space and a free flow of positive energy.

Balance is a most important factor in zen design and lifestyle. Achieving the right balance will lead to harmony and tranquillity. The composition of materials used and the different textures need to be balanced out by the appropriate amount and position of light. The attention to detail and to the pieces used in the said spaces contributes to creating a more harmonious space.

The philosophy of zen follows the idea that the human brain can become burdened with possessions and clutter, and therefore furniture and fittings are to be rationalised and limited.

Storage space is created in a way that everything has its own place to be put away, releasing us from clutter and confusion and creating a sense of tranquil and calming atmosphere, where we can get on with our daily tasks of cooking, eating, bathing, reading and sleeping without much hindrance and in a safe space.

The use of minimalism and the purity of form and function are of utmost importance in the zen culture which originated in 563BC. The factors of zen have appealed to countless leading architects and designers around the world. As early as the 1900s, the great architect Mies van der Rohe applied zen in his designs and coined the phrase “less is more”.

The zen approach can be adapted to suit not only our homes but all the environments we dwell in, including our offices or work places, restaurants and retail outlets. The calm and tranquil atmosphere created can help our hectic lives to reach a more holistic approach towards life itself, accomplishing more comfort and serenity in our everyday life.


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