|1. EASTERN INFLUENCES ON WESTERN
INTERIORS: JAPANESE DECOR
The topic of eastern influences on western interiors is a very broad one. Many countries,
such as China, Japan, Tibet, etc., have had an effect. Therefore, I have chosen to focus
on one country for this tip, Japan. Other eastern countries could, and may be, topics for
future newsletters. Each has its own unique culture and characteristics, and therefore
CHARACTERISTICS OF JAPANESE INTERIORS
Japanese interiors generally use neutral, natural colors, to
provide a simple background. Interiors emphasize architecture, and as a result, provide a
sense of geometric order. In addition, natural colors minimize a feeling of clutter, which
is also essential to eastern design and its philosophy of simplicity. When a statement is
made in a Japanese interior, it is usually through a single strong exclamation of color or
a predominant texture.
Eastern art colors are pure. Unlike western art, which mixes
color and refines sketches, eastern art is original. This means the initial color and/or
brush stroke is the final result. Western art is often complex, whereas eastern art is
simple, strong, and graphic.
Black is often considered a "non-color" in our society,
yet, it is very important in eastern interiors. The use of black in oriental rooms lends
definition and form. For example, black is a color in its own right, when used with white
rice paper in a shoji screen.
*TEXTURE & CONTRAST:
Some Japanese textures and materials that immediately come to
mind are cedar, rice paper, maple, bamboo, stone, and woven wicker. One might also think
of textured silk, tatami floor mats, and the elaborate needlework of kimonos and
Japanese culture seeks to balance opposites in all aspects of
life (yin and yang), and interiors are no exception. Interior finishes can be highly
opposing and contrasting, and yet achieve balance. Examples are, highly polished floors
with heavily textured mats, a lacquered box displayed on top of a rough wooden table, or
white pebbles on a polished black granite ledge around a tub.
These striking dessert plates boast a
traditional Japanese peony design known as karakusa.