What Makes Japandi Interior Designing So Special?

Japandi style is everywhere right now. It is a style of interior design that combines Japanese and Scandinavian ideas. Even though the portmanteau has been around since 2016, its popularity has grown in recent years. But just what is it? Why has it been so popular for so long?

To understand Japandi, you should first learn about the two cultures it combines. Scandinavian design as we know it today, which includes the countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, is characterized by clean, simple lines and a focus on function without sacrificing beauty. The gallery manager of Sigmar, Kurt Kovacs Braidley, told Refinery29 that it is defined by “the use of both traditional and innovative manufacturing techniques; the use of more organic or familiar and essential forms; and an empathy with natural materials.”

Some people think that modern Japanese design is “the best example of minimalism in the world today” because it uses natural materials, low furniture, and neutral colors. It makes sense for these two styles to come together since they both value simplicity and craftsmanship and bring out interesting but calming features in each other’s textures and tones.

Japandi brings together the way that both cultures use natural materials, simplicity, and handicrafts. Gemma Riberti, head of interiors at trend forecaster WGSN, and Lisa White, director of interiors at WGSN, say that the use of pale woods as the base material and the focus on light and airy spaces create a space where the two color schemes can work together. With Japandi, they told R29, “a calm muted palette of pastel and cool colors from Scandinavia is used to soften the hard surfaces, which are contrasted with darker stained timbers, stone, and indigo elements from the Japanese style.” “Both cultures contribute to the values that Japandi follows, which are soft and simple,” they say. “[Japandi] mixes and blends these colors to make dramatic contrasts while keeping the work in balance.”
Japandi’s aesthetic meeting point also includes the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi, which is about finding beauty in simplicity and change, and the Danish idea of hygge, which is about finding comfort in life’s simpler pleasures.

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Even though the word “Japandi” isn’t that old, the two cultures have been linked for a long time. According to Architectural Digest, the mixing of styles began in the late 1800s, when Danish designers and artists were finally allowed to travel to Japan after 220 years of closed borders. The ad says, “You can see early signs of this style in ceramics, architecture, and Danish furniture.”

The two design styles collided again at the start of the modernist era in the twentieth century. Danish designer Nina Tolstrup of StudioMama told the BBC in 2019: “I really recognize that there’s this connection between the two places.” She was talking about the link between classic modernist pieces from 1950s Scandinavia and pieces made at the same time by Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi and Japanese modernist designer Isamu Kenmochi.

These two ways of designing are popular outside of their native areas because they focus on making spaces that are calm and well-organized but also leave room for people to show their creativity. The considered tactility of Japanese references warms up and softens the cool parts of a Scandinavian room. Most importantly, it has a soul. Gemma and Lisa said, “It is very important to note that this direction is the opposite of cold minimalism: it is warm to the touch and the eye, it begs to be lived in, and it feels friendly instead of distant.”

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this kind of design is so popular now. After having to make peace with our clutter and look for new ways to bring happiness into our homes, it’s interesting to think about making a space that feels simple, functional, and full of heart. Jen Hore, Brand and Social Lead at Trouva, an online store that sells items from independent boutiques, told R29 that customers now want interiors that both inspire and relax them. “Last year, there was a big shift toward bright, bold, and clashing colors in home goods. This has been getting less and less popular for a while now, as people prefer home goods made from natural materials and in a range of neutral colors.”

“The Japandi trend is still going strong because it mixes two styles, which gives flexibility and is less conformist for those who don’t want to go too far in one direction,” says Sam Hood, co-founder and chief creative director of luxury homeware store AMARA. ” Japandi is a great way to add depth to a neutral color scheme or calm down a space that’s too busy. It’s also a great way to get a taste of design from both Japan and the United States.

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