17 Appealing Simple Modern House Design

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From Buddhist Sand Gardens to Modern Minimalism: The Enduring Influence of Japanese Zen Design © La Carmina Japan’s Zen aesthetic has endured over the centuries and continues to influence modern architects and designers.

17 Attractive Simple Modern House Design – Above: The Banryutei rock garden (the largest in Japan) at Kongobuji Temple in Koyasan, Japan, constructed in 1593 by the daimyo Hideyoshi.

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Zen Buddhism is the direct insight into the nature of the thoughts and truth of emptiness: When we let go of our ingrained concepts of a fixed self, the belief goes, there is“no thing” to be identified. Given that the 12th century, Japanese designers have conveyed this understanding via sparse temples and abstract sand gardens, components which continue to influence design (in Japan and about the world) now.

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Japan’s Zen aesthetic has made a tremendous effect worldwide, especially on the modern minimalist movement that started in the mid 20th century and continues to flourish. In the words of Joseph Yuen, an architect from Hong Kong who has specialized in the style considering that the 1970s,“Zen is marked by simplicity and equilibrium, yet the effect is profound. The visual‘nothingness’ brings about a self-realization that cannot be put into words.” Origins of Japanese Zen Design

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Legend has it that the Indian monk Bodhidharma transmitted Chan Buddhist teachings to China in 500 CE, which spread to Japan and became identified as Zen. Throughout the Kamakura period (1185–1333), Zen gained influence under the ruling shogunate as it match with the way of the samurai: acting with intuition, and facing death without worry.

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Zen’s influence in Kamakura society extended to domestic architecture. Taking inspiration from the temples, Japanese homes began to incorporate a tokonoma (alcove), shoin (study or drawing room), and tana (built-in shelving, usually with shoji sliding doors). In contrast to the ornamented style of other sects, Zen nurtured an appreciation for the beauty of natural, humble supplies such as irregular wood beams and tatami mats. Spaces had been kept open and uncluttered, placing the concentrate on very carefully chosen objects such as a scroll or Buddha statue. © La Carmina Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin, a historic Japanese temple that now doubles as a ryokan (inn). Guests can remain with the monks and get pleasure from hot spring baths. The Zen rock garden was produced by notable landscape architect Mirei Shigemori (1896-1975).

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In the Muromachi era (1336–1573), the Ashikaga shoguns spearheaded an artistic resurgence that supported the Zen priesthood. The capital, Kyoto, became the center of impressive temples such as Kinkaku-ji, a three-story pavilion partly covered in gold leaf that glistens under the sun. Karesansui, or rock and sand gardens, reached their zenith in the late 15thcentury with Ryoan-ji. This Zen garden sets 15 stones in groups over coarse white sand, in a purely abstract composition. The impact is deceptively simple, however invokes a deep meditation in the viewer. Modern Minimalist Zen

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Zen aesthetics strongly influenced the minimalist architecture movement that emerged in the mid 20th century. Pioneer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe summed up the philosophy in his well-known 1947 dictum:“Less is more.” Even though these modern structures normally lacked the components of a traditional Japanese home, they captured the exact same sense of austere emptiness with supplies such as concrete, steel, and glass. Contemporary architects like Britain’s John Pawson—who as soon as aspired to be a Zen monk in Japan prior to turning to design—communicate this“experience of oneness” via well-lit open spaces and stark lines. © La Carmina Tadao Ando’s Chichu Museum in Naoshima, Japan is a study in concrete types and emptiness.

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Now, three of Japan’s most revered architects carry on the Zen legacy via their futuristic visions. Shigeru Ban’s bare-bones experiments—he has built a home out of paper, and a further without walls—are what Yuen calls“a process of dismantling and rebuilding.” Kengo Kuma described his 2014“Sensing Spaces” exhibition like a koan, or Zen riddle:“The nothing is not really nothing; I wanted to show the richness of nothing through the pavilion.” Tadao Ando utilizes colossal concrete planes to play with light and space, although harmonizing with the natural surroundings. Ando’s architecture evokes the Buddha’s words in the Heart Sutra:“Form is no other than emptiness; emptiness no other than form.” Bringing Zen Into Your Home

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Yuen says cultivating a Zen-like living space is about more than stripping away color and ornamentation.“In my works, I explore the connection between spaces and the objects within them. The placement of a single bonsai tree, for example, can change the entire balance of a room,” he explains. © La Carmina The San Francisco Zen Center.

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Yuen emphasizes yohaku-no-bi, the artistic idea that finds beauty in empty space, such as the white paper in a sumi-e ink painting.“I pay attention to how both positive and negative spaces flow through each other,” he says. Rather than seeming bare, a void can make the feeling of tranquility, and may perhaps even be thought of the concentrate of a room.

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In the words of Dōgen, 13th century founder of the Sōtō college, Zen is a dynamic practice that lets us engage with life in a way that“expects nothing, seeks nothing, and grasps nothing.” Adding components of this insight to our homes can aid us be more mindful of the present, and make peace with modify as it arises.

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In the words of Dōgen, 13th century founder of the Sōtō college, Zen is a dynamic practice that lets us engage with life in a way that“expects nothing, seeks nothing, and grasps nothing.” Adding components of this insight to our homes can aid us be more mindful of the present, and make peace with modify as it arises.

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Stick to House Beautiful on Instagram.

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La Carmina is an award-winning journalist who specializes in option travel, subcultures, Japan and design. She writes for publications such as Architectural Digest and Time Magazine, and seems as an professional on TV networks such as NBC, ABC and NHK Japan. Her mid-century minimalist modern apartment, which she decorated with skull watercolors and Miffy the bunny, was featured in various magazines. See La Carmina’s adventures in more than 70 nations on her popular weblog, Instagram, and Twitter.

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