Inspirational Design

I recently purchased the book Wabi Inspirations by Axel Vervoordt. It’s a beautiful book, full of soothing photographs of Axel’s art and philosophy. His philosophy mirrors wabi sabi. A Japanese approach to design. It is beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. If an object can bring about within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing then that object could be wabi sabi.

His designs are both simple and sophisticated. They are calming and welcoming. There is a balance of form and color without overpowering features. There is no clutter. There is an absence of self-indulgence. There is harmony in how objects are placed, how nature is used, how light is absent and found. In his architecture he reinforces the character and core elements of the original structures. It is natural and down to earth. Yet it has an understated elegance. It is authentic and pure, with purpose.

In looking at the pictures of his places you can easily imagine yourself there. It is reassuring, calming and tranquil. I was first drawn to all the natural elements. The grains in the wood and the beauty of age and patina is the subtle magic of time. It shows that nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. Wabi instills the loneliness of living in nature. You can feel a detachment from the pressures of daily life in his spaces.

I often go to my country home and farm for repose and refueling. It soothes the soul. Do you have a soothing space you go to rejuvenate? What are your favorite spaces?

“You must learn to be still in the midst of activity. And to be vibrantly alive in repose.”
Indira Gandhi

“Space is the breath of art.”
Frank Lloyd Wright

Useful or Beautiful?

It’s New Year’s Resolutions time, and each year I wish for a slightly less chaotic life. I love my very busy life; but it could use some organizational help sometimes. I love to organize, but I’m not always sure how to go about it.

One rule I stumbled upon I’ve taken to heart, a quote from William Morris,

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

All New Year’s weekend I was evaluating my Christmas decorations:

  • Ornament hooks: Useful.
  • Crate and Barrel tea light candle holders: Useful and Beautiful.
  • Cartoony snowman picture frame missing the glass: Neither useful nor beautiful.

I’ve now been inspired to evaluate my workspace. The Advil Liqui-Gels box with 100 capsules is not particularly beautiful, but if a tight deadline comes along, it is very useful. It stays. The 8 ½ x 11 frame with a photo of my son? Beautiful. It stays, too. The dried-out non-Sharpie pen gets thrown away.

I know I’m much happier with a fun, inspiring workspace—for example, polka dot push pins just make my day better. (Although, in my opinion, polka dots make everything better.)

Enjoy the images of pretty workspaces that inspire me—how do you evaluate your workspace? What makes a good work environment for you?

I really love the circles going on here.

Look at all the colored storage boxes!

Color really makes a difference.

I really love office supplies, and tend to stockpile them. These stenciled office supplies make my heart flutter.