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The modern Japanese aesthetic design is based on a minimalistic approach stemming from the fact that space is a premium.
If you have lived in a small space, you understand that with just a few items scattered around the room, it looks messy.  This is because with a limited area, the focus becomes more intense.  Therefore, compared to a large space, each item in the room carries a heavier weight and becomes a stronger statement.  If you can imagine having only one thing in a space, you will make sure that one thing is special to you.

This lack of space also begins to dictate why even today, contemporary Japanese design remains influenced by the old Japanese aesthetic of keeping lines clean and simple.
In a kitchen, unlike Western traditional cabinets, tansu designs are very rectilinear with little carving.   Instead, embellishments are through the placement and repetition of wood and the iron hardware.
As you can see, this Japanese mizuya dansu, kitchen cabinet, shows the strong influence of geometric shapes that are accented with the hardware. The dark metal against the medium colored wood accentuates both materials, giving it depth and warmth.  Tansu can range in price, but are heirloom pieces that can be passed down generations because generally they were built by hand with extreme care and skill.  Even today, a man-made vs. machine made tansu varies tremendously.  A real handmade tansu can cost a premium and  is considered a piece of art.  These traditional woodcrafters who preserve these ancient Japanese traditions are well respected members of society.


Unfortunately, many of us are unable to incorporate traditional tansu in our kitchens. But, some of us who enjoy a Japanese aesthetic do have a tansu or two in our home.  With some Asian influence in our interior space, it’s always good to try and keep a cohesive design throughout the whole house.  That doesn’t mean everything in the home must be Asian.  It means keeping the overall colors and scheme cohesive.  In Form School feng shui, Master Hsu always reiterates;  keep the structure and design cohesive between all the spaces.  This will allow the home to feel connected and the people in the space will connect as well.

Ted Boerner hardware

So how do we incorporate this into our homes of today? Although we may not be able to use tansu in our kitchen, we can achieve an Asian aesthetic with your kitchen cabinets, or any other type of door.  To do this, it’s important to think about form and material. An excellent hardware match for the Japanese aesthetic is from Rocky Mountain Hardware and it’s from their Ted Boerner line.  The organic shape, the metal finish and the simple lines reminds me of ancient Japanese hardware, with a slight modern twist.  Good design doesn’t really need explanation and there are no “extra” pieces to explain.  From a Form School feng shui perspective, this also means a timeless design.  You never get tired of it, so there is no need to have it replaced which resonates with being green. 

I can imagine these pulls on a big black front door.  Very contemporary and I find quite Asian!  What do you think?  Can you picture these on your cabinets and doors?

1 thought on “Modern Hardware that Matches a Japanese Aesthetic”

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