Design Philosophies

Find strength and wellness in Kintsugi, the Japanese art of ‘Broken Beautiful’

April 3, 2020

Most of us are going through challenging times right now as we try to live and work through great uncertainty. Many businesses don’t have the liquidity to tide them over and are struggling to survive. When I wake up each morning, I thus like to remind myself that each new day is one day closer to when the worst of this pandemic will be over, and we can start to return to a more normal way of living.

We will then be given the opportunity to pick up the pieces and make what we can of what is left – perhaps refashioning our lives and businesses in a new way. We don’t have to go back to exactly what or how we were before.

I was recently sent a beautiful video of a man describing how when a bowl breaks in Japan they piece it back together, filling the cracks with gold to create beautiful new lines.

This practice, called Kintsugi, is to emphasise the beauty of what was once broken. In Japanese culture, when something has suffered damage and has a history, it is believed to become more beautiful. The same goes for us as human beings. Our sufferings and the pain we go through – even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time – ultimately can make us stronger and more beautiful when we pick ourselves up and go on.

Watch Video

This period we’re going through now is ideal for reflection, for studying what we have around us, for thinking about what is important and what we would like to improve. As an interior designer, I naturally look towards my interiors and the pieces around me. I am still working and getting samples sent to me at home, so even though site visits might not be possible, I can keep on crafting beautiful interiors – preparing the designs, fixtures, fittings and furnishings.

Kintsugi is the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver joining the pieces and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Reflecting again on the video, and the difficulties many of us are going through, particularly loss of income, it’s helpful to realise that there is a lot we can do with what we already have. Rooms can be reimagined and spruced up, old pieces of furniture reupholstered and, both literally and figuratively – broken bowls glued back together with gold.

I hope this Journal has inspired you to not only think about how repairing, restoring or upcycling old furniture or pieces in your home can make them more beautiful, but also to consider how you can use this difficult experience to reimagine the way you live and work. What are the opportunities?

If you would like to know more about Kintsugi follow this link