Wabi-Sabi - a Perfect Imperfect Beauty

There is a melancholic, unpretentious beauty found in imperfection which is transient, impermanent and authentic.  This beauty embraces the effects of time and humanity - this is wabi-sabi - a Japanese concept illustrated in a tactile new book (released on 5 May 2016) -  Perfect Imperfect with text by design author, Karen McCarney, and images by photographer Sharyn Cairns and New York based stylist, Glen Proebstel.

Contributors to the book include interior designers, artists, a sculptor, an architect and a photographer who pool their creative fancies and embrace beauty in the offbeat, odd and misshapen; weathered items and nature, irregularity, the unfinished and incomplete, the effects of accident, tranquility, calmness, shadows and womb-like murky colours, contrasts and simplicity with Leonard Koren’s tenet that “Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness.”

Don’t expect much colour when you pick up this book, or pristine interiors shots which embrace expected design principles. You may even find some of the images messily disturbing if you are a neat, symmetrical kind of being: especially on page 035 showing the “assemblage of books” on Nectar Efkarpidis’ living room floor, acting as a coffee table. The book’s smooth, matt pages feature interiors settings and close-up shots depicting an unconventional, disquieting charm - and that is where the fascination lies.

The wabi-sabi Perfect Imperfect philosophy is like the antidote to ‘designed’ spaces: it is where art and design come from happy accidents, intuition and originality. It is a step further than originality, an embracing of the human aesthetic in us all.  

Images courtesy of Murdoch Books