Japandi Combines Asian and Nordic Styles for a Look That is Clean, Cozy and Harmonious
Japandi combines Asian and Nordic styles for a look that’s clean, cozy and harmonious.
Thousands of miles apart geographically, Japan and Scandinavia have their own distinct histories, cultures and sensibilities. But when it comes to design, these relatively small corners of the world have a lot in common. They both value simplicity over decoration, a love of natural materials and a deep respect for artisans and fine craftsmanship.
Recently, a fusion of the two styles has taken hold. Known as “Japandi,” this hot trend takes the minimalist, functional appeal of midcentury Danish design and merges it with subdued colors and a simple Zen aesthetic. Aspects of “hygge” (the Nordic term for a homey feeling of contentment) harmonize with “wabi-sabi” (an ancient Eastern approach that finds beauty in imperfection and the passage of time) to create a stress-free environment in which to truly unwind.
Also known as Scandinese or Japanordic, Japandi focuses on curating rooms filled with items that are timeless, elegant and above all, serviceable. Natural materials—such as raw woods, cork, terra cotta, stone and even high-quality papers—and toned-down hues—including soft beiges, watered-down grays and delicate eggshell whites—are layered with handmade artisanal accessories, textured rugs, sleek black accent pieces and live greenery. Restraint and function are key, and each piece of furniture and artwork is carefully selected and valued for its quality and workmanship.
The end result is as much an interior design style as it is a philosophy. It’s a new way of thinking that honors authenticity, embraces living simply and produces inviting snugness that’s on-trend for the coming year.
According to Japanese beliefs, sleeping close to the earth helps you recharge your energies. You’ll wake feeling refreshed after a night on the low-profile Asher Bed, which features a slatted platform that sits 7 inches above the ground. Choose from full, queen, king or California king in ash or walnut veneer. $1,749-$1,999 (roveconcepts.com)
The bold brush strokes of “Non Ordinary Grey” by Mesa-based artist Hector Llamas recall the style of Japanese ink painting, or “sumi-e.” The mixed-media work’s striking monochromatic palette pairs well with the soft, neutral wall colors and natural wood furnishings found in both Scandinavian and Asian interiors. 54″H by 42″W. $3,700 (thinkfineart.com)
The Haptic Home
With a slatted surface inspired by traditional tsuge combs, the Kam Coffee Table by Chris Liljenberg Halstrøm adds textural richness to any seating arrangement. Available in oak or walnut. 13.77″H by 40.62″W by 33.38″D. $2,695 (dwr.com)
The fine craftsmanship revered in Japanese culture combines with a classic Danish design in L. Ercolani’s Reprise Chair. A single steam-bent piece of wood holds the legs in place, while graceful spindles lend an airy lightness of form. Five ash finishes come with a nude hide seat, while walnut chairs feature black leather. 26.75″H by 28″W by 26.5″D. $2,995 (hivemodern.com)
Decorative accents should be artisanal and functional, such as this wheel-thrown stoneware vessel from Brooklyn, New York-based designer MQuan. The hand-painted vase displays matte black and glazed white circles that are evocative of Swedish painter Hilma af Klint’s motifs. 8″H by 5.5″ in diameter. $290 (nowornever.shop)
Hand-tufted golden semicircles intermingle with parallel lines in two raw wool hues on the Ply Yellow area rug by MUT Design Studio. Mimicking the soothing and hypnotic ambience of the carefully raked sand of a Zen garden, the mesmerizing composition provides great visual impact. 120″L by 82″W. $4,060 (shop.gan-rugs.com)
Bring comfort and tranquility to the outdoors with sustainably sourced teak seating by Phoenix-based Neighbor. The plush Sunbrella cushions can withstand the Valley’s damaging sun, while the simple wood frame harmonizes with the natural surroundings. Shown: The Loveseat, 28″H by 66″W by 31″D, $1,500. (hineighbor.com)
Setting the Table
Contrast, simplicity and quality are essential elements of Japandi design. Made in Tucson of lead-free, chip-resistant ceramic, HF Coors’ Matte Black dinnerware not only brings depth and understated elegance to any meal, but it’s also durable enough to last for years. Prices range from $26 for a 40-ounce serving bowl to $293 for a 16-piece set. Shown: 3-piece place setting for $58. (hfcoors.com)
Keeping it Simple
Less is more with the Linear Wood Pendant. An integrated LED light provides ample illumination, while the slim walnut frame displays antique brass accents for midcentury appeal. 42″W by 4″ in diameter. $399 (westelm.com)
New Mexico-based artist Douglas Jones combines fine woodworking with fire processes evolved from the Japanese technique of “shou sugi ban,” which preserves wood by charring it. The result is a rich surface of complex color, texture and pattern. The Ninth Chair, a collaboration with Carrie Mouck Compton, is crafted of alder and scorched end-grain white oak. 40″H by 20″W by 21”D. $3,500 (randomorbitstudio.com)
Form and Function
Taking design cues from Adrian Pearsall’s iconic midcentury furnishings, the Plateau Sofa showcases leather cushions that float on a solid oak platform. The linear silhouette is fresh, modern and minimalist. Available in three shades of earth-toned upholstery; shown: charcoal. 26″H by 102″L by 33.5″D. $3,099 (crateandbarrel.com)