Reimagining the modern interior through the lens of a unique 500-year-old Japanese artform
As we adapt to today’s new reality following the onset of the global pandemic, the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi offers several aesthetic and philosophical insights that, if properly embraced, promise to equip us with the resilient mindset required to move forward to a more hopeful horizon.
When viewing life and its meaning through the lens of Kintsugi – the literal translation of the word in the English language being “to join with gold”- we benefit from the understanding that just because something is broken, it does not necessarily follow that it has reached the end of its useful life. Instead, we can literally pick up the pieces, reconfigure and recreate. By opting to repair what is broken, the opportunity arises to create something more beautiful and stronger than it was in its previous form. And, in doing so, we reframe our understanding of what constitutes ‘imperfection’ whilst opening our eyes to the appreciation of beauty in its myriad forms.
A Brief History of Kintsugi
Kintsugi was born over 500 years ago when Ashikaga Yoshimasa, a 15th-century shogun, broke his most treasured tea bowl. The valuable item was sent to China to be repaired and, as per the custom of the time, returned stapled together with metal pins. Displeased with the unsightly result, Yoshimasa tasked local craftsmen to find a more aesthetically-pleasing solution. The innovative artisans painstakingly pieced together the various pieces of the tea bowl, bonding each section with sap from an indigenous Japanese tree mixed with powered gold. Upon being presented with the reconfigured tea bowl, which was now distinguished by a delicate network of shimmering gold running through its form, the delighted shogun proclaimed the new technique as an art form. Over time, the Kintsugi technique evolved from fine gold seams more substantial missing pieces being recreated using the same gold-hued compound. Another method, termed ‘Joint Call’, fills in gaps by using one or more fragments from other objects for a subtle yet stunning patchwork effect.
Get The Look
Fioranese’s new premium tile collection is inspired by, and named for, the art of Kintsugi. A high-quality design that reinterprets this ancient artform for the 21st century, the collection features three distinct styles that pay homage to the Kintsugi tradition. With a harmonious colour palette, Kintsugi is available in two sizes – 160.4 x 60.4cm and 20.8 x 60.4cm – to facilitate the creation of distinct and unique effects.
The grits and glazes overlap to create contrast and accentuate the glimmer of the metallic embellishment, which opens a new dialogue for contemporary living.
Regional Export Manager, Fioranese
Renewed Beauty, Renewed Optimism
In the ‘new normal’ catalysed by the pandemic, the art of kintsugi works as an apt metaphor. Just as renewed strength and beauty can be found in reconfigured ceramic forms, our fractured socio-economic structures also have the potential to be reshaped into more robust, sustainable frameworks – offering a glimmer of hope for more positive horizons ahead.
Indeed, a more optimistic outlook overall is shaping the interior design trajectory with pops of colour in mood-boosting hues starting to burst through: read all about it in The Power of Colour.