February 16, 2021
Search for "Japanese zen style" and your feed is likely to be filled with images of sparse interiors and meticulously raked gravel gardens. But the essence of zen style goes far beyond minimalist white spaces. It is about thoughtful spaces which encourage the contemplation of light, colours, textures and shapes - the building blocks of nature and beauty. The Shutter House in Perth is a great example of this contemporary zen style.
The Shutter House is designed by multi-disciplinary design practice State of Kin for a client with deep appreciation for Japanese architecture. The Japanese inspiration is most clearly seen in the wooden slatted facade of the building. These are in fact shutters which tilt open to reveal deep verandah style balconies, a clever design which offers privacy as well as ventilation and delicately filtered light. There are secluded courtyards and shaded terraces on the lower floors of this three-storey building, culminating in an exuberant pool deck and outdoor dining area on the top floor.
The interior is full of visual interest. There is a wealth of harmoniously contrasting textures, from the marble island in the kitchen to the dark oak parquet floors and richly textured rugs. The latter, many in striking geometric shapes, bring in splashes of colour which echo the vibrant abstract paintings on the walls. In fact, colour is used to enliven the senses to great effect throughout. For example, the walls and floor of the main bathroom are covered in white square tiles, an otherwise bland and clinical look which is brought to life by the use of dark red grouting, with the ceiling painted in a matching shade to boot.
The furniture, mostly designed by Patricia Urquiola, have a sculptural quality which beckons your consideration without screaming for attention. We particularly like the curvaceous Gogan sofa, inspired by pebbles worn smooth by the flow of water that are often found in Japanese ornamental gardens, the sumptuously upholstered Redondo bed, the intriguingly asymmetric Fjord armchair and the colourful Mathilda dining chairs.
Taken as a whole, the seamless indoor-outdoor living, profusion of light and colour as well as the pervasive vibe of upbeat optimism cannot be more Australian; but the highly considered design and appreciation of details makes clear the spirit of zen is the true essence of this house.
Take inspiration from the Shutter House with a selection of furniture designed by Patricia Urquiola, from the Gogan sofa for Moroso to the Burin dining table for Viccarbe and the Sisters coffee table for Coedition.
Go for refined, elegant lighting with a sculptural vibe, such as the Black Note Triplet suspension light from LZF, the Sorry Giotto floor light from Catellani & Smith and the T-Lamp table light from Frama.
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