Liv­ing Neale Whi­taker ex­plains the Ja­pandi trend.

An el­e­gant new in­te­rior trend sees Ja­panese de­sign fused with Scan­di­na­vian style

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Neale Whi­taker is edi­tor-at-large of Vogue Liv­ing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of Sticks and Wom­bat, the lov­able lar­rikins on the cur­rent sea­son of The Block. They’ve got great ideas, they lis­ten to the judges’ ad­vice – and they’re hi­lar­i­ous. But let’s be hon­est, the liv­ing/ din­ing room they de­liv­ered in this se­ries was a bit of a turkey. I can’t re­mem­ber my ex­act words, but the gist was that the room didn’t know if it was a Ja­panese ryokan – those guys love a bon­sai – or a Scan­dus­trial (an­other Block- ism) ware­house.

The room was a fail, but as fel­low judge Darren Palmer pointed out at the time, the pair had in­ad­ver­tently hit on one of in­te­rior de­sign’s hottest trends – Ja­pandi.

The fu­sion of Ja­panese and Scandi forms a clum­sysound­ing ad­jec­tive that be­lies its ele­gance, but it’s a look that’s get­ting a lot of at­ten­tion. The Ja­panese twist adds in­ter­est to the Scan­di­na­vian vibe we love so much, while the Scandi notes up­date tra­di­tional Ja­panese style. Both share a love of func­tion and re­straint, of nat­u­ral materials and tex­tures – es­pe­cially wood – and of muted colours. Both styles re­spect the ar­ti­san and re­ject the con­spic­u­ous.

There are par­al­lels too be­tween the Dan­ish con­cept of hygge (well­be­ing) and the lesser known Ja­panese wabi-sabi (per­fect im­per­fec­tion) and takumi (crafts­man­ship). Think of a Sori Yanagi stool or a Hans Weg­ner chair. De­signs of a sim­i­lar age from op­po­site sides of the world that are time­less in their ap­peal.

Vogue Liv­ing was among the first to spot the Ja­pandi trend. The mag­a­zine’s stylist Joseph Gard­ner demon­strated sym­me­try be­tween the two styles by cre­at­ing im­ages that were Ja­panese in flavour, yet us­ing mostly Scan­di­na­vian fur­ni­ture and home­wares.

“The two aes­thet­ics com­ple­ment each other so well be­cause both are cen­tred around sim­plic­ity, hon­esty and func­tion­al­ity,” Gard­ner says.

For me, it was a re­cent In­sta­gram post by Aus­tralian brand Ar­madillo & Co (ar­ that re­ally il­lus­trated the beauty of Ja­pandi. The com­pany’s Nala rug (which I’d pre­vi­ously filed in my mind un­der Moroc­can) was sim­ply styled with Ja­panese and Scan­di­na­vian fur­nish­ings.

“It’s a per­fect part­ner­ship,” says Sally Pot­tharst, co-founder and di­rec­tor of Ar­madillo & Co. “The clar­ity of de­sign and au­then­tic­ity com­ple­ment each other so well and work beau­ti­fully in con­tem­po­rary in­te­ri­ors.”

Ex­actly what Sticks and Wom­bat were think­ing – in­ad­ver­tently, of course.

“They com­ple­ment each other due to sim­plic­ity, hon­esty and func­tion­al­ity”

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS (from top) Vogue Liv­ing stylist Joseph Gard­ner’s take on the Ja­pandi trend, a blend­ing of un­der­stated Ja­panese and Scan­di­na­vian aes­thet­ics; Hans Weg­ner’s wo­ven CH22 chair, re-cre­ated by Carl Hansen & Søn; el­e­gant de­tail from the...

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