Design Principles – 3. Ma (Space)

Today, we are going to explore the third principle of our series, ‘The Japanese Art of a Calm & Balanced Home’ – Ma (Space). In Japanese, ‘Ma’ translates to ‘internal’ or ‘space’, where the abundance of empty space is celebrated, reflecting how one’s mind should be when meditating.

In Western design, we often perceive objects as ‘positive’ and empty space as ‘negative’, but in Japan, it’s the opposite. In zen gardens, the space (ma) is considered a positive element, while boundary objects are used merely to shape it.

Embracing this concept, we’ve curated some of our projects where we thoughtfully employed Ma to create tranquil spaces:

1. Embracing Materials

In the ‘Serene Design Vocabulary‘ project, we celebrated the beauty of original salvaged bricks by creating a stunning wall with carefully positioned lighting and plants. Keeping the space intentionally uncluttered highlights the materiality of the bricks.

2. Uncluttered Sanctuary

The ‘Jewel Box Suite‘ bedroom, designed for a busy lawyer and mother of two boys, exudes calmness with its uncluttered approach. Wall-to-wall built-in headboards and strategic pendant lights preserve the open space above the bed, fostering a serene retreat.

3. Textured Serenity

Our newest project, ‘Essence of Japan,’ beautifully embraces lime-washed paints and oak materials throughout. This landing space exemplifies how emptiness can be far from boring, creating a serene and meditative home.

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