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Wabi Sabi and Kintsugi techniques and how they complement each other

Techniques that came from Japan and that today have become a new philosophy of life.

When we speak of Japanese culture, we are referring to a culture with a high sense of spirituality. When we speak of Wabi sabi and Kintsugi, we describe two aesthetic expressions with a deeper sense than that of being a simple decorative gesture.

What’s the Kintsugi?

Kintsugi is a technique of Japanese origin that is used to repair fractures of ceramics, using a resin varnish called Urushi, or a mixture of gold powder, silver or platinum.

“Gold carpentry” or “gold repair”, as some translate it, dates back to the late fifteenth century when Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent two of his Chawanes (bowls for the tea ceremony) to China for repair. The bowls returned with unsightly metal staples, which made them coarse and unpleasant to the eye. As a result, he had Japanese craftsmen do a better repair. They found a new way of repairing ceramics that became art.

The art of repairing ceramics is part of a philosophy of life, which states that breakages and repairs are part of the history of the object and have to be shown rather than hidden.

Instead of throwing this broken object in the garbage, it is restored and it is achieved, that after this transformation, it looks stronger again. Now it has become the strongest part of the piece, instead of being the most fragile.

The Kintsugi helps to maintain the entire history of that object. It beautifies the scars and increases their value. Getting it to be appreciated more than before it is repaired.

tecnica kintsugi con oro Kintsugi Photo by Myriam Greff
bol reparado con la tecnica kintsugi Kintsugi Photo by Myriam Greff
escultura utilizando tecnica kintsugi Kintsugi Photo by Myriam Greff

What is the relationship between Wabi sabi and Kintsugi?

When comparing the Wabi sabi and Hygge style in the previous post, we saw that despite coming from two different cultures they shared the same philosophy.

If we compare the Wabi sabi style and the Kintsugi we get the same thing. We understand that both come from the same culture and that they were born from the philosophy of life that proposes to move away from the search for perfection.

The Wabi sabi style, together with the term Kintsugi, consists of finding beauty in imperfection and appreciating the trace of the deterioration of time.

They make the true value of an object lie not only in its external beauty, but in the history behind it.

Wabi Sabi and Kintsugi in decoration

When the broken is better than the original, it is a concept that in the West is difficult to understand.  Although little by little, it is gaining ground. It no longer seems so strange to see imperfect objects and we even appreciate their value.

Taken to the field of decoration, by incorporating the Wabi sabi style in your home, knowing that it goes along with the term Kintsugi, you are getting the environments to breathe these philosophies of life.  This concept of a unique object is left behind, where only the value of these terms can be appreciated.


Due to this change, a new way of creating interior design projects Wabi sabi is born. Homes become our philosophy of life. Objects that provide the Kintsugi technique are merged with more minimalist products and interior spaces that absorb the essence of the place.

Taken to a more personal and psychological point, they help us to face any obstacle and overcome adversities, like Kintsugi art does in broken objects.

It should be noted that the artisanal method of repairing fissures or cracks is not exclusive to ceramics. There are pieces of wood that have been repaired with another piece of wood or with something metallic. Adding more value to this object than before it was repaired.

In architect Sergey Makhno’s Wabi Sabi apartment, you can appreciate the art of kintsugi in one of his pieces of furniture.

To conclude, we make a reflection and come to the conclusion that decorative objects are not the only ones that suffer breakages and fissures. Being aware that there is always a way to fix them and make them stronger.

tecnica kintsugi en madera Photo by Sergey Makhno

The world breaks us all, and then some become stronger in the broken parts.

– Ernest Hemingway –

There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light comes in.

― Leonard Cohen

Photography: kintsugi by Myriam Greff.

Photography: Sergey Makhno Architects.