September 7, 2023

Timber in Japandi Design and Architecture

Written by Fay Mircio

The Organic Serenity of Japandi and Timber


In Japan, the aesthetic and philosophy of ‘wabi-sabi’ revolves around recognising and appreciating the innate beauty of natural imperfections and renouncing materialism in favour of spiritual comfort, not only in architecture, but in life as a whole. 

In Scandinavia, ‘hygge’ is all about creating minimalistic, harmonious interiors through the use of muted, earthy colours and natural textures, fostering tranquillity and togetherness. 

In architecture, Japandi is the result of the symbiotic union between wabi-sabi and hygge principles, as both philosophies favour minimalism and the use of natural materials such as timber to create a sense of serenity and connection across all living spaces. 


Japandi’s Origins in Timber 


While it has recently become one of the most popular topics across design publications, the relationship between Japanese and Scandinavian architecture can be traced all the way back to the 1860s, as Japan had just reopened its borders to the West and Scandinavian designers began visiting the island. 

The wabi-sabi philosophy immediately resonated with the Scandinavian creatives, who consequently incorporated its principles into hygge. 

As Scandinavia and Japan both benefit from abundant forests, the natural warmth of timber has been at the core of wabi-sabi and hygge architecture from the very beginning, and the same goes for modern Japandi. 


Jenna Peffley

Japandi Interiors


The main purpose of Japandi architecture is emphasising comfort by creating a seamless connection with nature across all living spaces. This is seen in the use of mixed natural materials and earthy colour palettes, as well as oversized timber windows and sliding doors to bring the outside in. 

Thanks to neutral, muted toned interiors, the eye is naturally drawn to the vibrant outside views as timber picture windows and sliding doors connect the indoor spaces to their surrounding landscaping, allowing plenty of light to permeate the interiors and creating a soothing atmosphere. 

Within the indoor living spaces, Japandi design evokes a sense of unity and togetherness through the use of timber partitions and louvred walls as they provide a subtle yet effective spatial separation without cluttering the minimalist flow of the overall design.


Jenna Peffley


Gieves Anderson

Japandi Exteriors


Predominantly inspired by traditional Japanese architecture, Japandi exteriors often feature vertical timber batten facades made to match other outdoor woodwork elements such as garden decking and pergolas, achieving a cohesive atmospere throughout the outdoor spaces and infusing the structure with character and personality, as well as providing additional shading and privacy when needed. 


Jenna Peffley



Alex Zarour

Contact the Avino team today to discuss your next Japandi inspired project.