The clients, a family couple, both knew and loved Japanese culture, had lived in Japan and other countries for many years. Finally, they found a flat in Moscow, which they planned to make their main home, but they wanted the interior to be in Japanese style and designed exclusively by a Japanese designer to guarantee authenticity.

The challenge was to make a Japanese interior without falling for stereotypes and clichés like those that you can see in a chain restaurant, and also make it comfortable for living in Russia. The basic concept for this project was a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, usually a place for a secluded getaway for a few guests. Ryokans are often located in hot springs resorts or the most spectacular locations, they offer excellent service and are also a great place to relax your body and mind.

Right at the front door, the living space is segregated by a dark stone flooring. This recessed area is genkan, it helps contain any dirt that is tracked in from the outside. All entrance areas in Japanese homes are organised in this way, from a private house to a flat in a skyscraper. A dimly-lit corridor leads to the residential part of the property. Two niches are reserved for kimonos from the owner’s collection, their walls are covered with fabric similar to kimono fabric to emphasise the value of the collection.

A small garden with live plants and rocks is arranged under the stairs leading to the roof terrace as a reference to nakaniwa, a traditional Japanese small interior or courtyard garden. There is usually no access to nakaniwa from outside, so it is a secret for everyone except those living in the house. The corridor takes us to the master bedroom with a spacious lounge. The designer used the shape of a Japanese andon lantern as a design inspiration for the sleeping area, it has sliding doors out of wooden slats that conceal a warmly lit bed with Japanese-style mattresses on top of tatami mats. There is a decorative glass covered panel with three types of washi paper above the bed.

To the right of the bed there is a discrete door to the bathroom, basically a fully functioning spa room. To recreate onsen feeling, the designer added low wooden stools in the shower unit and a large wooden bathtub tiled with traditional Towada stone.

A lot of Japanese elements were incorporated into this minimalist project without overloading the final design. The whole flat is made in subdued colours without flashy accents, it has dimmed interior lighting because shading and shadow layering are closely related to the aesthetic concept of sabi. Elegant simplicity, unpolished surfaces, light diffused by rice paper create a peaceful space where to relax after a busy workday.

We’ll be happy to create a minimalist yet chic design project for you.
Minimalism is mistakenly perceived as white bare walls and wooden floors with no decorations whatsoever. Many refuse to consider minimalist aesthetics as an option for their design choices because they believe it is too primitive. In fact, this style in the interior can have a very interesting and unconventional implementation. Yes, there is such thing as expensive minimalism. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the first leaders of minimalist design, used to say, “Less is more”. Minimalism is about quality over quantity. Just like in a fine dining restaurant, freshness of ingredients, food presentation and chef’s artistry are more important than portion size, minimalism values premium materials and elegance of design solutions. The emphasis on form and execution allows for exclusive materials that can be offered by Japanese designers: kimono fabric for walls, handmade washi paper, exotic woods, and rare stones. Minimalism requires perfection as you cannot hide flaws of execution in decorations. Today premium five-star hotels often adopt a minimalist style in their interiors to deliver a true relaxing experience to their guests by protecting them from any visual noise.