Required Reading: Wabi-Sabi by Leonard Koren by

Issue 8 · Wabi-Sabi Week · February 23, 2012

Required Reading: Wabi-Sabi by Leonard Koren

Issue 8 · Wabi-Sabi Week · February 23, 2012

The New York Times calls Leonard Koren "a maker of deceptively modest books about deceptively modest subjects"; his topics include gravel and sand gardens, tea ceremonies, and flower shops.

His book, Wabi-Sabi, first published in 1994, is considered required reading for the thinking designer; his more recent book, Which Aesthetics? is another must-read. Koren, who studied architecture at UCLA, writes: "Aesthetics is pervasive in our lives and behavior. It's basic, it's primal. The way we dress, style our hair, decorate our homes, prepare our food, give names to things—these are all aesthetic activities. Then there's the novels we read, the music we listen to, the movies we view, the video games we play, the art we make and collect."

Above: Koren's house in Point Reyes, in Marin County, Northern California; see the whole house at the New York Times. Photograph by Paul Dyer.

Above: Koren not only writes, he also designs his own books, down to the typeface. Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers (L) is $10.88 at Amazon. Which 'Aesthetics" Do You Mean? Ten Definitions (R) is $10.93 at Amazon.

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