A design from Asian, a design from Zen

This is a Zen-like table designing for modern families aim to bring this peace, calm culture into this messy society. I am very interested into Zen-like design, Zen-like design is a symbol of Japanese design. I really want to be a part of Zen-like designers.
This table is what I feel about Zen, practise of Zen. I would like to receive different feedbacks from this forum about how do you guys feel about it.


I would like to see a trail of sketches, and study models, that led you to this conclusion.

And then, perhaps, an explanation of what makes this “zen” as compared to “contemporary modern”.

I love your table design! But may I say from my viewpoint that it looks an era of modernism to me, not really Zen.
I always thought Zen seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts, the product should bring a totalness between body & mind. The Table is split into 2 different elements, not one total element. I see a disruption.
But that’s my view. I really like this table, but I don’t think its Zen.

Cool concept and simple idea!

Zen isn’t an aesthetic or style, per se. It’s the way you are, the way you think.
Having said that, if you are interested in Japanese furniture designs, I’d suggest you take a look at Japanese furniture construction techniques, tools, materials, and joinery. The groove / tongue design reminds me a bit of how Fusuma runs in a track:

The groove / tongue design reminds me a bit of how Fusuma runs in a track:

Yes, it does. Upon closer examination (thanks for the large format photos by the way) the young ladies’ arm resting on the cantilevered portion makes it appear that the upper section is trying to depart company from the bottom.

What holds the two pieces in position? Or is the ‘zen’ involved here allowing the top portion to slide up and down as your upper body moves? And what prevents the top from sliding all the way off of the lower piece? Is that a “detent” of some sort (just visible embedded in the groove (below the top piece))?

I will update some of my sketches and concept notes later and see if it works better to clarify my idea of Zen. Thank you so much for your notes. :laughing:

Ah~~good idea, this is my first time upload a post, you are right, some process can help me explain my idea better, thank you for your suggest. :slight_smile:

This one is my prototype, this sliding mechanism is a pain in my head, the male and female part of this mechanism is hard to fit perfectly, (or because of my wood work is not professional enough) I am working on modifying it right now, thank you for point it out. :slight_smile:

em~Agree, I will upload my concept notes and sketches later, see if it helps to explain my idea of Zen out of this table. Thank you~ :wink:

I very much like to see these kinds of things, and examples from Japanese woodworking are always great.

I can sort of understand one of the previous comments, how your concept too much involves a duality, while Zen points to anything but duality. It does also not point to something like Yin and Yang, a harmonious balance between opposites, but it takes you straight to non-duality - the proverbial Zen stick. To do design purely in line with Zen, I suggest that you dive into its tradition a bit deeper. If you’re from a Western society, Alan Watts’ books may be of help. Eugene Herrigel has also written a brilliant essay about Zen and archery. Following that, if you truly want to design according to the way of Zen, you would probably have to start doing a craft like woodwork yourself, and when you master this your designs will present themselves to you without much mentalization.

Please share more of your work, it’s an interesting direction!

Agreed. As Miyamoto Musashi wrote, people are more concerned with the flower than the seed.

From a brand POV using a term like Zen is heavily loaded and can mean different things to people. I might suggest a less obvious ‘name’ for the work, perhaps coming from some artifact of Zen Buddhism. For instance I recently saw a bicycle wheel named ‘Enso’ which means circle in Japanese, but has a relationship to a style of brush painting that monks performed.