My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was very interesting. I liked the narration that explained the architectural and decoration goals of the owners and their collaboration with the architects. Also how it pointed details in each photo of the placement of the furniture, statures, or the history of specific ornaments.
Coffee tables or other utilitarian pieces of furniture such as lamps and end tables often were originally other things like a fisherman's cutting board etc.
Nothing in the rooms are left to chance. Each thing has its purpose and space.
The rooms are bare and ascetic as if they were meant to be used as mediation spaces based on Buddhist philosophy. Nothing to distract the emptying of the mind.
Rice paper is placed on windows to create a soft glow of filtered light. But many modern windows were clear in order to better enjoy the outer courtyards with their foliage and waters. This seems to be a common tradition of Korean houses: an inner courtyard. I would like to know more of the history and purpose of this tradition.
A lot the things are organic: wooden tables, stones as decoration. But interestingly the outsides were very modern, the walls made of steel and concrete, although there were a few traditional Hanok houses included.
Having said that, as much as I admired the simplicity and beauty I know could not live in such bare dwelling places. I would find the emptiness oppressive, not peaceful. I need more warmth, more detail, more visual stimulation, more books. I like my house because the walls are wrapped in books.
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