Design Addict


Kintsugi, the art of sublimating objects

When something breaks and you decide to accept it as a change and choose to build something new from the broken pieces. You are revaluing what’s been broken and also recycling. In Japan they have been doing this for hundreds of years and they call it Kintsugi. It’s a real alternative philosophy to throwing away, in which objects are sublimated instead of discarded.

Kintsugi Marcantonio broken pottery



A little history about Kintsugi

Originally, Kintsugi consisted of repairing broken porcelain objects with gold. In this way the history of the object was highlighted and value was added.

The legend comes from the 15th century, when the porcelain used in Japan came from China and was also repaired there. The Kintsugi was born out of the disappointment of Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa when he received his favorite bowl repaired for the tea ceremony. He asked his craftsmen to remove the metal staples and find a more functional and aesthetic solution. With this request, he gets to love his new and revalued tea ceremony bowl again.

Kintsugi origin

© Célin Santini, “Kintsugi, the Art of resilience“


Transformation towards the sublime

Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, rescues the beloved object by creating a new one from it.

The old object, broken, far from disappearing, becomes the basis of a new one, different and more valuable. All this comes from the new care, the contribution of creativity and more noble materials, following the tradition of this Kintsugi discipline.

With this method and philosophy, even a simple dry leaf becomes a unique piece of craftsmanship.

Hoja de bordado Kintsugi Susanna Bauer

© Susanna_Bauer


Sublimate furniture with Kintsugi

Restore, highlighting the breakage with almost opposite materials. In this case we see the play of materials between the artificial and the natural, the translucent, transparent and opaque:

kintsugi broken furniture



kintsugi Anna Ter Haar stoolsKintsugi Anna ter Haar chair pink paw

© Anna ter Haar


Renovate to adapt to new likes, taking advantage of structures:

Kintsugi Charlotte kingsnorth cushionsKintsugi Artis Charlotte kingsnorth



Revalue with more noble and natural materials or by joining several damaged objects:

kintsugi plastic chair and rattankintsugi chairs eclectic mixture Martino Gamper

© Chairs Kenya – Chair armchair stool.  © Courtesy Nilufar Galery, Milano und Martino Gamper, London; Foto: Åbäk


Claiming the right to break

It is not by chance that the term Kintsugi is used in psychology as a symbol and metaphor of resilience. What Kintsugi states in conclusion is:

Claiming the breakage as part of the life cycle and not to discard it. 

To value the richness of the potential of what is broken and damaged so as not to turn it into garbage. 

To accept the breakage as a sign and an opportunity of change and the beginning of a new different and more valuable cycle. 

kintsugi breakage sublimation



What do you think now about Kintsugi? Any idea about fixing with resilience to inspire all of us?

If you want to know more about this topic, take a look at Célin Santini’s book “Kintsugi, the Art of resilience“.


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