When it comes to interior design in Japan, the country’s national color is most often associated with the art of growing bonsai dwarf trees, which was originally a Chinese invention that was perfected in the Land of the Rising Sun. In aquariums, on the other hand, the most complete and harmonious traditions, aesthetic preferences, philosophy, and a unique Japanese perspective on the world around them are brought together in one place. Or, to put it another way, in its relatively new direction of “Nature Aquarium”, which was founded by the famous aqua designer Takashi Amano and is currently under development.
Aquariums constructed according to this concept are distinguished by a variety of design styles, but certain patterns are always observed when designing the interior of an artificial reservoir.
- 1 A miniature representation of the universe
- 2 « Nature Aquarium – an accomplished piece of art »
- 3 Japanese “natural” aquariums come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- 4 Instructions on how to properly populate a Japanese aquarium
A miniature representation of the universe
All Japanese “natural aquariums” are replicas of miniature terrestrial natural landscapes submerged in water, which are referred to as “natural ponds.” However, each of them is a fully functioning ecosystem, a “microcosmos” that fully complies with the laws of nature. Plants, fish, and shellfish are as comfortable as possible in such a reservoir, thanks to thoughtful decoration and lighting, optimal temperature, chemical composition, and water circulation, as well as species compatibility and species compatibility in the reservoir.
Given that this world is perfect and self-sufficient, human intervention in the natural rhythm of the processes that take place here is minimized to the greatest extent possible.
« Nature Aquarium – an accomplished piece of art »
Using the same inspiration as an artist, poet, or composer, Takashi Amano and his followers create their own one-of-a-kind compositions. Aquadesigners who specialize in this area are always perfectionists. No matter from which perspective you look at the Japanese aquarium, no matter what technique and style are used in its design, the “living image” will be aesthetically impeccable.
All of the landscape’s elements, including the decorations and plants, work together to enhance the aesthetics of the style while also revealing its depth and philosophical undertones.
It is not only the sizes, shapes, and color combinations of the inhabitants of a natural aquarium that are considered, but also the peculiarities of fish and shellfish movement, their activity, habits, and other nuances.
All of this is shattered by the master’s personal perception, his creative individuality, his sense of beauty, and his attitude toward his work and life.
The end result of this approach is a completed work of art, created in accordance with the traditions of the direction and chosen style, and which reveals the depth of the inner world as well as the talent of its maker.
Japanese “natural” aquariums come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Although aquascapers concentrate on traditional Japanese trends when designing the aquarium “Nature,” they are not limited to them; the composition may include elements of exotic landscapes from Taiwan, the lush splendor of Dutch “underwater gardens,” and other techniques. As a result, the concept of “natural aquarium” cannot be considered purely nationalistic.
In the traditions of Zen Buddhism.
A similar way to bonsai, the art of creating rock gardens (Karesansui, sekitei) was brought to Japan from China and given new life, eventually becoming one of the most well-known national trends in landscape design. Nature aquarists create underwater rock gardens that are both stunningly beautiful and completely in accordance with the canons of Zen teaching.
It is possible to fill the container only with sand “moss” and stones, creating an organic combination of static elements and mobile flocks of small fish scurrying among rocks, driftwood, and plants that are meant to resemble rocky tree species in the “Zen Aquarium.”
When creating the most complex version of the “Aquarium Rock Garden” in the style of “Iwagumi,” minerals with similar texture and shape are selected. These minerals are arranged in a specific order and form an uninterrupted piece of artwork.
Such aquariums inspire a sense of unity between eternity and the present moment, as well as serenity and harmony. This creates ideal conditions for meditation, allowing you to disengage from the outside world and dive deep into your own consciousness.
Taiwanese rural themes can be found in Japanese aquariums.
Taiwan’s rural landscape, depicted in miniature form, is one of the most original versions of the Japanese aqua landscape. Miniature copies of the island’s huts, paths, benches, and other details of village life on the island “Republic of China” are organically integrated into the picturesque emerald-green hill reliefs.
While the design in this style typically incorporates elements of a Zen Garden as well as Dutch and other schools of aqua design, Taiwanese motifs serve as a memorable, integral, and recognizable element of the overall composition of the design.
“Wabi-kusa” is a green mossy island
One variation on this theme is the “Wabi-kusa” aquarium landscape, which combines two elements: the main underwater section and a “moss-covered island” that protrudes above the surface of the water. This green island may serve as either a direct continuation of the underwater landscape or as a separate floating, mobile element, depending on the individual stylistic achievement, in the latter case a fantastic, unreal moss-covered island.
Instructions on how to properly populate a Japanese aquarium
Flocks of small carp or Characidae fish scurrying among the “rocks” and “trees” in the “natural” aquascape, which represents “the entire world in miniature,” populate all reservoirs created in accordance with this concept. The illusion of a mini-universe immersed in the bottom of a glass container is further enhanced by the presence of small fish.
Translucent fragile tetra fish perfectly blend into the magical landscape in the aquarium “Iwagumi.” Ascetic static aquascape in the aquarium “Iwagumi” will well refresh the contrast with the bright and mobile inhabitants.