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Concept of Ma

There is a phrase often used in the visual art and design worlds, coined by Italian art and literature critic Mario Praz: horror vacuii. This (somewhat dramatic) term was originally used by Praz to describe the overwhelming chaos of Victorian interior trends and translates from Latin to ‘fear of emptiness’- a wonderful use of language to give depth to the dwindling trend that more is best. More patterns, more textures, more trinkets and more belongings in general. Today, in stark contrast, we are seeing less and less of this need for more and a growing love affair with that, previously feared, empty space.

When it comes to the average cutlery drawer (an area in your home we feel we can lay claim to expertise), this Victorian fashion of overcrowding has sneakily hung on. Everywhere else in a house might be spick and span, but take a peek into the shut away and we are likely to be confronted with that same chaos. You may think ‘what I can’t see can’t hurt me’, but Decluttering professionals believe otherwise. As with all, the reality of something out of sight being out of mind is far from the truth. If a cupboard or drawer is bursting with unnecessary items and you know about it, you will always have that knowledge niggling in the back of your mind.

Here are our top picks for a cutlery drawer inspired by the wonderful concept of Ma:

With our awareness of the negative impact of clutter growing, we’re far more inclined to suggest leaning away from British Victorian habits and towards the far more mindful, Zen celebration of ‘Ma’ – the Japanese appreciation of negative space.

The concept of ‘Ma’ is seen all over Japanese culture – the architechture and garden design, mindful practices such as flower arranging and tea ceremony and even in the nationwide tradition of yearly cherry blossom viewing. In the home, ‘Ma’ is present throughout Japan to not only make the most of what is often a small amount of space, but to also highlight what is there through what is not.

We feel as though embracing ‘Ma’ is the perfect mind set to follow when it comes to organising not only what can be seen it the home, but what is hidden. If you, like so many others, have a cutlery drawer brimming with utensils that have seen better days, do not enhance your meals or are simply not all that useful, perhaps it is time to consider replacing the old with a new, minimalistic set. Streamlining your cutlery drawer into what is both loved and needed is a wonderful thing to do life and being able to include a few multi-functional pieces makes it all the better.


Our first choice has to be the Studio William Spork. Inspired by the classic, British picnic must-have but in our usual 18/10 stainless steel quality with innovative design prowess, this multi-functional piece is the perfect addition to a minimalist cutlery drawer.
Great for lunches on the go, but also a quirky alternative to the usual tableware (this is always a talking piece!), you can choose from a Mulberry, Olive or Karri design in ‘mini’, ‘starter’ or ‘buffet’ sizes.


Our Tilia Mirror setting offers the elegant style synonymous with a minimalistic lifestyle. The clean, flowing form lends to the very Japanese grace of finding beauty in the simple things, with strong handles and an effortless curve in every piece. You can get everything you need and nothing more in our sets, ranging in size to suit your needs.


The Studio William Baobab design is another which sparks Zen inspiration on our dining tables, so this would be an ideal choice for a very ‘Ma’ cutlery drawer. This range was born from our love of the sacred Baobab tree, with wide handles to represent the thick, beautiful trunk and softened lines for the soft nature of the life-giving gentle giant.


Although much of Japanese culture is grounded in simplicity, that does not stop it from including intricate details in what is considered ordinary, to enhance life. Drain covers across Japan are decorated with beautiful works of art. Zen Gardens are raked using the same motions morning and night, in some cases for over 1000 years, to maintain a certain appearance. The Studio William Balsa range is something you can welcome into your life which, although made up of apparently everyday items, are designed in such a way that every character in the range enhances your dining experience. Through unique and dynamic details, we have developed the Balsa set to amplify and compliment every food journey.

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