Exploring Unconventional Elements and Methods in Architectural Design

In a world saturated with standardised structures, more and more architects are seeking to break free from these design norms by embracing unconventional techniques and elements that transcend the ordinary. From celebrating the beauty of imperfection with weathered materials to harnessing the dramatic charm of charred timber and the timeless appeal of concrete, they are challenging traditional notions and paving the way for a new era of architectural excellence.

Wabi Sabi in Architectural Design:
A Philosophy of Imperfect Beauty

In the realm of architectural design, the ancient Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi offers a refreshing perspective on the beauty of imperfection, impermanence, and incompleteness. This concept encourages us to appreciate the aesthetic value in the natural aging process and find serenity in the flaws that arise over time. It's a design ethos that embraces the weathered, the worn, and the rustic, reminding us of the natural cycle of growth and decay.

Key Principles of Wabi Sabi in Architectural Design

  • Appreciation of the Natural Weathering Process

    At the heart of Wabi Sabi is the love for the natural changes that occur as materials age. In architectural design, this principle encourages the use of materials that age gracefully and display their history with pride. Wabi Sabi's embrace in timber applications extends beyond mere aesthetics; it reflects a profound respect for nature's course and the inherent beauty of natural aging.
  • Beauty in Imperfection

    Wabi Sabi embraces imperfection, celebrating asymmetry and irregularity. In architecture, it means valuing natural flaws like uneven stone paths or aged walls. Timber embodies this ethos with its knots and grain telling stories of life's journey. In design, choosing timber reflecting Wabi Sabi means embracing imperfections over engineered perfection. It honours the material's lifecycle and adds depth, creating spaces resonating with the beauty of the imperfect.
  • Simplicity and Minimalism

    Wabi Sabi values simplicity and the essence of things rather than their outward appearance. Architectural designs inspired by this philosophy often focus on minimalism, using only what is necessary and finding beauty in the bare and the understated.
  • Harmony with Nature

    Wabi Sabi designs aspire to be in harmony with nature, using materials in a way that reflects the natural world. This means choosing materials that blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment and considering the ecological impact of design choices.

Whittle Waxes: Protecting and Enhancing the Wabi Sabi Aesthetic

Whittle Waxes offers tailored solutions for preserving and enhancing the Wabi Sabi aesthetic in architectural design, recognising the uniqueness of each project. Our range of products, such as Bio Wax and Raw Stains, cater to different needs while maintaining the natural appearance of weathered timber. By applying these solutions, the timber's integrity is preserved, and its inherent beauty is accentuated.

Our Bio Wax is a prime example of our effective solutions, having been successfully employed in numerous instances. Its key advantage lies in its ability to protect weathered timber while minimally altering its appearance. Additionally, our Raw Stains serve to maintain the timber's original look. Applying a Raw Stain fixes the timber's appearance, allowing for the subsequent application of Evolution Hardwax Oil. This combination prevents the timber from darkening due to the hardwax oil while providing an ideal finish. The hardwax oil is durable, non-toxic, and micro-porous, allowing the timber to breathe and avoiding cracking. Moreover, it accentuates the natural beauty and grain of the timber.

At Whittle Waxes, we're experienced in handling unique situations and offering personalised recommendations. We're always here to discuss various options and find the best fit for your needs.

Our commitment to eco-friendly practices aligns with the principles of Wabi Sabi, ensuring that the protection and enhancement of architectural elements do not harm the environment. Whittle Waxes' natural hardwax oils provide durable and non-toxic finishes, allowing timber to breathe and age gracefully without compromising on sustainability.

Wabi Sabi encourages us to find beauty in imperfection and transience. Whittle Waxes products embrace this philosophy, respecting the natural lifecycle of timber and enhancing its character. By integrating these principles and products, architects and designers can create spaces that exude the serene and authentic allure of Wabi Sabi.

Shou Sugi Ban: Tradition and Modernism in Architecture

Originating in Japan centuries ago, Shou Sugi Ban, or "burned cedar," has evolved into a sought-after trend in modern architecture. Initially used for timber siding protection, its charring process provided durability, insect resistance, and a distinctive aesthetic. Today, architects globally embrace its visual impact and sustainability.

Historical Roots: Shou Sugi Ban emerged in Japan as a method to protect timber siding. Its charring process enhanced durability, weatherproofing, and dimensional stability while adding a unique texture and appeal.

Modern Applications: In contemporary design, Shou Sugi Ban is favoured for its ability to enrich minimalist spaces with character. It's used for cladding, flooring, and furniture, offering both rustic charm and modern sophistication.

Sustainability: Shou Sugi Ban aligns with eco-friendly values, providing natural protection and durability. Minimal upkeep involves re-coating with natural oil every few years, maintaining its appearance and longevity.

Tradition meets modernity: Shou Sugi Ban exemplifies how ancient techniques can offer innovative solutions to modern design challenges. Its enduring qualities and aesthetic allure continue to inspire architects worldwide, securing its place in future architectural trends.

Coating Recommendations for Shou Sugi Ban

While Shou Sugi Ban enhances timber durability, applying a protective finish is advisable. This helps prevent the charcoal finish from transferring onto surfaces like clothes when touched.

For exterior applications, we recommend either Bangkirai Oil or Cutek Extreme CD50. Some suppliers suggest adding Black Ash Cutek Colourtone with Cutek Extreme for a darker black. Depending on exposure levels, recoating every 3 years is recommended.

For interior surfaces, our Evolution Hardwax Oil (Matte) is ideal. This durable, non-toxic, and eco-friendly finish provides long-lasting protection, typically requiring recoating only every 5 to 7 years.

As always, conducting a test coat on a sample board is crucial to ensure satisfaction with the final appearance.


Concrete: A Versatile Choice for Homes and Businesses

Concrete has surged in popularity as a design element for both residential and commercial spaces, offering a blend of aesthetics and practicality. Whether polished for a sleek modern look or left in its natural state for a more rustic appeal, concrete brings durability and versatility to any environment.

One of the key advantages of concrete is its ability to adapt to various design styles and preferences. It can be moulded into different shapes and forms, allowing for creative expression in both architectural features and interior decor. Additionally, concrete's neutral colour palette serves as an excellent backdrop for showcasing other design elements such as furniture, artwork, and lighting.

In addition to its visual appeal, concrete is highly practical. It is resistant to wear and tear, making it suitable for high-traffic areas in both residential and commercial settings. Furthermore, concrete's thermal mass properties help regulate indoor temperatures, contributing to energy efficiency and cost savings.

When it comes to sealing concrete surfaces, Whittle Waxes Evolution Hardwax Oil emerges as the ideal choice. Not limited to timber, this versatile coating can be applied to concrete and other porous surfaces like terracotta tiles. Evolution Hardwax Oil seals concrete against spills while offering durability, non-toxicity, and long-lasting protection, unlike some silicone-based sealers.

In conclusion, concrete stands out as a versatile and practical material for both homes and businesses. Whether used in its polished or natural form, its aesthetic appeal and durability make it a timeless choice for contemporary design. And with coatings like Whittle Waxes Evolution Hardwax Oil, concrete surfaces can be protected and enhanced for years to come.


This concrete pub counter was coated with Evolution Hardwax Oil. Sealing concrete in environments like pubs is important to guard against spillages and hardwax oil is the perfect non-toxic, long-lasting solution.

What Our Customers Say

Out of my 30 years of hand making timber furniture I have never used a better product than Whittle Waxes Evolution Hardwax Oil.

– Christian Cole, Christian Cole Furniture

I have tried many finishes for my timber projects but Whittle Waxes has outperformed all of them.

– Alan Kik, Indo Street Designs

We have found all the products within the Whittle Waxes range to be highly durable and easily maintainable. We highly recommend them to anyone working with timber.”

– Nicki & Darrin, Revive Timber

I’ve been working with Whittle Waxes for more than 10 years. It is such an exceptionally good product – easy to apply and a beautifully natural looking coating.

– Dusan Ocenas, Renaissance Floors

I love Whittle Waxes. The Evolution Range has an amazing spread and I was shocked to see how little I needed for fantastic results. I cannot recommend this product and company enough!

– Marty Holbrook, Island Woodworks

I will only be using your material for finishing now! It is much simpler, safer and quicker to get the finish I want compared to other methods.

– Simon Gandevia, Sculptor



The Whittle Waxes Story

Most companies go from A to Z. We went from Z (Zimbabwe) to A (Australia). What an exciting journey it has been - and it's not over yet!

Although Whittle Waxes officially launched in Australia in 2004, our journey (and love affair) with timber started a long time before that. Company founder, Giles Whittle-Herbert, grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe, where he inherited a passion for working with wood that goes back generations. For many years he ran a successful carpentry business in Zimbabwe.

On arrival in Australia in 2004, Giles noticed a big gap in the market for natural and safe hardwax oils. He already had an excellent working relationship with an overseas supplier, so all he needed to do was make the Australian market aware of the many benefits of hardwax oils.

20 years later, Whittle Waxes is proud to be leading the way in the supply of natural, high quality finishes in Australian, with satisfied customers across the board, including home renovators, professional polishers, flooring suppliers, timber companies, architects, and designers.

Our Evolution Hardwax Oil continues to exceed expectations and is now a firm favourite all across the country, particularly with those who appreciate a quality finish that is safe, durable and environmentally friendly. Whittle Waxes has introduced a number of other quality products, including colour stains, exterior oils, Wax Polish and Floor Care for easy floor maintenance.

At Whittle Waxes, we genuinely love to interact with our clients so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Thanks for all your support!

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We are always happy to answer any questions.

Email: info@whittlewaxes.com.au      Phone: 1300 326 929, 1300 ECO WAX

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