The Japanese Effect

Have you heard of the butterfly effect? The butterfly effect is the concept that small causes can have large effects. This blog illustrates why my interest in Japanese architecture has eventually amounted into the aesthetics within my art, Ave Mariabell Designs. 

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As an architectural graduate, I have come to appreciate well designed spaces, in particular minimalist interior design with both Scandinavian and Japanese influence. When I was a student, I was very interested in Japanese-influenced designs, studying architects such as Shigeru Ban, Tadao Ando, as well as traditional Japanese architecture. If there has been one element in traditional Japanese architecture that I appreciate the most, it is the Japanese shoji screen. I love the consistent, linear lines of the shoji screen, paired with natural materials of wood and paper. In fact, it was the Japanese shoji screen that was one of the first items that I bought when I first moved to Toronto.


The den in a small apartment in downtown Toronto, become by first “bedroom,” when I moved to Canada. My girlfriends and I used a shoji screen to divide my space from the living room. Although a quiet shonky solution, it allowed cheap, shared living for three travellers on a budget. The shoji screen became an elegant feature of the apartment. When I finally moved into housing where I had an actual room, the screen remained as a feature in my home decor. I had the shoji screen in my mind, as I started to map out the beginnings of my Toronto Skyline design on my bedroom wall.


The shoji screen and my design draw two main similarities, which have ultimately translated into many of my product creations. These similarities are:

  1. Linear, bold, geometric lines.
  2. The use of natural materials and textures.

For example, on my hand-printed art, I use textured paper which contrasts against the black geometry of my skylines designs.

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You can also see the use of linear geometry and natural materials in my laser-cut skylines mounted on wood canvases.

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Finally, many of the wall decals I create are often mounted on a clean, bright, white wall. The contrast of black lines against sheer white, is definitely reminiscent of a traditional Japanese shoji screen.


My interest in Japanese design as a student became the ultimate influence on the design of my Toronto Skyline graphic. Japanese architecture will  continue to impact my designs, and eventually it will amount to an art empire!

I believe Japanese design has been the, “butterfly effect,” on my entrepreneurial life. What aspects of your life, do you believe have a “butterfly effect?” Would love to hear about it!







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