Just saw this at A List Apart, articulating the philosophy of wabi-sabi in regards to user interface design:

The Elegance of Imperfection by David Sherwin

A brief quote:

The simplicity of wabi-sabi is best described as the state of grace arrived at by a sober, modest, heartfelt intelligence. The main strategy of this intelligence is economy of means. Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry. Keep things clean and unencumbered, but don’t sterilize. (Things that are wabi-sabi are emotionally warm, never cold.) Usually this implies a limited palette of materials. It also means keeping conspicuous features to a minimum. But it doesn’t mean removing the invisible connective tissue that somehow binds the elements into a meaningful whole.

Sherwin explains ways to infuse a sense of “heart” and thus wabi-sabi into typically cold, code-based digital constructions like websites, software, etc. He also describes a “taxonomy of elegance” per Jeremy Alexis of IIT (whom I previously criticized in a prior posting re: the role of intuition :-) However, the taxonomy while nicely thought-out, does curiously map to the logos/ethos/pathos rhetorical frameworks from Dick Buchanan, which I find fascinating and further evidence that all designs consist of same core elements no matter what it’s called.