Leonard Koren

Born in New York, raised in Los Angeles, Koren currently resides in San Francisco. While a teenager, Koren designed and built a full-scale Japanese tea house out of scavenged materials. He was awarded an undergraduate fellowship to pursue experiments in photographic process at UCLA. While at school he worked as an exhibition installer at the university's fine arts and ethnographic museums. In 1969 Koren quit school and co-founded the Los Angeles Fine Arts Squad, a troupe l'oeil mural painting group that executed large-scale outdoor commissions in Los Angeles and Paris. One of the murals, Beverly Hills Siddhartha, covered 500 square meters and took a year to complete. Tired of painting, he applied and was admitted to the graduate school of architecture at UCLA. He received a master's degree in architecture and urban planning. Koren also consults about design, aesthetic, and communications-related issues for companies large and small, including Condé Nast, General Mills, American Standard, Shiseido, Panasonic, Toto, Axel Vervoordt, Sowden Design, and others.


  • "From initial inception to individual page layout, this book serves as an illuminating and personal look at the necessary steps of book production."
    Design Issues
  • "It sounds heavy, but the writing style is easy to follow. If you want to see where an original thinker can go with aesthetics and design, pick up this inspirational book."
    Country Almanac
  • Beauty can be found anywhere; and we are grateful to Koren for helping us to see this so clearly in this paperback.
    Spirituality & Health
  • "Featuring . . . photos of gravel and sand gardens taken in Kyoto, Japan, this thin paperback underscores the importance of 'experiencing the garden as garden.'"
    The Tri-County News
  • "Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers is a touchstone for designers of all stripes. . . ."
    The New York Times
  • "In a prominent spot near Square's welcome lobby stands a communal bookshelf. . . Most titles lining the shelves cover subjects you might expect at a high-flying tech startup. . . And then there are books placed on the shelf by [Twitter and Square co-founder Jack] Dorsey. He offers up Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers --an explication of the Japanese concept of serendipitous beauty."
    The Wall Street Journal