The thing about Nendo is that it’s not easy to categorize. Oki Sato’s design practice has been prolific in various disciplines since he established his practice on graduation. The Nendo website is a catalog of the firm’s eclectic output: whimsical, inspired, unorthodox and unpredictable work that, this year alone, has seen Sato and his colleagues design, among other things, computer mice for Elecom, hinoki wooden music boxes for Isetan, an urbane picnic box for Ruinart, the interior design for PUMA House Tokyo, an installation and graphics for a retrospective exhibition of work by milliner Akio Hirata, an installation of Bohemian glass for the Salone in Milan, an exhibition of ‘dancing’ geometric furniture pieces for Singapore’s Art Stage conceptual carbon fiber furniture pieces for Atlanta’s High Museum, a wire frame chair for Cappellini, a series of mirrored circular tables for Moroso, cork based dining accessories for Materia and a rolled steel pendant lamp for Foscarini.

The work of Nendo cuts across architecture and interior design, through furniture and product designs for home and office to graphics, conceptual installations and exhibitions and in their creation, founder Oki Sato and his associates are constantly thinking outside the box. 

All images : : copyright Nendo

Oki Sato, 佐藤大, graduated with an M.A. in architecture from Tokyo’s Waseda University and set up his practice as a response to the rigid requirements of his discipline after seeing the results of creative design expression at the Salone del Mobile in Milan.  It wasn’t long before his own works were shown at the Milan Furniture Fair. Sato even set up an office in that city in 2005. His resume has since grown to contain items such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Victoria and Albert Museum in London have Nendo pieces; he featured in Newsweek’s 100 most respected Japanese in 2006; Nendo was chosen as one of the top 100 small Japanese companies the following year; published a number of design books; was jury member for Germany’s iF design awards.

There are so many small ” ! ” moments hidden in our everyday … we believe these small ” ! ” moments are what make our days so interesting, so rich.

As illustrated in the above images, here are a few of those moments:

yokai daruma (2010)

Inspired by the manga and anime series GeGeGe no Kitaro, ゲゲゲの鬼太郎, Nendo recreated the spirit monsters that feature in artist Shigeru Mizuki’s series as traditional Japanese Daruma dolls. The products fuse the zen associations of the Daruma with the world of Manga and the kawaii design culture that permeates much of Japanese life: in short a quintessentially Japanese product.

Hanabi (2006)

Hanabi is a pure design product that has been created around the unique properties of the material from which it’s made, in this case an alloy that physically reacts to changes in temperature. Like the eponymous sakura blossoms of Hanabi, the ‘petals’ of the hanging fixture literally bloom and open to reveal the globe within when the light is turned on. Winner of a best product award in AIGA’s I.D. Annual Design Review. 

1% collection (2006)

Sato and Nendo developed a series of furniture and home ware pieces, such as the pictured metal ‘bend’ baskets, each to be produced in limited editions of 100. The concept was to position the products between unique art pieces and mass produced consumables; 100 was considered a good round number, allowing each buyer to own 1 percent of the collection.

Office renovation (2007)

Nendo approached the renovation of their Meguro office with their usual flair, creating partially segregated spaces through the use of ‘sagging’ plywood partition walls. The neutral color scheme combines with the softness of the partitions to create a calming environment. Partially hidden objects and people wandering through the space create interesting spatial dynamics.

The Nendo website catalogs more ” ! ” examples of the firm’s work.


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