We have to be honest that it wasn't until Nendo (the studio name for designer/architect Oki Sato) was awarded the Designer of the Year accolade by the trade show Maison et Objét this week, that we appreciated the HUGE range that the Japanese designer is responsible for.
Nendo - the word means 'clay' in Japanese and the breadth and scope of Nendo's work seems to embody the possibilities that the substance clay has.
From designing Interiors, Architecture, Products, Furniture, Lighting and even shoes - the list goes on. As if that isn't enough - this month in Paris, Nendo turned his focus on a new medium - chocolate. Tasked with designing a lounge area for visitors at the enormous trade show, Nendo's concept really evokes a sense of fun & wonderment with a chocolate inspired lounge including boxes of 'chocolatexture' chocolates available to purchase.
The lounge is kitted out with some of Nendo's key pieces reproduced in a soft brown, and surrounded by 2000 poles of varying heights with a brown/white dip-dye effect, to create the impression of the visitor being enveloped in a molten chocolatey wave.
Nendo's ethos is to 'give people a small '!' moment' where the element of fun is never far away. Emotion is a strong motivation in the way Nendo's designs are realised - with function and fun intrinsically connected.
Nendo has designed collections for many iconic companies ranging from Tod's (shoes) to Cappellini (Italian furniture) where the 'Peg' collection can be seen below.
We love these stunning lights (made with washi paper) giving them an almost ethereal quality. Nendo's Japanese cultural heritage is very important in his designs, but he has stated that sometimes the Japanese aesthetic can be too pared back and even cold. Thus his designs always strive for a sense of warmth and even 'friendliness' to make the link between user and product more emotional.
The Japanese traditions are clearly referenced throughout his work, but then tweaked to reflect our contemporary needs - 'we want to reconstitute the everyday by collecting and reshaping them into something that's easy to understand'.
Hmmm....design crush is now official, and we have only covered a small fraction of Nendo's work. If you think you may be heading in the same direction and want to see more, take a look here and let us know what you think!