#115 One hundred products for 32 companies, 400 new designs and a desire to focus on architecture. At the opening of his solo exhibition, Oki Sato describes a full-on year. #salone2015
One hundred products created in the space of a year and a half (2014/2015) for 32 companies, Japanese and non-.
A busy year for Oki Sato, alias Nendo, you might think, were it not for the fact that it has been much the same since 2003 when he opened his studio in Tokyo. This is made clear by a solo exhibition with an extremely elegant “all-white” setting that transfigures the interiors of the Museo della Permanente.
“At the moment, I’m working on 400 projects”, explains Nendo, interviewed at the opening of the exhibition. Such an undertaking is made possible by a team of 30 in-house designers and his virtually total involvement: “I take care of all of the concepts, I check all the prototypes, I do all my presentations and I visit the companies and clients”, he continues. “I devote all my time to design, 24 hours a day.” He confesses that he loves it and that it is almost an addiction. “The more output there is, the more input I get. It’s like a top that is stable when it’s spinning fast but will fall over when it slows down. It’s important to keep on spinning so that your mind is always ready for new ideas. It’s like a flow, like breathing.”
As well as a small shop – much to the delight of Nendo-fans – the exhibition features new designs, such as 16 objects created for Expo 2015 at the request of the Japanese government and in collaboration with 13 craftsmen. The core theme is food so bowls, chopsticks, cutlery… “We tried to use only black so that people could really focus on the texture, the materials and the different techniques”, explains the designer. “For instance, we wanted to emphasize the glossiness of the lacquer and its reflection of light so we did lots of experiments with craftsmen. Every single object has a different story to tell, different materials and different techniques.”
After so many objects and furnishings, Nendo admits that he feels ready for a new adventure. “Right now, we are working more on interior designs and architectural projects. It is not the first time I have focused on architecture. I designed some private houses in the beginning (2003–2005) but decided to stop working on architecture for a while because it takes time and great attention to detail. Now, I think we are ready to go back to architecture because we have knowledge and more skills in different fields. I think we shall start in Japan first because we really need to control the whole construction phase and every single detail. It’s a totally different scale from furniture and objects but it’s still about people’s emotions and storytelling. That’s the way we want to design architecture as well.”
April 14–19, 2015 Nendo works 2014-2015
Museo della Permanente
via Turati 34, Milano