To say Oki Sato (right), founder of Japanese design firm nendo, is on a creative roll seems an understatement. "We have more than 200 projects on the go and collaborations with Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Baccarat, Hermès and many more," says Sato.
The firm's success story started with a visit to the Milan design fair in 2001. "I studied architecture for six years [BA and MA] in Tokyo. After graduating, I visited the Milan Salone del Mobile and was impressed with the design concepts coming out of Europe. It was then that I decided to start my own firm nendo with a goal to exhibit our works in Milan the following year."
But much like his designs, Sato's philosophy is simple. "My design inspiration is always from my ordinary everyday life. I don't have any role models."
Below are some of the projects nendo has created this year.
Mimicry chairs Victoria & Albert Museum for London Design Festival.
"We placed chairs in various locations in the museum such as galleries, staircases and corridors. Each was modified to mimic the space it was in. We wanted visitors to discover a new side to the museum's appeal by sitting on different chairs to observe."
Bird-apartment treehouse for the Ando Momofuku Centre that promotes nature activities.
"The treehouse is collective housing for many birds and one person. One side as entrances to 78 nest spaces for birds while the other has an entrance for one person."
Collection for Italian firm Bisazza (right)
"Our objective was to create a strong impression by assembling various elements of a bathroom suite as though they were in the bath together. The feeling of connection that comes from a bath with someone you don't know at a hot spring or public bath is an important part of Japanese culture."
Farming-net collection, Carpenters Workshop, Paris
"Using the nets as a sculptural material allowed us to evade the traditional need of combining structure with a separate surface material, to create a thin membrane that stands independently, but also floats gently on a breeze."