Famed Japanese design studio Nendo and Italian brand Bisazza Bagno gave birth to this beautiful bathroom collection. The line includes a crate-like bathtub, washstand and mirrors that resemble droplets of water, sticks in a stand for a towel drier, diagonally patterned mirrors, stackable containers for plans, rotating storage boxes and an elegant seating piece. Each element is an individual statement of minimalist creativity. Here is how designers explain their vision: Our objective for this bathroom collection was to create a strong singular impression by assembling the various elements of a bathroom suite as though they were ‘all in the bath together’. The feeling of connection that comes from a bath with someone you don’t know at a hot spring or local public bath is an important part of Japanese culture. Our bathroom collection for Bissazza expresses this feeling through its design. I love how many different ideas are unified by the homogeneous geometry of the collection. The combination of white and woodgrain is another theme that creates an aesthetic bond between the pieces.
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This shoehorn by Japanese designer Oki Sato of Nendo, created for wooden furniture manufacturer Maruni, looks mysterious and sculpturesque. It is unclear at first glance what the conical object is for. But as you interact with the piece, its utilitarian function becomes apparent. Sato explains his concept: As the name suggests, shoehorns were first made by carving animal horns; the shearing motion of this shoehorn pays homage to its origins. The piece consists of two parts, held together by an embedded neodymium magnet. The business part of the shoehorn can be easily separated from the weighted base with one hand. The item is carved from a single block of maple to preserve continuity of the wood grain.
Drawer House, designed by the prominent Japanese designer Nendo, responds to the limited housing situation in Tokyo. Using the concept of drawers, Nendo has designed an elegant home that allows functional elements to slide from the wall into a central living space. Several rooms worth of objects and furniture store easily in the back wall of the home, therefore only the “drawers” necessary for the task at hand are visible. The facade of the home is composed of a simple wood screen that filters light and maintains the residents’ privacy. This straightforward yet unexampled interior design creates an uncluttered space, while allowing the residents to live comfortably in a very small building. Drawer House is yet another impeccable work in Nendo’s extensive portfolio.
Think Black Lines by Nendo was originally conceived for an exhibition (curated by Phillips de Pury and Company) at the Saatchi Gallery in London in 2010 based on condensed expressions of meaning. Whereby the designs gently break the relationship of before and behind, and traverse at times the space between two and three dimensions. The exhibition was a series of utilitarian items, envisioned on this similar principle of lines, in particular the theme of ‘outlines’. The resulting series of coat racks, all exhibited as minor transgressions of one another, were the play on two and three-dimensional principles. The slightness of these outlines I think is quite beautiful. While the practical functions of the item are still represented in the form, it is the less-ness of the outcome that is emphasized. This series of experimentation with lines, cast in black metal, is quite timeless. The structures represent the ultimate fusion of form, diverging from its original functional aesthetic.
This elegant chair has been created by the prolific Nendo for Swedish furniture brand Offecct. The illusion of a cape spread over the frame is achieved by two pieces of plywood pressed together. The biggest concern both the designer and the manufacturer had with piece was the weight. This amount of plywood was quite a tall order for such small and delicate item. The solution came in using ultra light steel, developed originally for the racing car industry. Aside from this exciting innovation, the piece strikes with its aesthetic creativity. It is amazing how a basic, familiar shape received a new life thanks to one clever visual detail.
Splinter is a new furniture line created by Nendo for the Japanese brand Conde House. As the name of the collection suggests all items have elements that look like splinted wood. This dynamic between thick and thin parts, strength and flexibility of the material, became the main theme and inspiration for the project. We splintered each piece of wood as though peeling it away. Chairs’ backrests divide to become armrests and legs, and the top of the coat stand peels away to provide coat hooks. The side table’s stand splinter to turn into three legs. We kept larger pieces of wood at their original thickness to provide strength where necessary, and used thin pieces of wood that had splintered off for more delicate parts. The Splinter collection will be presented at the imm cologne from 14 to 20 January 2013.
Aptly named after what inspired its form, Melt, by Japanese design collective Nendo is essentially a piece of structural metal, in a black powder coated finish for that matter, that appears to ‘melt’ into the back, the arm rest and the legs of a chair while being supported by the seat. At the 2012 Salone del Mobile, the chair was part of a series called K% black&black which is described as perfecting the balance between structure and function in furniture, without the unnecessary distraction of new materials, technique and colour. It was a small but pleasant ‘aha’ moment when I first saw the chair without reading the brief. Clever and simple, its form has the modern sensibility to suit any contemporary interior, minimalist or not.
K% is an exciting new venture, born from the collaboration between famed Japanese design studio Nendo and K Projects from Singapore, with Oki Sato, Nendo’s prolific co-founder, as a design director. The début collection, K% is currently showing at Salone del Mobile 2012, is called black&black. Purposely reduced to one colour, the line explores the relationship between structure and function. There is no distraction of new techniques or unusual materials. All pieces are made out of wood or metal. The black&black collection is comprised of 15 objects, all following Nendo’s minimalist aesthetic. Sato elaborates: It is exciting to be able to expand the original idea of Nendo into other parts of the world, starting with K%. We hope to bring a little bit of inspiration to everyone’s home through our products. Collaborators for black&black are Singapore design firms Stidio JuJu and Exit Design. They each contributed an item to the collection.
Japanese studio Nendo strikes again: the Block vases are a set of delicate, small and stackable bud vases that form part of the collection of new additions to their 1% products, to be presented in Milan’s Salone del Mobile this coming April. The vases are carefully measured and designed to fit in stackable formations, never disturbing the vase on the bottom. There are four sizes and each can accomodate one flower, but once stacked they can also fit a tall stem through the different combined vases. Only 100 of each vase will be made, as befits the concept of the 1% products. According to Nendo: 100 is the perfect amount: they’re neither one-off “works of art” nor mass-produced products made in the millions. Whether its the skill of the artisans or new technologies, we want to make things that are only possible because there are 100 of them. Not more, not less. To give owners the chance to experience the joy of owing 1%.
The Japanese based firm Nendo completed this store interior in February. The store is called Beige, also based in Japan. Beige offers women simple and functional clothing made with indulgent fabrics. Nendo’s interior was inspired by the store’s philosophy towards clothing design. Nendo places utility and materiality at the forefront of his design methodology. Beige features three main architectural elements: c-beam structural steel frames, white walls, and sheer curtains. The relationships between these elements adds a complexity to the design and allows the store to rearrange in countless combinations. The black and white undertones emphasize both the materials of the structure and of the clothing. The store is reminiscent of a gallery, allowing each article of clothing to be displayed as a work of art. I love how the depth and sophistication of the clothing is mirrored in Nendo’s design.
This unusual wireless computer mouse was created by Japanese design studio Nendo for Elecom. Called Kandenchi, which in Japanese means dry cell battery, the piece lives up to its name. The mouse is the same shape and size as a D battery. Even though it might look ergonomically awkward, it follows human clicking habits precisely. The left-click button is positioned directly under the index finger, if you grip the mouse from the side, the scrolling wheel is positioned under the middle finger, and what looks like the positive terminal is the right-click button. Kandenchi’s unique shape and small size make it ideal for fitting in tight spaces. It can also be a great solution for a trackpad-hating commuter. Operational on virtually every surface, the mouse can be used on a train or in any other public place with limited working area.
The most recent product by Nendo I would like to share with you is Orime. Orime, created for Elecom, is a wireless laser mouse that has some parallels with a Nighthawk Stealth Fighter aircraft. Rather than the usual curved mouse this one is formed entirely from flat surfaces. Formed as though by folding a piece of paper, the orime mouse fits comfortably into the hand. I like the technical appearance of the flat surfaces and sharp lines, but have some doubts about the comfortable fit into the hand. Photography by Hiroshi Iwasaki.