What do a Japanese kitchenware design, air conditioning systems, and the automotive industry have in common? Quite a lot when we look at Nendo’s Air Lids—an exquisite work that surprised and impressed me with its unique shapes and obvious practicality.
Designer Oki Sato, also known under the name Nendo, has created a kitchenware collection focusing on different lid designs. Air Lids are made in collaboration with Daikin, an air conditioning manufacturer, who produces fluoroelastomer, the very material used for the lids. Commonly utilised in the automotive industry, fluoroelastomer is a high-performance rubber with outstanding heat, oil and acid resistance. It excels in preventing changes in colour and shape over a long period of time, while at the same time being of a silkier touch than regular silicone rubber. By taking the material out of its regular sphere and using it in a different context, Nendo has created a highly functional and beautifully minimal product.
The collection includes five different types of lids and containers with distinct functions. All of them present smart solutions for everyday life and are easy to understand. While the Pick-up lid can pick up contents directly from its container, the Press-lid pours liquid through its mouth-like opening when pressed down at the top. The Pinch-lid conceals a small spoon, which only appears when its edges are pinched together. The Pull-lid is stretched from inside the bottle and closes with tension. The Push-lid, finally, extrudes liquid when pushed inside the container. Oki Sato himself states that with his designs he seeks to trigger moments of awareness and deepened perception in people:
There are so many small moments hidden in our everyday. But we don’t recognise them. And even when we do recognise them, we tend to unconsciously reset our minds and forget what we’ve seen. But we believe these small moments are what make our days so interesting, so rich.
With their tasteful and harmonious design, Air Lids definitely made me reset my idea of kitchen containers. They are a great example of an everyday product that is enjoyable and humorous.