Oki Sato, founder of Nendo Oki Sato, founder of Nendo

Milan Design Week: An interview with Nendo Featured

Nendo’s founder, Oki Sato, reveals the impact Salone del Mobile has had on his career.

by 10 April 2016

Japanese studio Nendo is one of the world’s most respected, winning numerous awards for their joyful, uncluttered designs. Oki Sato, the studio's founder, shares his experience of Salone del Mobile with LUXOS.

What does Salone mean to you?

nendo works 2014-2015 11 takumi otaNendo works 2014-15 © Takumi Ota

When I went for the first time in 2002, seeing designers playfully create both products and installations had a big impact on me. In Japan, people who have studied architecture, like me, usually only design architecture; interior designers design interiors, and product designers design product. But I wanted to design more flexibly, transcend genres. So I decided to set up a studio and named it ‘Nendo,’ which means Play-Doh.

Related: Milan Design Week 2016: Ventura Lambrate guide

What is your mission as a designer?

cs014 02 hiroshi iwasaki© Hiroshi Iwasaki

For me, the role of design is about solving things and finding new solutions. Also, it is about what kind of story you can find behind the object, whether it’s product or architecture or graphics.

How do you stay creatively inspired?

float05 akihiro yoshidaFloat © Akihiro Yoshida

I’ve noticed that rooting work in everyday life really helps. If you keep on repeating things every day you notice the small differences, and I feel those small differences become my design sources in a way... Small differences hidden within the normal routine.

Related: Salone del Mobile 2016: the up-and-coming designers to know about

What is Nendo showing at Salone this year?

50-manga-chair image-by kenichi-soneharaNendo, 50 Manga Chairs © Kenichi Sonehara

We are going to have an installation named ‘50 manga chairs;’ 50 simple chairs with an element from manga comics.

Milan Design Week 2016

Chiostro Minore di San Simpliciano, Piazza Paolo VI, 4 Milano