Oki Sato of Nendo and Luca Nichetto co-design a collection of products for an independent exhibition in Milan this year. Rachel Lee-Leong checks it out.
April 24th, 2013
It follows a form of collaborative Japanese poetry called tanka. Oki Sato, principal of Japanese design studio Nendo, starts a design proposal for a product and Italian designer Luca Nichetto adds his own thoughts and ideas to the design and finishes it off – or vice versa. All this happening over a span of a few days during the winter holidays (Christmas included). This was how Nichetto=Nendo came to be.
Bridges for Islands sofa with Casamania and Innofa
Shelves in a comic shelf with Glas Italia
It all started with a conversation over coffee in Stockholm in December 2012. Sato and Nichetto spoke of past collaborations between masters like Ettore Sottsass and Shiro Kuramata and wondered if they could reignite a collaboration between cultures again. And if they were to do it, it had to be more than just a case of exhibiting their own products side by side. What was needed was a real merging of ideas; a cross-pollination of cultural references. The result: seven products, all co-designed by both Sato and Nichetto.
Trellis bandaged room divider with Innofa and Vertigo Metals
Crucial to the exhibition is a spirit of generosity and openness, where both designers enter into collaboration with a willingness to share and learn. “In Oki and my generation, we grew up with the idea of sharing, like the internet. You can see what’s happening with music. In the beginning was Napster and Winamp. There was a lot of this kind of stuff. Then now Spotify,” says Nichetto.
Paper ice cream lamp with Foscarini and Taniguchi | Aoya Washi
Paper ice cream lamp
“Our generation, we think that the future will be more and more networking. To share ideas is much better than to have ideas only for you. And to create this kind of process and exhibition, I really hope to show that designers who work and live in [different] cultures can work together. Not only to do stuff, but also to learn.”
Fish skin on the roof carpet with Ogeborg
Wedge of matter candle holder with Ochiai-Seisakusho and Kadowaki Coating (brass version) and Testi Fratelli (marble version)
Since it was an independent exhibition, Sato and Nichetto sought the support of manufacturers that they had worked with before, many of whom gamely stepped up to produce the prototypes. “After a while, they asked us if it was possible for them to show in the Salone. We say, ‘No no no! It would kill the idea of the exhibition’,” Nichetto shares. “But probably some of them would be in production soon.”
Portable pot (stool) with Discipline
Hero Image Credit: Hiroshi Iwasaki
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