'invisible outlines', Nendo's solo show during Salone del Mobile.Milano 2017.
In February, Nendo (a.k.a. Oki Sato) started the year with a dust mask for Clever. Bo-bi, meaning to protect in Japanese, is a high-efficiency dust mask that is the first choice for many professionals. Although the mask might look like any ordinary dust mask, its unique feature would be the combination of 10 layers of mesh (12 layers with the high-end version) that can remove dust and viruses, shielding against radioactive materials, among other things. Also, it's a reusable mask that can withstand up to 100 washes - hence it also comes with a portable soft case in each purchase.
But here's the catch: it is priced at ¥20,980 (S$ 252) over at Rakuten. Quite a steep one I must say, but you can't put a price on your health, right?
Objectextile for Jil Sander (Top), Gaku (L) & Sawaru (R) for Flos.
Then comes the biggest furniture fair in the world in April: Salone de Mobile. Milano. Not only did Nendo design 12 new pieces of furniture - ranging from tables for Alias, lamps for Flos, coat stand for Cappellini, and even textiles for Jil Sander - he also put on a solo show 'invisible outlines' whose white mountain range-like scenography became the main attraction (not to mention THE Instagram hot spot in town!).
Although most of this furniture is produced by well-known brands, most of them are expected to be prototypes at this point and will not go into productions until next year. So you probably won't find them in any of your local or online design furniture stores just yet.
Interestingly enough, another furniture collection - the Bouncy Layers for Hangzhou company KUKA that was launched in June - is also a no-show at the company's site (or Taobao/Tmall site for that matter). Whatever the reasons for the hold up are, one would think that the Chinese are usually better at logistics and production, so it's probably not a big stretch to say that this design is no more than a publicity stunt. It did have quite the social media effect, but once clicked on the brand site, a horror of outdated identity and unmodern products will scare the life out of any potential clients. Buyers do beware!
Concept sketch for MinimLET.
MinimLET for Sugita-Ace, is a compact DIY toilet.
Q3 onwards, Nendo embarked on a journey of a smaller scale with more travel-friendly items produced. There's the Kona-shoyu Container (i.e. a new way to consume soya sauce) for Shimogamo-saryo, which is available now online (1,620 円) or at their store in Kyoto.Then there's new packaging for the naturaglace beauty product and natto (fermented beans) manufacturer Kikusui Food. The former is currently stocked at their stores in Shibuya and BEYORG stores in Hong Kong, while the latter is available to purchase now online (540円).
Also, there's the quite peculiar minimLET for Sugita-Ace, a company that specialised in post-disaster relief items. The minimLET is Nendo's second design for the company after creating the minimAID (a compact survival kit) in 2015. This time around, Nendo's concept focused on the fact that portable or disposable toilets have a very low penetration rate during any disaster. Basically, the minimLET is a bag that carries all the kit that's needed to DIY a toilet: aluminium pipes and a toilet seat, nylon cloth for the tent, pocket tissues, garbage bags, and coagulant. Furthermore, the kit is slim, so it does not take up space even when stacked or placed in a car trunk or a storage space at home.
You can usually find Sugita-Ace products at the clubESTA shop in Tokyo's Minamiaoyama area. However, it will be a while before the minimLET is available - as the minimAID took more than a year to commercialise from its prototype phase.
Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun.
Purchasable design from Nendo: Bo-bi mask (L), Natto Mark (Top Right) & Kona-shoyu container set (Bottom Right).
If architecture is what you're after, then the one place you need to visit will undoubtedly be the Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun in Nara prefecture. Not only did the architecture get a nod from Good Design Award this year, but it's also a train station with facilities that were reimagined to encourage local community revitalisation by providing a space for events, tourist information dissemination and leisure facilities for residents.
Inspired by ancient Japanese tombs, known as“cofun”, the 6,000 square meter area includes bicycle rentals, a cafe and other shops, an information kiosk, a play area, outdoor stage, and meeting area. To get there, just take the JR Sakurai Line from Nara Station to Tenri Station. It only takes 36 minutes and cost 210円.
So here's your brief report on Nendo's design as of 2017. If you'd like to find out more about Nendo's other designs this year, visit here.
Oki Sato, featuring his "Kawaii" concept sketches of Koeda coat stand for Cappellini.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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