Japanese designer Oki Sato, chief designer of Nendo studio, became famous all over the world thanks his inventions in furniture design, though he studied architecture in Japanese university Waseda in Tokyo. He is the creator of more than 300 projects in product and interior design, he got a lot of international design awards, and exhibited many times all over the globe. Oki Sato also is curator of many exhibitions and collections of his design objects are showed now in the most prominent international design museums. He designs nonstop and he kindly opened his design secrets to DesignGlob.
DG - I feel very happy once a week or two to receive an email with new project by Nendo. You are a very fast design creator. Tell me, please, how can you do new projects so fast? Do you catch every idea and put it into production?
- Yes, it's something like that. It's like a flow of ideas about product and interior design. One idea has come and then it multiplies. More and more ideas come afterwards in my mind. It’s like an eternal circle with a lot of ideas of product and interior design. I don’t even know how I manage them, because I do everything at the same time. I develop the idea of the object, I check the production of prototype and its construction, I meet my clients, I travel around the world every month and I understand every detail of all my 300 projects. It’s just a very hard work all the time.
DG - How many hours per day do you work?
- I work all the time, I don’t have a hobby, it’s my hobby, it’s what I like to do very much.
DG - Which aspect of design is the most interesting for you to work with? Is it work with the concept, or surface, or shape, or construction, or materials?
- It’s story telling, the story behind the object, it has to be a very small and short story. If we have a nice story, the rest will come easily and beautifully, I guess. We find very fast the colours, materials, technologies for production. It’s just like a magical glue, which keeps together all details. And I always think about the objects which give us a smile.
DG - How did you find stories to make smiles for Emeco and Baccarat?
- Oh, they are very different companies. Emeco is the company which is focused on creating functions. Baccarat is not about functions, it’s more about aesthetics and beauty itself, beauty of crystals. Emeco is concentrating on aluminium, and Baccarat is about crystals, it’s their strong points, their icons. In sense of the smile, I look at all elements created by Emeco and Baccarat and the best one was developed in a new smile” object. For Emeco the coin gives the chair it’s story and smile, and it’s the most complicated part of the work. For Baccarat, we investigated the process of cutting crystals and I changed the angle of cutting, but at the end we didn’t do too much. It’s very important for me to know all details about manufacturing and creating the object by every company we work with. And it’s also very important to communicate and exchange and discuss ideas. For example, also our interview is a very important one for me, because it’s design development by discussing ideas of design. Design is not only manufacturing process and sales, it’s more about communication of all parts of objects.
DG - You are a global designer, could you, please, point me out the authentic Japanese aspect of your design? I am very interested in authentic cultures.
- Oh, it’s simplicity, minimalism, people say that kind of things about my design. When you look at Japanese food or you read Japanese poetry, you see that it’s very small, simple, minimal, but it contains as much information in that small space as possible. As our poems contains deep meaning and giant sense of everything in life. It’s concentration on everything.
DG - What is innovation for you? What is your definition of innovation?
- It’s everything for me and every day. Innovation is what makes things going on, it’s always ongoing process. It’s about how you notice ordinary things, it’s about observation of things, and noticing boring things and feeling what is really interesting. I think that is innovation for me. Many people ask me what fire me the most, but the things which fire me the most, don’t fire the most of other people. So boring things fire me mostly, and I just change them a little and they become extremely interesting. And people say: why didn’t we think about doing like that?
DG - For example, like what you did with the chocolate – chocolate tubes?
- Oh, yes, I think good design is something that you can say by phone, it should be very simple and stupid ideas, changed just a little.
DG - What is trends for you?
- Oh, I think that trends is media sphere of responsiblity, you should think about that and analyze them. For example, the coin for the Emeco chair could be a trend if somebody will use it in design of another object. And if three designers use blue this year, then we can say that blue is in trend.