DXB101 | Inspiring Designers

“I come up with my ideas from everyday life. Small differences hidden within the normal routine. They all become small starting points for all my projects. The smaller the better, to let it sneak into people’s minds and emotions.” ­– Oki Sato (Ponsford, M., 2016)

[Source: decotrending.wordpress.com]

The quotation above, from the award-winning, Canadian-born Japanese designer, Oki Sato, gives us a sneak peek into the creative thought process that has formed his overwhelming portfolio, (Xie, J., 2015). While he initially began studying to be an architect, Sato’s works have gone from furniture and interior design to TV commercials to chopsticks and chocolate, and have all been focused around his one design philosophy: “To transform people’s interactions with everyday objects by creating ‘small moments’ in everyday life”(Howarth, D., 2015), (Reyner, M., 2016). This international genius has merged both his geographic and artistic backgrounds together to cultivate what is now, among many other things, his own multifaceted design studio – Nendo. According to its founder, the name, translating to ‘modelling clay’, “changes form, shape and colour”, (Reyner, M., 2016). In an interview, he further revealed, “It’s the flexibility of designing things. I believe that when we work on so many different fields they influence each other,” (Dewolf, C., 2016). Sato utilises every speck of knowledge and creativity from his history to selectively construct an individual and architectural aesthetic.

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Oki Sato has become particularly inspiring to me, as he searches for smaller things that can develop to make big changes, (Dewolf, C., 2016). He has the ability to mix and match his perfected skills for a variety of creative and professional uses. Although my approach to design involves focusing completely on one thing at a time, this designer believes, “If I focus on only one or two projects, I can only think about one or two projects,”. He explained, “When I start thinking about working on close to 400 projects, it relaxes me,” (Howarth, D., 2015). This unique talent, over the past year, has resulted in Nendo’s team of 30 designers to refine over 100 creations for 19 different brands, (Howarth, D., 2015). Combining old techniques and materials with a modern, minimal and slightly quirky approach, Sato’s emphasis on adding his own touch of simplicity, function and beauty to everyday objects truly separates him from other designers. While for most, form follows function, for Oki Sato, form follows narrative.

“It’s about what kind of story you can find behind the object.” – Oki Sato (Dewolf, C., 2016)

Transitioning from the last homework task, we were asked this week to create another sandwich, portraying the most recognisable characteristics of our focus designer and their personal style. Summing Oki Sato down to only a few words, I would say: international, minimalistic, flexible and slightly quirky. In light of developing a tangible object with flavours and textures, his experience with creating unique chocolates and his immense use of the colour white would of course also have to be incorporated into the design. As a result, I came up with this design:

Reflecting the white, textured wall from his collection of interior works, I incorporated meringue as the focus of the sandwich. As Oki Sato epitomises the best of Japanese design, influenced by his personal nationality, I utilised this white canvas, as well as a red, circular cherry, to portray the Japanese flag from the top view. The form and overall aesthetic of the sandwich – minimalistic yet with an international and modern edge – is a precise depiction of Sato’s artistic approach. Lightly spread over the top, around the bottom, and in the centre of the sandwich, the small touches of chocolate resemble his ‘Chocolatexture’ range – a reminder of his involvement with numerous types of designs.

Each week in this subject is another opportunity to discover more about my personal aesthetic, and to continuously develop both my strengths and weaknesses as a ‘creative’. It is another week of considering why things are designed the way they are and what makes designers think the way they do. This week, in particular, was the week to focus on these concepts by researching and understanding the practices and history of another artist and drawing inspiration from their own methods.

Reference List

Christopher Dewolf. (29 May, 2016). Interview: Designer Oki Sato of Nendo. Accessed March 20, 2016, from The Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/articles/interview-designer-oki-sato-of-nendo-1401087570 

Dan Howarth. (28 April, 2015). Designing 400 projects at a time “relaxes me” says Nendo’s Oki Sato. Accessed March 21, 2016, from Dezeen:  http://www.dezeen.com/2015/04/28/interview-nendo-founder-oki-sato-addicted-to-design-milan-2015/ 

Decotrending. (20 February, 2016). Oki Sato. Accessed March 22, 2016, from Decotrending:  https://decotrending.wordpress.com/tag/oki-sato/

Jamila Pringle. (1 May, 2014). Oki Sato Launches An Intelligible Twist On Art With BoConcept. Accessed March 22, 2016, from Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/review/oki-sato-launches-an-intelligible-twist-on-art-with-boconcept 

Jenny Xie. (29 April, 2015. Meet Oki Sato, the Japanese Designer Who Prefers to Work on 400 Things at a Time. Accessed March 21, 2016, from Curbed:  http://www.curbed.com/2015/4/29/9965616/nendo-oki-sato-interview 

Matthew Ponsford. (5 August, 2016). Nendo: The Japanese studio making design fun again. Accessed March 20, 2016, from CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/30/design/oki-sato-nendo-design/ 

Max Reyner. (7 March, 2013). Oki Sato: Nendo. Accessed March 20, 2016, from Protein:  https://www.prote.in/profiles/oki-sato-nendo 


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