After completing his Master of Architecture degree at Tokyo’s Waseda University in 2002, Sato and a group of friends took a trip to Milan. While attending a furniture fair, Sato’s perspective of an architect shifted. “Ten years ago in Japan, architects were only supposed to design houses,” he explained in an interview with the New York Times. “But in Milan, we noticed that everyone was designing very freely. That was the way we wanted to work.” After returning to Tokyo, Sato and his friends co-founded Nendo (which means modeling clay). A multidisciplinary design and architecture house, Nendo was a place for Sato and company to design as freely as they pleased.
Today, Nendo is one of the most prolific contemporary design studios (producing over 100 products in 2015). Sato leads Nendo into unexpected realms of design while staying honest to a functional and approachable aesthetic.
“My designs are very simple and very minimal,” Sato explained to the New York Times. “but I don’t want them to be too cold. I like them to have a friendliness and playfulness, and a sense of humor.” An almost whimsical approach is imbued into little hidden facets of Nendo’s design, instilling an aspect of delight into the everyday. As the company website states, “That’s Nendo’s job.”
Written by Sheila Lam
Headline photo (Seven Doors detail) by Akihiro Yoshida
Images courtesy of Nendo