Nendo, one of the most talented Japanese design firms working today, has sent us images of a table that'll debut at the Milan furniture fair in a couple weeks, and it's a stunner — a triumph of optical illusion. It looks like wood frozen in ice.
To make it, Nendo cast clear acrylic in a form taken from a heavy-grain wood plank, repeated, then assembled the resulting pieces to produce a table top of so-called "transparent wood."
Oki Sato, who heads the firm Nendo, is one brightest talents in a new generation of Japanese minimalist designers. His designs have seldom been seen in the U.S.—but that changes with "Ghost Stories: New Works from Nendo," a new show at New York's Museum of Art and design which runs through January 10.
Designers are rebelling against the notion of pristine objects. This year at Milan's Furniture Fair, that trend is on full display. But it's actually an ancient idea. For hundreds of years, Japan's dominant aesthetic has been wabi sabi, which values the impermanent, imperfect, and incomplete. You know wabi sabi, if you've ever been to Japan or seen Japanese design—it's the rationale behind the mottled, asymmetric design in traditional houses, pottery, and gardens.
There’s Toyota and Nissan and Sony and Nintendo. Next, there may be Inaba, Monacca, Satsuma, and Kawaguchi i-mono.Those companies are among the few dozen that recently auditioned for prime time in the West at an exhibit in New York.
The Japan Brand: Unfolding show at the Felissimo Design House was designed to showcase indigenous brands from the 30 distinct regions of Japan. These are contemporary products ranging from furniture to cookware, home accessories to eyewear (including the manufacturer of Sarah Palin’s eyeglasses!) that are largely unavailable in the U.S.
Contemporary products from Japan's 30 distinct regions recently were on display in New York as a test to see which had the mojo to make it in the West. Most of these products had never been seen outside of Japan. But the ones that garnered the best audience reception are likely to eventually find themselves on a store shelf near you.