Japanese design house Nendo has been busy experimenting with front doors. But these aren’t normal doors. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Abe Kogyo, a fabled manufacturer of wooden doors for homes, Nendo has designed a collection of seven odd, almost surrealist, doors. Doors that break apart into tessellated wire frames of themselves, for example, or magnetic doors you can hang shelves on.
Appropriately enough, the collection is called Seven Doors. If there’s a common theme, it’s that these designs challenge us to re-examine the very idea of the entryways in our lives. They are:
• Wall — A door covered with shelves and picture frames, becoming an extension of a household wall. The door has been carefully designed that it can still be opened and closed, even though shelves and frames overlap the jamb.
• Hang — A door fitted with an internal magnetic sheet, allowing you to attach accessories like trays, dust bins, flower pots, vases, and other containers…. or, you know, slap your refrigerator magnets all over it.
• Baby — Paraphrased, the idea here seems to be: “What if babies had their own door to enter a house?” Just use the doggy door, kid.
• Kumiko — Named after the Japanese technique of assembling wooden lattices without nails, this tessellated door gradually assembles it from the lower-right corner upwards into a smooth, uninterrupted surface.
• Lamp — A door and a lighting fixture in one. The lamp is powered using the same wiring techniques used in electronic locks.
• Slide — Like a window blind, the idea behind this door is that it contains various panels which can be slid out of the way. To identify who’s ringing your bell, for example, or to let some light or breeze through.
• Corner — This one’s my favorite. It’s a door built right into a corner. It’s clever in a Willy Wonka sort of way already, but Nendo says the design has an unexpected benefit: the corner design makes it slightly easier for people in wheelchairs to get through the door.
None of these doors are available for sale, but Nendo claims they still shouldn’t be dismissed as one-off products. The Seven Doors collection has already inspired Abe Kogyo’s engineers, who are looking into adapting some of Nendo’s ideas and innovations for the consumer market.