Designer Feature: Nendo

January 10, 2019

Flos has a reputation for excellent and groundbreaking product design, owed largely to their penchant for collaborating with some of the world’s finest and most talented designers. One of these is Nendo, a design firm by Oki Sato. Based in Milan, Nendo is responsible for a broad range of different design branches. In the interior world, and specifically their work with Flos, they are most well known for the Sawaru and the Gaku table or floor lights. These two unique lights blur the line between accessory and light, pushing the inherent definitions used in product design. Read Oki Sato’s interview with Flos here.

When did you realize you wanted to be a designer? 
In 2002 I visited Milan’s Salone for the first time, and I remember being excited about the freedom and range of the designs shown in the exhibitions. Then and there I decided to create nendo. I am humbled by the journey I have experienced in my career since then, but my 12 year-old self will always be disappointed that he didn’t get the chance to be a pet store owner.

Oki Sato with his Sawaru Light

What is artificial light for you?
Artificial light should complement natural light, like wine to a delicious meal.

Why do you like working with Flos?
Working with Flos is like working with family. Sometimes during meetings, when excited, Piero Gandini will open a bottle of champagne, just like in a family dinner. This can sometime lead the conversation to a positive direction, and sometimes you just end up with a hangover.. This thrilling process and warm relationship is part of the excitement working with Flos.

Oki Sato at the Flos product stand in Milan with his Gaku Light

What is the next object you’d like to design?
I wish to design something that I can’t think of. If I can already imagine it, then it is less exciting for me. This is why I am always happy to hear Flos’s proposals as they constantly manage to surprise me and ignite my imagination.

The Sawaru Light can be adjusted to many different angles

Is there a great designer, artist or musician you regard as a point of reference for your work? 
The Japanese Manga series Doraemon has always inspired me in its ability to combine intuitive gadget designs with fun and friendly graphic appearance.

The Gaku Light is highly customizable and comes in LED, dimmable, magnetic and wireless varieties

Do you like to put a little irony in your objects? 
Definitely. I think design is supposed to have an effect on our feelings. It can be done by using nostalgia, humour, surprise and yes, even irony. They are all like spices in cooking: meant to enrich the flavour.

Where is the best sushi served in Milan? 
Sushi in Japan, Carpaccio in Milan.