“Paper” or “Metal”? Nendo’s Works Leave You Guessing / 是紙還是金屬?Nendo作品讓人分不清


When I saw Nendo’s Watercolor series at Design Miami, I found myself once again in awe of this design studio.

看到Nendo在Design Miami 上推出的Watercolor水彩系列,我再一次為這家設計工作室的創造力所折服。

TEXT: Adrian Cheng 鄭志剛
IMAGES: Courtesy of Nendo


The series consists of eighteen pieces of metal furniture inspired by the seepage of watercolor paints on paper. In order to get the maximum “paper” effect, all of the works have been designed to look as if they were folded by hand. From a distance, they look light, thin and flexible, completely canceling out the metal feeling of weight and rigidity. The beautiful layered blues really are applied by hand. It takes care, patience and time to obtain such an effect.




Another series from Nendo that subverts the way materials are presented and explores the plasticity of objects is the Jellyfish Vase series, released at the 2017 Milan Design Week.

Nendo的另一組顛覆了材料呈現方式、探索了器物可塑性的作品是2017年在Milan Design Week上發布的Jelly Fish Vase水母花瓶。



The vases are made from ultrathin transparent silicon, and dyed twice to create colors that seem to float as mere shadows of color in the water. This series redefines the traditional relationships between flowers, water and vases—by softening the sense of the boundary of water within the vase, the vases and flowers are made to seem to drift in the water as an undifferentiated whole, rather than the flower inserted into a vase full of water, as we usually see.




Like their motto, “Giving people a small ‘!’ moment,” Nendo’s designs are always fascinating, minimalistic yet warm, a little moment of surprise in our lives.

像Nendo的宣言“Giving people a small ‘!’ moment”,他們的設計總是充滿情趣,極簡而不冷淡,是我們生活裏的驚喜瞬間。


Aside from their own designs, Nendo collaborates with many other brands, such as the Chinese designer brand ZAOZUO. Recently, they have also designed a series of thematic transforming cups with Japanese publisher diamond inc. According to founder and lead designer Oki Sato, the studio’s record for the most simultaneous projects is 400.

除此自己的設計之外,Nendo還大量與其他品牌合作,比如國內的設計師品牌“造作”。最近,他們甚至為日本一家出版商Diamond Inc的出版物設計了與主題相匹配的變形杯子。其創始人兼首席設計師Oki Sato佐藤大說,工作室曾有同時進行400個項目的記錄。



How many designers do you need to run 400 projects at the same time, and how do you maintain such high standards at that rate? When I learned that Nendo has only about thirty people in their studio, my delight turned to astonishment.



Nendo, which in the Japanese language means “clay,” is about ecology, plasticity, freedom, agility and flexibility. The studio’s growth has lived up to this meaning. Within three years, they opened an office in Milan, and went on to create even more possibilities.




“If I focus on only one or two projects, I can only think about one or two projects. When I start thinking about working on more projects, it relaxes me.” Oki Sato likens design to a top that must continually spin, or a fish that must swim constantly to stay alive, and says design is an addiction for him. For him, creativity spurs more creativity, so stopping is impossible, just like breathing.

「如果只做一兩個項目,那我的註意力就都集中在這兩個項目上,同時進行越多項目,我反而越放鬆。」Oki Sato把自己比喻成一個永遠在旋轉的陀螺、一條不游泳就會死去的魚以及一個對設計上癮的癮君子。對他來說,創意會激發更多創意,所以停下來是不可能的,就像呼吸一樣。


Anyone who treats the act of bringing the things you like to life as essential as breathing is bound to succeed. I think that, if all the young people who feel lost about their lives and futures can be like Oki Sato, finding their goals and relentlessly pursuing them, then even if they don’t end up like him, they will at least certainly be able to find joy and fulfillment.





Adrian Cheng is the art pioneer who founded the K11 Art Foundation (“KAF”), a non-profit art foundation in China to incubate young contemporary artists and curators to promote public art education. By providing young emerging artists with a local, regional and international platform to gain greater public awareness, Adrian is the new generation to represent the contemporary Chinese art scene.

Adrian is ranked among the ArtReview Power 100 list in both 2014 and 2015, and also ARTnews’ Top 200 collectors in 2015, as one of the contemporary art world’s most powerful figures. He is also a Board Member of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and member of the Interim Acquisition and M+ Museum Committee, a Board Member of the Public Art Fund of New York and MoMA PS1, Trustee of Royal Academy of Arts, Board Director of the National Museum of China Foundation, Director of CAFAM Funds of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Visiting Committee of the Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Member of International Circle of Centre Pompidou, Member of TATE’s International Council and Board Member of Asia Art Archive.

To follow Adrian Cheng on Social Media :
IG: @ac_kaf
WeChat : adrian_artdiary
Facebook Page: @K11 Art Foundation



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