Nine to Know | Oki Sato’s Defining Pieces

  • HERO IMAGE Courtesy of Hansgrohe
  • PRODUCT EDITOR Brigitte Craig
  • WORDS Holly Beadle
  • We pay homage to Japanese architect and designer Oki Sato’s most influential pieces.

    The Detail pages inside our 47th issue put a lens on five famed designers and the products they’re known for. Joining the ranks was Oki Sato, founder of Tokyo-based design studio Nendo. Regarded as a pioneer of modern design, Oki’s work has been described as playful, poetic, and profound. His unique design philosophy, which emphasises simplicity, functionality, and attention to detail, has resulted in collaborations with some of the world’s most well-known designers and brands – including Georg Jensen, Flos, and Swarovski.

    This feature originally appeared in The Detail pages of est magazine issue 47: Creative State of Mind (pp. 202-213).

    DePadova Ishi Table

    Embodying Oki’s penchant for playful yet functional design is the Ishi coffee table, which he envisioned for Italian furniture brand DePadova. Whimsical in its presentation, the table features a glass top supported by eleven sculpted wood shapes.

    Nendo Cabbage Chair

    Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake challenged Nendo to design a piece of furniture out of the pleated paper leftover from the mass production of pleated fabric. Oki found a new use for the waste material by transforming a roll into a small chair, which emerges by carefully peeling back one layer at a time. Resins added during the paper’s initial production strengthen the form, while the pleats themselves offer elasticity and resilience.

    Swarovski Soft Pond Tray

    Austrian crystal jewellery brand Swarovski collaborated with Nendo to design a series of crystal trays for their home collection “Atelier Swarovski Home”. Designed to emulate large bodies of water, the trays comprise different thicknesses – and therefore different saturations – of blue-hued crystal to convey a feeling of depth.

    Gebrüder Thonet Vienna GmbH Single Curve Barstool

    The GmbH single curve barstool, designed for the Austrian reincarnation of the famed Thonet company, Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, is imbued with Nendo’s signature Japanese minimalist style.

    Glas Italia Deep Sea Coffee Table

    For Italian glass furniture brand Glas Italia, Oki designed a coffee table from individual pieces of coloured transparent glass. As the distance between the pieces decreases, the intensity of the hue increases; this, combined with the mirrored base, creates a sense of depth and intrigue.

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