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Elle Decor Italia

Nendo’s exhibition at Design Museum Holon

Curator Maria Cristina Didero presents the first large-scale retrospective exhibition of Japanese studio Nendo


‘In the Shade’ is a site specific installation comprising a sequence of five free-standing screens, created by Nendo in collaboration with Glas Italia and Caesarstone and commissioned by Design Museum Holon


Nendo on display: from June 7 to October 31st 2016 the Design Museum Holon, Israel, presents first-ever large-scale retrospective exhibition of Japanese studio Nendo, founded by Oki Sato in 2002. The exhibition, titled The Space in Between, features both old and new pieces providing an extensive survey of the works of one of the most versatile designers worldwide.

We talked on the subject with the exhibit’s curator Maria Cristina Didero.

Maria Cristina Didero, the curator of the exhibition ‘Nendo – The Space in Between’, on display until 31 October 2016

Whence came the idea to investigate ‘the space in between’ Nendo’s projects?
My first care was that of bringing order to Oki Sato’s extremely prolific work – a necessary move which enabled me to illustrate his achievements up to nowadays. I wanted to investigate the space in between, that seemingly void portion of light and air between objects in which Nendo has nevertheless managed to intervene, finding an ideal frame to collect and organize the selected items.

The Black Lines table is included in the exhibit section Between Boundaries. Image courtesy of Nendo, photography by Masayuki Hayashi

A sketch of Thin Black Lines, a 2010 project by Nendo

Is that the reason why the exhibition is divided into 6 sections?
It is a narrative expedient. For the category Between Processes, for example, we selected a champagne wooden bucket Nendo never thought he could ever showcase at an exhibition which is nevertheless particularly meaningful within this context. Together with the Inhale Lamp he designed for Lasvit, it was one of the first pieces to achieve worldwide visibility. Then there are the exhibit’s further sections: Between Textures, Between Boundaries, Between the Object, Between Relationships and Between Senses. As Oki Sato said, this is Nendo’s first-ever ‘museum-like’ exhibition, which, after Design Museum Holon, is due to travel the world to tell the story of Nendo’s unique experience.

‘Rain Bottle’, a 2014 project presented in the section Between Senses, illustrates the different meanings of the word ‘rain’ in Japanese. Image credit to Hiroshi Iwasaki

Let’s talk about the showcased pieces.
There are more than 70 items - we had to make a choice. We selected the most representative ones, some extremely well-known and some others less familiar to the public. There’s practically nothing Oki Sato couldn’t actually draw, and he does it in the best imaginable fashion, be it chocolates, eyewear, cups or bookstores. We played with objects of different size and categories, grouping together completely different items. The exhibition features, moreover, a special project titled In the Shade, commissioned to Nendo by Design Museum Holon and now included in the museum’s permanent collection. A site-specific installation featuring a sequence of five free-standing screens made from Israeli Caesarstone and Italian glass (Glass Italia), an innovative material that evokes the peculiar light of Israel’s desert.

'Triangle' roomshoes, designed for by | n in 2015, included in the section Between Relationships. Image credit to Akihiro Yoshida

Blown glass lamp ‘Inhale’ created for Lasvit in 2012, on display in the section Between Processes. Image credit to Yoneo Kawabe

What can you tell us about the publication that accompanies Nendo’s exhibition?

It is a substantial book surveying the 6 sections of the show through the words of six different authors (British gallerist Libby Sellers among them). In addition to my curatorial text concerning that fictitious space between objects left to light and air, on which Nendo’s design so masterly intervenes, there is also my interview with Oki Sato: a piece I quite enjoyed writing, consisting of 30 straight questions which try to illustrate the man rather than his work.

Section Between Textures: ‘Soft’ Tables designed for Glas Italia in 2015. Image credit to Kenichi Sonehara

And what did you learn about him?

Some things were already known, others far less. Oki Sato spends a lot of time with his dog. Manga comics are among his inspiration sources. His aim is to make people think and even smile, creating beautiful design objects that make people feel good. I even asked him the color of his underwear. Can you guess? Black!

A portrait of Japanese designer Oki Sato, to whom the Design Museum Holon has dedicated the retrospective exhibition ‘Nendo – The Space in Between’. Photo by Foto by Shay Ben Efraim

Section Between Processes, Cabbage Chair (2008). Image credit to Masayuki Hayashi




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