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Published by Sugar & Cream, Monday 06 May 2024

Images courtesy of nendo

A Tribute to Nature and Its Intrinsic Beauty: The Celebration of a 20-year Story

During Milan Design Week 2024, nendo presents a solo exhibition with the evocative title nendo: whispers of nature, an invitation to observe nature from a new perspective and to celebrate the Japanese studio’s twentieth year of participation in the event.

Janto Wihardja & Nendo (Oki Sato) , Oki Sato at the exhibition

In the charming setting of Paola Lenti Milano, located at 28 Via Bovio from 16 – 21 April 2024, nendo explores and interprets the “whispers of nature” transforming them into works of art and design that fascinate and inspire. The exhibition aims to capture and interpret the ever-changing essence of clouds, by exploring the dance between light and shadow, the relentless flow of time, and the emotions evoked by rain. From this deep contemplation emerge five unique collections, seamlessly integrated into the journey begun by nendo twenty years ago, testifying their ability to blend design and nature into a single harmonious expression.

passing rain – crystallizing the moment of a passing rain
Capturing the transience of rain, by immortalizing a moment in time. nendo has created a series of five sculptural containers, passing rain, depicting the ephemeral beauty of rain. The drops descend delicately, transforming into a drizzle; the clouds fade and dissolve, leaving space for clear weather. This image painted by the nuances of the drops and the reflections of the sky captures the fugacity of a moment, represented by round containers supported by thin stainless steel stems. The ‘rain lines’, which form the structure of the object, are made using 2mm diameter stems that merge at the bottom with the carefully shaped reflective base, welded at controlled temperatures to preserve its integrity. Despite their minimal and suspended appearance, the five containers enjoy impeccable stability thanks to screws and special adhesives that seamlessly integrate with the design.

passing rain

The basin portraying the fall of the first drops, placed at the beginning of the progressive series, emerges as the most challenging to create due to the smaller number of supports used.

clustered clouds – translucent shelf system in the shape of grouped clouds
In the distance, clouds in the sky appear as white suspended entities; from the top of a plane or a mountain peak, the experience changes: the clouds transform into a blurred, translucent landscape.

clustered clouds

nendo was inspired by the shapes of clouds to create its clustered cloud shelf system made of perforated stainless-steel metal. The choice of material and the arrangement of the holes are calibrated to make the material almost imperceptible: the back panel is tilted 30 degrees to add depth to the design while mitigating the moiré pattern present where the metal overlaps. Geometric shapes within the volumes create empty spaces, creating a ‘volume of emptiness’ that evokes the essence of clouds.

pond dipping – textile patterns born from the “dip”
The seemingly simple act of dipping a spool into dye has given rise to unprecedented textile patterns, freeing decoration from the rigidity of design. nendo has created pond dipping, a series of six carpets characterized by evocative textile patterns generated by the dipping angle and the thickness of the spool used. To create each pattern, white threads were wound around the spools and partially immersed in black dye. As the spool was unwound, it became apparent that the color only partially adhered to the thread. Continuing with spools of various sizes, it was discovered that the gradual shift between dye frequency and weaving frequency generated a variety of textile patterns. Experimenting also with dipping the thread at different angles or in different portions, entirely new expressions emerged, such as checkerboard patterns and gradients. The process employed in this creation draws inspiration from the Japanese technique of “kasuri-ori,” where threads are partially masked during dyeing to produce a faded effect during weaving.

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This unconventional approach diverges from the traditional dyeing method, which favors detailed design planning at the expense of spontaneity and natural elements.

depth of soil – terrazzo with varying depths, expressing the accumulation of time
The earth’s stratifications, revealed along cliffs or during soil excavation, tell ancient stories through rocks and fossils: delving deep into the ground is akin to traveling back in time. nendo interprets the flow of time and the sedimentation of epochs with the concept of depth, bringing to life the depth of soil collection, composed of tables and chairs that evoke the shapes of ammonites. For each piece of furniture, nendo has layered six slabs of material decorated with a terrazzo-like effect. The Japanese studio worked individually on each slab, adorning it with transparent acrylic fragments cut by laser. The depth effect is achieved through the assembly of each element, while the connection to nature is emphasized by the inclusion, between one decoration and another, of evocative motifs of ammonites, trilobites, or fossils of plants and fish. Finally, a mixture of resin and plaster has concluded the production process, giving the furniture an enhanced tactility while maintaining a playful and geometric visual presence.

light and shade – mold and cast in the relationship of light and shadow
The interplay between light and shadow, where one defines the other, was the inspirational focus for nendo in creating light and shade, a furniture collection that explores this inseparable bond through the relationship between molding and casting. Each piece, from the chair to the table to the stool, arises from the interchangeability of roles between molds and casts, each serving a precise purpose: the mold of a chair becomes another chair, another mold becomes the base of a table, while its cast serves as a stool. Conversely, lamps, shelves, and clocks are created from the union of molds and casts, which simultaneously maintain their own identity through the choice of distinct materials and colors. The steel molds, coated in a translucent black hue, preserve the tactility of the metal, while the casts are finely finished with a matte white acrylic resin. This material contrast not only recalls the play of light and shadow essential to the project but also confers a unique visual cohesion to the entire collection.



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