May 7, 2012

Nendo, Nendo Everywhere

The New York Times - Home & Garden
By Julie Lasky

THE scale of the Milan Furniture Fair - 5.7 million square feet of the exhibition space in the main fairgrounds alone - would seem to ensure that no single design studio could stand out in the crowd. But this year, the Tokyo-based Nendo, which was founded in 2002 by Oki Sato, now 34, seemed to be everywhere.

On Via della Spiga, the Nilufar gallery showed tiny bowls made of glued sheets of paper lacquered and sanded to resemble wood. At Spazio Rossana Orlandi, LED-illuminated glass bulbs to which the blowers' pipes remained attached dangled from a chandelier produced by Lasvit. At Moroso's booth in Rho, thick white canvas looked tossed over the backs of metal-frame sofas and chairs: meet the upholstery. And at Established & Sons' display on Via Savona, a desk lamp called Hood tilted forward like a hawk. Nearby, bath fixtures for Bisazza in pale larch and gleaming white serenely dotted the space.

Nendo, all Nendo.

The bath collection was typically restrained. Bisazza produces glass tiles in flamboyant hues, but Mr. Sato chose transparent tiles for his mosaics, which he combined with Carrera marble to create a pattern of Japanese and European flowers. (He was raised in Canada until the age of 10 and routinely mixes East and West.)

"Transparency is not only making things disappear," he said. "When things disappear, you notice light and texture."

Nasir Kassamali, the chief executive of Luminaire, a furniture store in Coral Gables, Florida, praised Mr. Sato's precise eyes for proportions. "There's minimalism," he said. "And then there's intelligent minimalism."

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