Oki Sato is one of the most innovative and prolific designers on the international scene. Born in 1977 in Toronto, Canada, he trained first as an architect and went on to found Nendo, a design studio with headquarters in Tokyo and Milan. Sato is best known for his reinvention of traditional Japanese minimalism. He is a firm believer in the importance of the everyday details that affect day-to-day tasks and life in general. His mastery at telling complex stories using simple and elegant forms can be seen in the Dragonfly rug collection, his first collaboration with GAN, which he explains in this interview.
When did your collaboration with GAN begin?
Our paths crossed in 2012.
How did you get the idea of this collection?
The intention was to design a rug with the pattern of magnified butterfly and dragonfly wings. Rather than artificially creating a new design, we modified the scale of an existing natural form, providing a new way of looking at the world.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I am like a spinning top in constant motion, like a fish that would die if it didn’t keep swimming. 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 400 projects, it relaxes me.
Could you illustrate your design philosophy?
It is all about giving people a “small moment”. There are so many small moments hidden in our everyday. But we don’t recognize them. And even when we do recognize them, we tend to unconsciously reset our minds and forget what we’ve seen.
But we believe these small moments are what make our days so interesting, so rich. That’s why we want to reconstitute the everyday by collecting and reshaping them into something that’s easy to understand.
We’d like the people who’ve encountered Nendo’s designs to feel these
small moments intuitively. That’s Nendo’s job.
Awarded with the Designer of the Year by British magazine Wallpaper, Oki Sato’s creations can be seen in the most prestigious museums like: Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA), Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris or the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.