Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Design Capital (including Nendo!)

Nendo's Oki Sato at Design Capital last week

I was very lucky to attend part of the State of Design Design Capital event last week... particularly as I managed to catch one of my all-time favourite international design heroes - Oki Sato of Japanese multidisciplinary design firm Nendo. I have written about Nendo before - I LOVE THEM.

Oki Sato was not at all the aloof, reserved man of few words you might have read about... he was utterly charismatic and entertaining, charmingly self deprecating - and nothing beats that Japanese/Canadian accent! I was completely smitten.

The best bits:

- Sato's cute hand-drawn timeline of his life and career to date, citing influences such a reading manga as a 6 yr old, and starting a job placement agency representing 500-600 students temp workers at age 22 ('I don't know why I did that').

- Observations Sato made at age 10 when his family moved from Canada to Japan - 'in Canada you can wear you shoes wherever you like... in Japan you have to take 4 pairs of shoes wherever you go'.

- Sato's story about creating fake shadows to accentuate his 1% product range at IFF Tokyo in 2006. Nendo had no budget for custom lighting for their booth... so instead Sato photographed the shadow of each piece, and covered the floor with a printed film mimicking these shadows thrown by spotlights. The effect is fantastic! Only one problem - everyone at the fair thought they were exhibiting lighting concepts and would photograph the ceiling rather than their furniture! More info here.

Nendo's 1% range shown at IFF Tokyo in 2006

I thought the 9 PAGES of notes I furiously scribbled down would best convey just how enthused I was by Sato's presentation, so I included them for you to decipher:

furious note-taking during Oki Sato's presentation

But it wasn't just Oki Sato who stole the show... Design Capital offered so many great speakers from all areas of design... it was a truly inspiring line-up. Michaela Webb of Studio Round was another stand-out for me. Her innovative, experimental approach and the idea of 'creating an experience' rather than just a graphic solution really spoke to me... I must profile this company in more detail at a later date... in the meantime their website is fabulous and so is their portfolio (check it OUT).

Design Capital goody bag - pamphlets, paper, stickers, and a copy of inside magazine... always love a good showbag.


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