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Japanese Design Team Nendo to Unveil Four New Designs and Prototypes
Blown-Color, Nendo. Photo: Masayuki Hayashi.

NEW YORK, NY.- The newest projects and prototypes from the renowned Tokyo-based design studio Nendo will be seen for the first time at the Museum of Arts and Design this October. From October 27 through January 10, 2010, Ghost Stories, New Designs from Nendo will transform the MADProjects Gallery on the Museum’s second floor into a magical landscape of new designs that imbue chairs, vases, and lamps with whimsy and optical illusion. Founded and led by Oki Sato, Nendo has garnered international attention and more than 45 design awards for its beautifully simple yet surprisingly humorous work in interiors, furniture, product design, graphics and architecture.

Ghost Stories: New Designs from Nendo, is the second exhibition in the MADProjects Gallery, which was launched in February 2009 with Totally Rad, a focused survey of the latest radiator designs, curated by Karim Rashid. Both timely and provocative, this ongoing program invites MAD curators, collaborators and leading voices in the field to explore emerging trends and innovations in design.

“Nendo’s breathtaking installation is an ideal fit for our MADProjects Gallery, which has become a spectacular space for us to showcase the newest, most original creations in design,” states Holly Hotchner, the Nanette L. Laitman Director of the Museum of Arts and Design. “In debuting Nendo’s latest projects and showing their prototypes, we are giving visitors a chance to see into the design process behind some of the most original, cutting-edge works.”

The exhibition will include four new designs, accompanied by prototypes and videos, that make imaginative use of new and traditional materials to surprise expectations:

• The “Fade-Out” chair, a simple rectangular chair made from wood with clear acrylic legs painted with trompe l’oeil wood grain. The pattern fades away on the lower part of the chair legs to create the impression that the chairs are floating in space.

• “Blown-Color” is an assembly of one-of-a-kind lamps made from Smash, a special polyester fabric that can be manipulated into different forms when heated and that retains its shape when cooled. The group created a series of lights in the style of vernacular Japanese chochin paper lanterns, but, rather than the traditional bamboo frame, the properties of Smash allowed Nendo to shape it like blown glass in one seamless piece.

• “Cord-Chair” is a super thin wooden side chair that appears flimsy and breakable, yet is sturdy and indefinitely strong thanks to its hidden aluminum skeleton.

• “Phantom-Waves” are a series of prototypes for a new vase. Each rectangular or cylindrical vase is constructed with polarized Mylar that creates the impression of solid horizontal discs that divide the vase into segments. The discs are, however, only an illusion caused by the polarized light—a flower stem or branch can be inserted “through” the seemingly solid disc, creating an intriguing illusion.

“So many products have been designed with only function in mind, it’s time to think more about the emotional response something evokes,” says Oki Sato, who named Nendo after a Japanese word for clay. “My inspiration is everyday life. I really enjoy those ‘Aha!’ moments—moments when something new or different gives you a pleasant surprise—and I want to share those moments with people.”

Museum of Arts and Design | Ghost Stories | Nendo | Karim Rashid |

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