this year’s designer of the year title for maison & objet 2015 went to japanese designer oki sato and founder of studio nendo. nendo was asked to design ‘the chocolate lounge’ for the paris trade fair. the studio also created a range of nine chocolate shapes within a 26-millimetre cube. designapplause talks to oki.
[designapplause] oki, the solution is both flat out unadulterated and inspiring as usual. how did the chocolate factory turn out for you?
[ oki sato ] maison awarded us best designer of the year and gave us a space and asked us to create something. that was in november and you know how, we’re very happy for the recognition and what are we now going to do. we thought of the idea of not only touching and feeling the design but actually eating it. hence the concept of using all five senses. the flavor of the chocolate is all the same but interestingly the tastes are different due to the different shapes and textures. we also added the concept of the lounge and we called guilio cappellini, desalto and morosso, companies who have commissioned us and they created limited chocolate colored editions of our design, a soft form like a meltable form. maybe we put a little pressure on them too. then we hand-painted aluminum pipes and cut them to different heights so it feels like you’re sitting in this melting pot of chocolate.
[da] so these 11th hour deadlines work. oki what’s next?
[os] yes, in some cases they do (laughing). and ron, maybe we’ll talk to you in chicago in june at neocon for some new things to talk about.
the chocolates have been named after various japanese expressions
1> ‘tubu-tubu’ – comprised of small chocolate drops.
2> ‘sube-sube’ – with smooth edges and rounded corners.
3> ‘zara-zara’ – rough and granular like a file.
4> ‘toge-toge’ – projecting sharp pointed tips.
5> ‘goro-goro’ – a composition of fourteen connected small cubes.
6> ‘fuwa-fuwa’ – soft and airy with the presence of many tiny holes.
7> ‘poki-poki’ – a cube frame made of chocolate sticks.
8> ‘suka-suka’ – a hollow cube with thin walls.
9> ‘zaku-zaku’ – featuring alternately placed thin chocolate rods forming a cube.
the space is furnished with nendo’s previous seat designs for brands including cappellini, desalto, emeco, glas italia, moroso and offecct. these chairs are custom-colored to match the chocolates and surrounded by 2,000 aluminum 8mm thick pipes painted in brown gradations to form ‘a rippling large molten chocolate wave’. a limited edition of 400 boxes were on sale at the lounge.
previous recipient’s of maison & object’s designer of the year award have included barber and osgerby, the campana brothers and tom dixon. installation images courtesy of nendo with photography by joakim blockstrom – packaging photos by akihiro yoshida.