Meet Oki Sato

Every year a celebrated international designer is creating a lounge in the entrance to Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair. This year the project was accomplished by Oki Sato, Chief Designer and founder of Nendo Design Studio. Oki Sato has been called the 21st century’s most ingenious designer. He was born in Toronto in 1977, but spent a large part of his life in Tokyo and where he studied architecture. He is now a star in the design world and has worked with Cappellini, Swedese, De Padova, Foscarini and many others.

Nendo-Oki Sato

oki sato Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair

For Sato, the simplest ideas and the smallest designs create the most unusual experiences. In one of his most famous projects, a roll of pleated paper, often by-products of Issey Miyake clothing, unravels to become Cabbage, a chair that is as beautiful as comfortable.

oki sato Cabbage Chair

nendo cabbage chairs

Another Nendo’s extraordinary project, Hanabi lamp made from shape-memory alloy, opens up like a flower shortly after being turned on; heat from the bulb causes the metal to spread its tendrils. And the inspiration for this design came from a glass of iced tea.

“I was sitting in a cafe by myself, which I usually do on the weekends,” Sato explains, “having a glass of iced tea. The ice started melting, and then it moved and made that sound—do you know what I mean? Like when the ice starts to slide. It made that sound and I started thinking, ‘Couldn’t I design something that would move or change according to a change of temperature?’

“Then I remembered there was a metal, ‘shape-memory alloy,’ and if I could set the alloy’s position according to the temperature of the lightbulb, I could make a lamp that would ‘bloom’ when the lightbulb changed temperature. It was very natural, and it wasn’t inspired from the material itself—the story was there first, and then I found materials that would match the story.” (

oki sato 2

Newsweek magazine named Oki Sato one of the world’s “100 Most Respected Japanese People” in 2006 and honored the firm in 2008 as one of the “Top 200 Small Japanese Companies.” Most recently Sato earned the title of “Designer of the Year” by both Wallpaper* and Elle Decor magazines.

oki sato 1

nendo 4

nendo 1



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