Nendo is a Japanese design firm founded in 2002 by Oki Sato, that works on design projects globally. The first office was situated in Tokyo. In 2005, the second office was established in Milan. Nendo is known for its simple and minimalist design with subtle influences from Japanese, and Scandinavian aesthetics.
air lids by nendo
gacha gacha coffee by nendo
The name Nendo, is “clay” in Japanese. It is this shape-shifting nature of the enjoyable medium that reflects the values of the company — expressing qualities of flexibility and ability to reinvent oneself.
Nendo’s work centers around simplistic, clever concepts adapted to the design of furniture, architecture, household products, and art objects. Being multi-faceted, Nendo is constantly creating innovative works & concepts – works that bring a sense of delightfulness, are truly unique, intuitive, and experiential.
air lids by nendo
cup noodle THE FORK by nendo
It is the transformation and innovation of such common, everyday products that make nendo’s works so outstanding.
There will always be new ideas, but these don’t come easy. Reaching a creativity plateau might happen sometimes but this was not the case for nendo. As a fellow designer who appreciates and adores their work – this has led me to question, why are they so special?
Their designs are essentially the epitome of these “!” moments. Having to recognize the small moments, focusing on intuitive experiences and incorporating an emotional element into their designs are what creates these ” ! ” .
Another aspect that I appreciate is how nendo communicates their design through sketches. These sketches are so simple yet effective, seamlessly explaining their ideas. It is clear and easy to understand.
Drop, ‘dancing sqaures’ bookshelf by nendo
Rolling table by nendo
“A good idea has to be something that you can tell your mother or a small child who knows nothing about design. If she thinks it’s interesting, I think that’s good design.”
– OKI SATO
Lastly, as creatives, there is so much to learn from them. Their approach to design – designing transformative, innovative and intuitive experiences. Their “designer spirit” – to be inspired by many things around us, to be constantly curious and open to new ideas. And in the future, to leverage on a multi-disciplinary team, bringing together different skill sets that complement each other.
Ft.com. 2018. Nendo’S Oki Sato: ‘Good Design Is Something You Can Explain To Your Mother’. [online] Available at: <https://www.ft.com/content/ecabef1c-35ff-11e8-8eee-e06bde01c544> [Accessed 5 October 2020].
Hobson, B., 2013. Movie With Oki Sato Of Nendo On Sketching. [online] Dezeen. Available at: <https://www.dezeen.com/2013/07/29/movie-oki-sato-nendo-my-sketches-are-really-bad/> [Accessed 5 October 2020].
Liao, A. (2012). Reshaping the everyday: a Q&A with Oki Sato, of Nendo.(LAST WORD)(Interview). Kitchen & Bath Business, 59(5), 56.
nendo. n.d. Nendo – Concept. [online] Available at: <http://www.nendo.jp/en/concept/> [Accessed 5 October 2020].
Amongst the many concepts that quantum theory displayed, some of them which I identified were quantum mechanics, quantum cosmology, quantum entanglement and superposition.
Quantum mechanics: Quantum mechanics is the body of scientific laws that describe the wacky behaviour of photons, electrons and the other particles that make up the universe. It also describes the forces of nature at the smallest scales.
Quantum cosmology: Quantum cosmology is the attempt in theoretical physics to develop a quantum theory of the Universe. This approach attempts to answer open questions of classical physical cosmology, particularly those related to the first phases of the universe. It also links to the roots of mythological beliefs from many cultures.
Quantum entanglement: Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon which occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the other, even when the particles are separated by a large distance.
Superposition: Quantum superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics. It states that, much like waves in classical physics, any two (or more) quantum states can be added together (“superposed”) and the result will be another valid quantum state; and conversely, that every quantum state can be represented as a sum of two or more other distinct states.
– being in different states at once
– being at more than one place at the same time
CONCEPT 1: THE COSMIC EGG
For this particular concept, I focused on an idea rather abstract. When I was researching about quantum theory, I chanced upon, quantum cosmology, where it states that it attempts to answer open questions of classical physical cosmology, particularly those related to the first phases of the universe. So I thought, what were the first phases of the universe? It turns out that many cultures had the belief that the beginning of the universe and birth of life started from an egg, hence “the world egg/cosmic egg”. As absurd as it sounds right now, it was the belief of several cultures during the primeval times.
As this concept contradicts modern ways of defining the birth of the universe, I want to highlight the juxtaposition and duality in the attitudes towards evolution – myth vs. math. As it is also rather ironic that something so organic, the blooming of life, is now replaced by mathematical equations, scientific theories and hypothesises.
“What is the form of the universe? The questions of what the universe is, where it came from, what it evolves towards, and how it relates to human existence—are now answered in terms of morphology as they arise from Plato’s forms and Sheldrake’s work, but mostly by genetics itself. “The Cosmic Egg” introduces a “mechanics of form”, where every form (natural or manmade) has a minimum and a maximum, including the universal form, and where form can thus be mathematically defined. Now, all our ancient questions are quite easily answered, unsolvable paradoxes understood, the ultimate puzzle laid out to show the universe as organismic and as intimately relating to the human form! The “Cosmic Egg” unifies physics with biology, with metaphysics, with legend, and all other human observation about reality. It spells the end of mechanistic models of reality, and the beginning of a truly meaningful science that is principally the study of life. The “Cosmic Egg” unifies our existing paradoxes by offering the simplest possible reason for existence itself, the simplest of all possible truths.”
– by Fritz Blackburn
Upon researching the different cultures that have a common belief of the cosmic egg, 2 cultures that piqued my interest was the Greek and Polynesian mythology. Although both believe that the start of the universe began with an egg, Greek mythology was about the creation of Gods and Goddesses. Whereas, the Polynesian mythology’s focused on Vari, the female spirit which symbolises growth and feminity. A parallel seen in the Polynesian mythology is basically birth in human beings – the evolution of human beings and growth in human. The universe is just a larger scale of that very same concept of evolution and growth.
The Cosmic Egg Juxtaposition and duality in the attitudes towards the universe’s evolution – myth vs. math
I feel that these videos share a certain visual quality that reminds me of the organic yet, mathematical aspect of the universe’s evolution
This is the general mood board for the first concept. However, the Greek and Polynesian mythology both have different styles. The anatomy as motifs and more organic forms would be more suitable if I were to go ahead with the Polynesian mythology as the theme. On the other hand, Sonia Lazo’s illustrations are more majestic, whimsical and playful at the same time, suitable for the intepretations of the Greek mythology.
CONCEPT 2: THE MULTIVERSE
For this concept, I mainly focused on superposition and entanglement as I feel that they epitomize the quantum theory. The multiverse is a hypothetical group of multiple universes including the universe in which we live. Together, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, and the physical laws and constants that describe them. The different universes within the multiverse are called “parallel universes”, “quantum realities”, or “alternative universes”.
There are five plausible scientific theories suggesting we live in a multiverse:
1. Infinite Universes In a way, a multitude of universes exists next to each other in a giant patchwork quilt of universes. [Visualizations of Infinity: A Gallery]
2. Bubble Universes In some of these bubble universes, the laws of physics and fundamental constants might be different than in ours, making some universes strange places indeed.
3. Parallel Universes Another idea that arises from string theory is the notion of “braneworlds” — parallel universes that hover just out of reach of our own.
4. Daughter Universes The theory of quantum mechanics, which reigns over the tiny world of subatomic particles, suggests another way multiple universes might arise. Quantum mechanics describes the world in terms of probabilities, rather than definite outcomes. And the mathematics of this theory might suggest that all possible outcomes of a situation do occur — in their own separate universes. For example, if you reach a crossroads where you can go right or left, the present universe gives rise to two daughter universes: one in which you go right, and one in which you go left.
5. Mathematical Universes Scientists have debated whether mathematics is simply a useful tool for describing the universe, or whether math itself is the fundamental reality, and our observations of the universe are just imperfect perceptions of its true mathematical nature. If the latter is the case, then perhaps the particular mathematical structure that makes up our universe isn’t the only option, and in fact all possible mathematical structures exist as their own separate universes. (https://www.space.com/18811-multiple-universes-5-theories.html)
“If space-time goes on forever, then it must start repeating at some point, because there are a finite number of ways particles can be arranged in space and time.
So if you look far enough, you would encounter another version of you — in fact, infinite versions of you. Some of these twins will be doing exactly what you’re doing right now, while others will have worn a different sweater this morning, and still, others will have made vastly different career and life choices.”
This excerpt was really interesting to me and it shows the infinite possibilities of the universe. Relating back to quantum theory, it also resembles the superposition and entanglementconcepts.
From 1:12 min onwards
Superposition and entanglement really reminded me of the recent spiderman movie, where they reveal several spidermen from different universes, all taking up different states and form.
This movie, Coherence, is a movie that draws inspiration from the superposition and entanglement concept – also, Schrödinger’s cat. In the movie, 8 friends reunite at a dinner party when a comet passes and they must deal with strange occurrences following the comet sighting. The friends realize the other house is an alternate of theirs and met copies of themselves. (to continue, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coherence_(film))
For my second concept, the mood board consists more of geometrical and warped elements, vectors, dimensional objects. To express the concept of superposition and entanglement, and the multiverse, I feel that the elements must be similar, yet portraying different “states”.
About the artists Music Hackspace is a London based community for innovators and hobbyists passionate about music technology and sound art. Organises regular DIY workshops and events. Tim Murray-Brown, who led his team to create The Cave of Sounds, is a composer in residence at the Music Hackspace as a part of Sound and Music’s embedded composer scheme. His work focuses on interactive sound, particularly public installations that provide people with a space to explore and discover without being told what to do (musichackspace, 2018).
Interactivity, as described, is the reciprocal exchange between the viewer and the artwork, the ability to manipulate media and objects intuitively and with immediacy. In this Hyperessay, the main topic focuses on interactive media and participation and I will be analysing the relationship of movement to sound, using interactive media to recreate historical experiences and the idea of indeterminacy.
The Cave of Sounds (2012), a collaboration between eight artists from Music Hackspace and by Tim Murray-Browne, is an interactive sound installation exploring the power of music to bind individuals together and the visceral urge to use technology to broadcast our identity. Inspired by the prehistoric origins of music, the work is formed of eight original musical instruments, arranged in a circle facing inwards, each of which can be played by intuition and by the audience itself.
In this unique piece, each instrument has been designed and created by an individual (from the team) as an embodiment of their own artistic practice, but also to exist together as a new ensemble. The eight instruments are as follows (via The Cave of Sounds):
In the hands of the audience, the work is crafted to provoke participants to connect and resonate with each other through musical expression. Software linking the instruments gently adjusts their sounds to converge musically as well as detecting musical connections between participants and visualising them onto a central projection (thecaveofsounds, 2012).
With the instruments, there are endless possibilities as participants are given the freedom to choose any instrument and play it as and when they like. With that, this piece of work becomes an ultimate collaborative ensemble and transcends traditional methods of music making – from movement to sound, from technology to prehistoric sounds. The sound translated from the movement of the audience broadcasts their identity and reflects the behaviouristic qualities of them – the choice of instrument, the method in which they play the instrument and the duration they play it for. The boundaries between instrument creator, composer, performer and audience are increasingly blurred as the audience have now, the highest control over the ensemble, determining the outcome. The audiences’ role are paramount as, without them, there is no ensemble and this sort of interactivity is similar to a dialogue, where it shows reciprocal exchange and immediacy initiated from their actions.
Using Interactive Media to Recreate Historical Experiences
The Cave of Sounds also explores the juxtaposition of prehistoric music and interactive media. It uses both to connect the audiences within the space, providing an immersive and new experience. It is ironic, yet unique, that an ensemble of prehistoric sounds can be replicated, reimagined and re-experienced in a whole new modern context with technology. Who would have ever thought that hitting wooden drums or playing an old flute can be translated into buttons, sensors and actions? Thus, The Cave of Sounds is one interactive piece which explores sounds that strongly replicates an era far from today. The advancement of technology has enabled us to bring us to the past and has enabled us to familiarize and experience concept almost impossible to be realized and heard (music from the prehistoric era).
As we all know, interactive media with participation is no musical or ordinary staged performance – it is very real, intimidating, personal, chaotic and free. The Cave of Sounds is exemplary as it involves the audience to create an ensemble as they play their chosen instrument amongst the other participants. A preceding example of such interactive media would be Jon Cage’s Variation V (1965), where, in this audio-visual performance, sounds created are affected by movement. The dancers’ movements are triggered by photocells, which triggers waves of sounds and also the projections on-screen (medienkunstnetz, 2018).
Variation V (1965) by Jon Cage (via medienkunstnetz)
Similar to Jon Cage’s Variation V (1965), chance techniques are used to avoid the habitual tendencies of deterministic musical composition. This embraces entropy. Although both artists have chosen the types of sounds, textures and objects, the specific musical sequence of sounds was left to chance. This degree of interactivity in the musical composition process enables a shift of control and creative decision from the artist to the audience and process. Both Variation V and The Cave of Sounds demonstrates the idea of indeterminacy by creating unpredictable, indeterminate relationships between music, dance, image and movement. And because of this indeterminacy, these interactive pieces are always in a continuous state of transformation, never finished, always changing and not an absolute finality in its realization.
It is also apparent from both examples, that there is a continuum, or in fact, an evolution in interactive media. In Variation V, as much as the performers were also the artists, composers and dancers that make up the entire performance, typical audiences lacked the freedom to be in it. Thus, this separates it from The Cave of Sounds, where audiences can freely include themselves in the piece, creating more entropy. Tadeo Sendon, a sound a digital artist, responses to this aspect, saying, “Although music plays a greater role in our lives than ever before, creating music is an activity often limited to trained professionals. Made up of a set of newly conceived musical instruments, The Cave of Sounds seeks to disrupt the boundaries between performer and audience. Regardless of training, visitors are invited to actively participate and experiment with new ways of creating and connecting with each other through sound.” (Sendon, 2018). This form of participation is more commonly seen today with interactive media artists, as our technology today has made ideas more concise and user-friendly. From Roy Ascott’s “Behavioral Art and the Cybernetic Vision,” he mentioned that the aspect of creative participation is an inclusive form of art, with a basic principle of “feedback. And this loop makes the artist/artwork/observer an integral whole. This important quality of participation and interaction is exemplary in The Cave of Sounds.
The Cave of Sounds, a collaboration between eight artists from Music Hackspace and led by Tim Murray-Browne, is an interactive sound installation exploring the power of music to bind individuals together and the visceral urge to use technology to broadcast our identity. Inspired by the prehistoric origins of music, the work is formed of eight original musical instruments, arranged in a circle facing inwards, each of which can be played by intuition and by the audience itself.
Created during a ten month residency at the Music Hackspace, each instrument has been designed and created by an individual as an embodiment of their own artistic practice, but also to exist together as a new ensemble.
In the hands of its audience, the work is crafted to provoke participants to connect and resonate with each other through musical expression. Software linking the instruments gently adjusts their sounds to converge musically as well as detecting musical connections between participants and visualising them onto a central projection. The Cave of Sounds also explores the juxtaposition of prehistoric music and modern interactive technology. It uses both to connect the audiences within the space, providing an immersive and new experience.
With the instruments, there are endless possibilities as participants are given the freedom to choose any instrument and play it as and when they like. With that, this piece of work becomes an ultimate collaborative ensemble – from movement to sound, from technology to prehistoric sounds. The boundaries between instrument creator, composer, performer
and audience are increasingly blurred as well.
Similar to Jon Cage’s Variation V, chance techniques are used to avoid the habitual tendencies of deterministic musical composition. This embraces entropy. Although both artists have chosen the the types of sounds, textures and objects, the specific musical sequence of sounds was left to chance. This degree of interactivity in the musical composition process enables a shift of control and creative decision from the artist to the audience and process. Both Variation V and The Cave of Sounds demonstrates the idea of indeterminacy by creating unpredictable, indeterminate relationships between music, dance, image and movement.
Tim Murray-Browne is an artist and creative coder from the UK creating interactive installations and performances. His work explores how our ideas and identity relate to our lived experience. It includes ensembles of bespoke musical instruments performed by the audience, audiovisual landscapes generated by the movement of a dancer, interactive light and sound sculptures that respond to the viewer’s position and immersive one-on-one performances to transform an individual’s memories into calligraphic images. It has been exhibited around the world at venues including Tate Modern, The Victoria & Albert Museum and Berkeley Art Museum.
“This is what draws me to working with interactive technology so much — particularly when it involves the moving body with music and abstract imagery. Music and dance have this strange way of saying so much while also saying nothing.The abstraction lets us explore our human activities together before we get focused on the specific personal details of our lives. In some sense, you can reduce human experience down to this dialogue between what we do and what we sense. Mixing interaction, music and dance lets you create an abstract microcosm of experience. This is a space where you can explore this complex relation between identity and environment.”
There are many artists who work with technology and media. However, Murray-Browne’s works stood out to me as many of his works and idea explores the relation of the moving body and sounds. His works show an immersive experience where people can participate and connect, even if they are physically apart in the space. Also, through his works, there are many elements similar to interactive works in the past – exemplifying how these ideas of interactivity and connectivity have influenced contemporary artists like Tim Murray-Browne.
In branding, an archetype is: “The role, immediately recognizable and subconsciously familiar, a brand plays in the market due to its offer, communications strategy, identity, and customer experience.”
In an archetype-based brand strategy, the brand’s personality, attributes, and beliefs is featured in a human form and characterized. This personification of a character has a clear personality that informs the way it looks, behaves, and speaks, making the brand easier to understand and the strategy more actionable, influencing all outputs and establishing stronger consistency across execution and implementation. Things that we think about while using this strategy are: How will it behave? How will it appear? How will it speak? What mood does it have? These will then translate to the visuals of the brand that communicates with the consumers.
In my opinion, I think this is a good strategy and it brings a brand closer to their consumers. Their humanized characteristics are more relatable, compared to a brand which doesn’t “brand” themselves into any category (selling something just for the sake of it & their brand is just a name).
The Lover: Sensuality, romance, intimacy.
The Warrior; strength, power, confidence.
With a brand archetype, the brand speaks to you – if done consistently. We, as consumers, subconsciously pick up these visual cues and form a impression of the brand. However, as good as these strategies may sound to brand a company, there is a downside to it (in my own opinion).
Branding done too well “brainwashes” consumers – this is where many people fall into the consumerism trap (just some brands!). In the book, Brandwashed by Martin Linstrom, it reveals how companies use human psychology to their advantage to market their products. Selling fear, using sexual appeal, using nostalgia, using celebrities, marketing to kids and marketing health are some ways that get us, consumers, to keep on purchasing. For instance, the brand archetype, “The Lover”, uses sexual appeal to create desire. Sometimes, it includes the use of celebrity endorsements as well and it is extremely effective as consumers desire to be like them. Even if we are conscious of these tactics brands use, the impression of the brand stays desirable in our eyes – and that is how powerful branding can be.
Other categories such as selling fear and marketing health create paranoia and “not wanting to lose out”. For example, pharmacies or security-related companies might use the selling fear approach to consumers – medicines or health-safety related products to prevent certain sickness, security objects to ensure safety and protection. Similarly, marketing health, for example, using “all natural/GMO free/organic/sugar free” labels, would allow consumers to think that they are consuming healthier products. In fact, it is known that the “sugar free” label is not entirely true.
In conclusion, this article has shown how strong using the brand archetype strategy can be. With regards to how brand market themselves, it is important to stay genuine and true to their products. As much as marketing and branding help in boosting their sales, being genuine would ultimately reflect the brand in a good light and in the long run. Not saying that using archetypes and ensuring that good brand consistently is bad, but there are products in the market that oversell.