Creative Industry Report: Nendo Design Studio / Oki Sato

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?


nendo design philosophy (nendo)


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.”



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.


References: 2018. Nendo’S Oki Sato: ‘Good Design Is Something You Can Explain To Your Mother’. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 5 October 2020].

Hobson, B., 2013. Movie With Oki Sato Of Nendo On Sketching. [online] Dezeen. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 October 2020].

Liao, A. (2012). Reshaping the everyday: a Q&A with Oki Sato, of Nendo.(LAST WORD)(Interview). Kitchen & Bath Business59(5), 56.

nendo. n.d. Nendo – Concept. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 5 October 2020].

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