The Japanese designer, architect, and creator of Nendo is Oki Sato. He was born in Toronto on December 24, 1977. He founded Nendo in 2002 after graduating from Tokyo’s Waseda University with a degree in architecture. In 2003, he debuted his first exhibition, “Streeterior,” first in Tokyo and later in Milan, Italy. Japanese design has today undergone an intriguing transformation that reflects the requirements of contemporary people both inside and outside of Japan. The humorous aspect of Japanese design is meant to provide a counterbalance to contemporary living. The complexity and pace of our existence have made an escape and rest necessary. Can the happier design act as the ideal counterbalance to it? To experience this humorous side and learn more, let’s look closely at Oki Sato and his work.

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Oki Sato_@Kookudesign

Oki Sato was raised in a remote region of Canada. Sato showed very little interest in the fine arts, particularly design, as he grew up. He couldn’t help but return to his native land. Perhaps this is what sparked young Oki Sato’s fascination with anime and manga. He stated: “I perceive Doraemon as my own teacher, my maestro,” in one of his interviews. One of the most well-known characters is Doraemon, for those of you who are not into Japanese animation. It is a mechanized cat from the future that is constantly prepared to take a futuristic device out of its pockets. Remarkable similarities exist between these devices and the designs of Oki Sato.

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Oki Sato_@designglob

Oki returned to his native country after finishing high school and enrolling in Tokyo’s prestigious Waseda University. Sato once remarked that he wasn’t much of a student. It is not his laziness that is to blame for this; rather, it is the constrained nature of academic curricula. He made the decision to concentrate on sketching caricatures and exaggerated pictures of local celebrities. He even rose to the top of the “Waratte Iitomo” (Japanese premium TV show) cartoonist list. When he chose to attend the world’s largest design expo, Salone del Mobile in Milan in 2002, the tides changed. At this point, Oki Sato discovered what he later dubbed “the pleasure of design.” Italy seems to have taught him that he has as much creative freedom as he wants. It had him spellbound, and he said, “Interior designers making teacups, interior designers working in fashion. No notion of boundaries or genres existed. I was really impressed by the designs’ extreme diversity, many of which I had never even considered. Not any one product, but rather becoming aware of how vast the area of design might be. It was evident that Oki Sato’s designs had a playful character from the moment he began to create. In 2003, design publications and fairs published “Sinking about Furniture,” one of his early works. Because it was a play on the Japanese pronunciation of “thinking,” this endeavour was enjoyable. It featured designs for tables, footstools, and shelves. To provide the impression that the forms were buried in the floor, Oki Sato painstakingly planned the angles. Despite being innovative, this furniture couldn’t be put to use. Oki Sato states that even though his designs are clearly minimalist, they are not severe. The emphasis is on slender, uncluttered lines that intersect to form a lively, welcoming whole. His art is minimalist because it draws inspiration from the oddities and simplicity of daily life. The Ideology of this artist reflects in his works. 

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The Japanese term “su,” which means “basic, simple, and pure,” is the source of the name of the Emeco Su stool. Extreme comfort is provided by its seat, which is made of eco-friendly materials like recycled polyethylene, eco-concrete, or recovered oak that was salvaged from historic US architecture and hand-carved by Amish craftsmen in Pennsylvania. Simple plastic components in the shape of snowflakes that are linked together make up the Cappellini Yuki Screen, which enables compositions of various sizes. Camper Stores: Sato worked on Camper’s larger stores in New York and Madrid after developing the idea of “shoes that walk freely through the air” for small-scale shops in Osaka, San Francisco, Paris, and Moscow. Sato decorated the high-ceilinged rooms with white resin models of the brand’s iconic Pelotas shoes, which cast shadows on the walls and gave them a three-dimensional texture. Kartell Eigruob Lamp: Sato, one of the 10 designers tasked with creating a tribute piece to mark the brand’s renowned Bourgie table lamp’s tenth anniversary, chose to rotate and invert the lamp’s outline rather than alter the original design, thereby flipping our conventional notion of up and down.

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Camper store in Osaka_@archilovers

Oki Sato unequivocally demonstrates that the aim may be found while designing, and that is precisely where enjoyment and design merge. Sato was able to produce formal designs after adopting this innovative work style without compromising any of the joy and originality that made him special.


Online resources

Y-Jean Mun-Delsalle (2020)_ 10 Key Designs By Trailblazing Japanese Designer Oki Sato, Available at,

Daniel Scheffler(2016)_Japanese designer Oki Sato finds inspiration across different industries and projects, Available at,

Image sources

01_Oki Sato_Kookudesign

02_Oki Sato_designglob


04_Camper store in Osaka_archilovers


Abhigna is a young architect who has a unique architectural way of interpreting things. Her interest lies in articulating sensible spaces according to the needs of society. She believes in the exploration of continuum architecture.