Streamlined shapes may seem refined but they are also easy – this series shows off the difficult task of forming more complex implements that look organic, unique and ultimately both modern and ancient at the same time Nendo teamed up with metalworkers from Kobayashi Kogyo to create this flatware set inspired by cave-era tools and roughly-hewn weapons of humanity’s distant past.
Each piece is smooth and shiny where it is made to be held, but rough and textured to make it look as if someone had manually carved or scraped away inside an otherwise-smooth starting object (like a river-worn rock).
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“Kobayashi Kogyo is a metalwork firm located in the cradle of modern Japan’s metal cutlery industry, the city of Tsubame in Niigata Prefecture,” said Nendo. “The firm was founded in 1868, the first year of Japan’s modern era, and enjoys a strong reputation for its command of metal production techniques, including polishing.”
“It’s difficult to make the pieces’ rough, nonstandard forms by machine, so the firm had to rely on its artisans’ sensibility, skill and handwork,” explained the designers. “The pieces’ thickness and weight recalls stone, too. We flattened the pieces’ backs to further make the connection with cutlery carved from lumps of stone, pressing the metal sheets seven times, rather than the usual one.”
In 2002 Oki Sato founded nendo design studio. nendo means ’clay’ in Japanese – or more specifically, modelling clay such as plasticine. A unique material that makes it easy to do creative modelling. As Oki Sato explains: ”The name is appropriate for a studio that needs to develop design solutions for a host of very different clients”. Oki Sato does not look at design like many iconic designers, who have focused on the mantra, ’form follows function’. He also looks at the history behind the product and its design.