How is your everyday? Boring or full of joy? No matter what happened on the day, after a long day all we want is to go home and do ours everyday routines. Everyday objects are designed to help our lives become so much easier and more convenience.These objects around our house are what we choose to live with and become a part of our lives. They reflect our moods and ours personal interest. I guess that is what designers are trying to do, try to create an invisible connection between the objects and the users.
Oki Sato, a Japanese architecture, designer and also the founder of Nendo. He thinks that the most two importance design theories that he is trying to aim at when producing new designs are products aesthetic and story behind it.
What is a good design? Is it just as long as the product work well and easy to use? Dieter Rams is a famous German product designer. He has set 10 principles about good design should be. But Sato thinks there is something he would add into his design practice. ‘There are a few universally accepted principles of good design: balance, scale, contrast, unity. Oki Sato would add another: narrative.’ – (Dewolf 2014) It is story telling time, however, not saying it out loud not with a warm voice. Sato wants the object explained by itself. He narrates his idea into the design visually not by words.
So what kind of story behind the product he telling? For him, he always looking for a small moment in everyday life then translate it into designs. The designs he came up with always tend to have a friendly look that make us feel happy when using or looking at it. He doesn’t stop at just the look of it, he tries to add in a little touch of sense of humor in it. For example, this Piggy Bank is a small object was simply designed not only for us to put spare coins into it. The inspiration look of it coming from the pun used, a play on words from ‘pygg’ to ‘pig’ in the ancient time (Nendo 2010). Below is an illustration of how did he come up with the shape. The design surely friendly and make me smile.
“It is all about the story behind the object rather than the object itself “.He wants his objects to be simple so the message that send to users is clear and easy to understand. However, sometimes if it is too minimal it become too cold like some other Japanese designers’ objects. That is not what he is aiming at for his design method, he likes to make people feel happy in the end.
For example, he designed a set of flowers vases that normally sitting on a table waiting to be decorated by flowers. But what he did to vase clearly show that small everyday things can be meaningful to us, make us feel happy when we look at it. The Dress Up 2009, these vases are not exactly look like human form, he only took what is iconic things that represent each family member characteristic. ‘A heavyset ‘father’, a slim ‘mother’ and a smaller ‘child’. I feel really close to the vases, like there is a connection, a string that attach to me and the design. Perhaps, the reason is because the vases have a friendly look (Nendo 2009)
What I learned from the interview is that he always create a good story behind the product by presenting the ‘small moment’ that happened in their lives. It is maybe little at first but gradually become a big change. His approaching design is from a small thing but has huge impact. This mean small design can affect the users’ perspective about life. In addition, small idea can spreading the positive emotion to consumer or they even feel inspired and smile.
So how did he express all the above things in his design? He loved looking things that are small and often people miss it or forget about its existence. Sato said that “I try to look for old things, old techniques that are not used anymore, old materials that can be mixed to create something new and be very competitive in the market as well.” Indeed, he produces designs that inherited the old making technique and old material like ceramic, however, this doesn’t make us feel old because it is in a minimal and contemporary form. (Dewolf 2014)