Collaborations between two powerful creative forces can be fascinating endeavors. Will they be a test of strong wills, one right brain against the other, or a seamlessly simpatico union of like-minded sensibilities? Italian designer Luca Nichetto and Japanese designer Oki Sato of Nendo found themselves to be kindred spirits over a shared coffee in Stockholm a mere few months ago and decided to work together on a new exhibition debuting this month during Milan’s Design Week.
Nichetto=Nendo represents the culmination of a process (inspired) by a particular kind of short, five-line Japanese poetry—a bit similar to the exquisite corpse method of making—where one person writes the first three lines and another composes the final two. In an incredible turnaround, the pair conceived the entire collection based on a series of exchanges that lasted just a few days. The breadth of the pieces is pretty remarkable in terms of, well, everything: form, function, materials, and inspiration. Paper lamps that look like popsicles, overlapping carpets that have the effect of fish skin, colorful glass shelves reminiscent of speech bubbles in comic strips—a diverse set, to be sure, but one that manages to feel cohesive as a whole.
Of course, it helps to have friends in high places, and an impressive roster of design brands and manufacturers came together to turn the pair’s ideas into physical reality: Glas Italia, Foscarini, and Casamania are just a few of the big names who produced the products.
Check out Nichetto=Nendo in person during Milan’s Design Week, April 10 through April 14, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Foro Buonaparte 48.