Born in Toronto in 1977, Oki Sato graduated from Waseda University, Tokyo, in 2002 and immediately founded Nendo, his design studio. Five years later, it is one of the most influential small companies in Japan, thanks to work such as the extraordinary Cabbage Chair: a cylinder of reinforced paper that is peeled back layer by layer to produce an instant seat. Sato’s work can now be seen in museums around the world, from Museum of Modern Art in New York, to the Centre Pompidou in Paris. For Sato, design is about using technology to promote simplicity, while creating what he calls “‘!’ moments” for people in their everyday lives: “We believe that these small ‘!’ moments are what make our days so interesting, so rich.” LV: Why did you agree to create an Objet Nomade for Louis Vuitton? OS: Louis Vuitton is a company with a long history and a rich heritage, which always concentrates on craftsmanship. I felt it would be interesting to interpret these ideas by using light and shadow. LV: What was your inspiration for this object? OS: I was inspired by a single sheet of leather that I saw rolled up in the workshop: the beginning of all Louis Vuitton products. LV: What did you call your object and how would you describe it in two words? OS: I called it Surface because it is a sheet of leather: the “surface” of the animal and also the surface of the light. The two words would be craftsmanship and technology. The use of LEDS and rechargeable batteries, and the treatment of the leather were a perfect marriage for this object. Plus, the way it can be charged, rolled up and carried around gives it a clear link to travel.
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