by Jincy IypeAug 04, 2022
Pokémon, the iconic Japanese franchise, defined the late 90s and early 2000s, with their associated trading cards being all the rage. Founded by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures, the Japanese franchise revolved around fictional creatures, Pokémon, all with their unique characteristics and powers. Now, Japanese design firm Nendo has designed the new office space for one of the core curator companies of Pokémon, Creatures Inc. Founded in 2002 by Oki Sato, the Japanese Milan-based design firm Nendo produces work in varied fields and scales—from interiors, furniture to installations and graphics. For the interior design elements of the office, they have personified the company’s workspace by paying a tribute to the iconic trading card game.
Located at the Tokyo headquarters, the office design is an amalgamation of different elements put together to express emotion, ingenuity and value; subtly blending into the physical elements of space. Tending to the brief of creating an impactful entrance and meeting space for the new workspace, Nendo borrows from the trading cards itself. The cards were filled with creative ideas with an emotional value backing them, translating into the vocabulary of the interiors that reference the manufacturing of the cards.
In an era of technology, where one is compelled to draw themselves away from physical aspects of being, and indirectly create an immersion into the virtual, the design philosophy of the office space inverses this perception, especially when one catches a glimpse of the project’s design. The virtual elements are portrayed into life size, physical spaces, creating an expanse that lends a feeling of experiencing the balance of virtual and physical worlds. The monochromatic space further plays with elements of geometry, texture and lighting, in order to celebrate the iconic creation.
The design process of the space follows similar lines as that of the trading card game, where elements are made and put together. This results in various designs, that are elaborately printed on a single piece of large sized paper, then cut into small pieces. Across the curved walls of the entrance hall, steel sheets feature engravings of Pokemon Trading Cards, in their original size, 63 millimetres in width and 88 millimetres in length.
Paralleling this concept for the interior space, graphics that abstract the characteristics of the game are laser cut on a single 2.3mm thick steel plate. With 12 different indentations in the angles, each card is manually bent to give it its characteristic expression, while adding a textural play to the space. In addition to this, nine types of ‘energy cards’ are hidden throughout the space as "secrets items," as mentioned by Nendo.
The geometrical composition allows the space to be morphed, by changing its layout gently, according to the format of usage. The layout isn’t a conventional meeting space with square tables and linear walls; instead the composition consists of soft curved walls—each with a different shape and size. In the meeting rooms, custom tables have been made to match these organic curves of the walls. The idea to work with curves rather than rectilinear shapes came from the original logo of Creatures Inc, where the design was accompanied by multiple organic life-like shapes. This was to represent the various life forms/ characters adapting to their environment and circumstances. These curves have steel cards engraved in them, creating a combination of contrasting geometric shapes coming together to create an experience. Further, the organic design of each table compliments the walls.
Nendo captures the essence of the company’s story and reflects it with an unconventional arrangement of spatial elements and minimal design. The not-so-usual composition of the organic, breathable span enhances the characteristics of the design, altering the stereotype of an office space in terms of linearity and geometry.