Supported by Friedman Benda art gallery, Break to Make is a gripping design collaboration between American multidisciplinary artist, Daniel Arsham, and Japanese design firm nendo, founded and led by Oki Sato. A result of a creative dialogue spanning over four years, the fresh body of work is set to debut in Milan during Salone del Mobile.Milano, as part of Milan Design Week 2023, centred on the concept of 'nendo makes. Daniel breaks.'
"An artist who creates by breaking, and a designer who creates things to be broken. An artist who expresses present objects as past artefacts, and a designer who makes present objects that anticipate the future. The collaboration may be seen as an overlay of these two contrary perspectives,” mentions the official statement shared by nendo.
In a demonstration of both designers’ poetic approaches to creation, Arsham transmutes each distilled form designed by nendo into functional objects embodying humour and ‘playful intricacy’, rendered in calm, pastel tones, quite typical of Arsham’s work.
"After we create objects with no intended use, Daniel creates new functions by breaking them. From a bathtub-like form, a loveseat emerged; from a long and narrow block, a bench, or a stool; from a tall, square form, a console table was revealed,” states the design studio based in Tokyo, Japan.
The anticipated product designs tap into Arsham’s continued investigational design approach to creating modern 'archaeological eroded relics' as well as a theme of 'fictional archaeology' that has long dominated his works, as he deconstructs nendo’s archetypical designs.
"Simultaneously connecting the past, present and future, the final results urge the viewer to reconsider their preconceived perception of chronology, movement, and space,” the Japanese designer explains. Break to Make will be showcased in a special installation and exhibition format at nendo's Milan office via Pinamonte da Vimercate, 4, in Italy, and will be open to public from April 18–23, 2023.
According to Arsham, 'Fictional Archeology,' refers to the partial breaking of everyday things to transform them into ‘excavated’ artefacts. In lieu, in traditional Japanese craft, the concept of ‘creating to be broken’ is honoured and considered almost sacred, as displayed in the easily dismountable joinery of seemingly simple wood construction, or in barrels made of just wooden planks held together by a hoop. “This theme of 'reverse-engineering from breaking' is also often explored in nendo’s work,” the creator relays.
The New-York based artist elaborates on the collaboration with Oki Sato—"I have always been a fan of nendo's creative output ever since I first saw their work in Milan nearly a decade ago. nendo's work is often very precise and minimal and we share an interest in material possibilities. After discussions with Oki, we settled on this idea of nendo creating a form that I could manipulate through an act of destruction. Creating something new, and useful through that process.”
Arsham’s ongoing synergistic practice has been hailed as one of the most defining works of contemporary art and design. In 2007, the 43-year-old American artist founded the pioneering architecture firm Snarkitecture with partner Alex Mustonen, since then, realising high-profile projects with music producer Pharrell Williams and designer Hedi Slimane, as well as collaborating with high-profile brands such as Dior, Porsche, Rimowa, and Hublot through exceptional initiatives and creative endeavours. His works are also included in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou (Paris), Pérez Art Museum (Miami), and Walker Art Center (Minneapolis).
Concurrently, nendo has carved its niche as a major force in contemporary design, architecture, product, industrial and graphic design by collaborating with brands such as Baccarat, Tod’s, Tag Heuer, Jill Sander, Walt Disney and Coca-Cola. Canadian-born Sato founded and established nendo with their first office in Tokyo in 2002, and has since then, established an exclusive and original design language of ‘radical simplicity, poetic metaphors, and a lightness of touch.’ Works by nendo are included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Centre Pompidou; Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (NY); M+ Museum (Kowloon, Hong Kong), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), and more.
Make sure to visit the exhibition at nendo’s Milan office via Pinamonte da Vimercate, 4, in Italy, by registering for free here.
STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2023 showcases the best exhibitions, studios, designers, installations, brands, and special projects to look out for. Explore Euroluce 2023 and all the design districts—5Vie Art and Design, Brera Design District, Fuorisalone, Isola Design District, Tortona District, and Milano Design District—with us.
- American Artist
- Art Gallery
- Contemporary Artist
- Contemporary Design
- Daniel Arsham
- Design Event
- Design Exhibition
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- Friedman Benda
- Japanese Architect
- Milan Design Week
- Multidisciplinary Artist
- New York
- Oki Sato
- STIR at Milan Design Week 2023
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