Nendo’s New Children’s Book Shows How Creative Ideas are Born

“An Idea is like a glass of milk,” said Oki Sato recently. “It’s good when it’s fresh.” Sato, who leads the multidisciplinary design studio Nendo, was speaking about his design process and how he manages to come up with fresh and creative ideas while juggling close to 400 projects simultaneously. And while balancing such a hectic schedule, he also found time to recently design a children’s book, in which he imparts his design wisdom in a simple story about a cup.

from right to left: “let’s have a Cafe au lait and take a little break. Mix coffee and milk… and then stir! But wait…there’s no spoon?”

The book, which is titled coppu tte nandakke? (“what’s a cup?”) was released in April in Japanese and is a story of a cup. Throughout the story the cup morphs into different forms, maintaining its primary identity but challenging our preconceived notions of what it should and can be.

Those familiar with Sato’s work will recognize the squiggly line aesthetic of sketches that typically accompany finalized projects. But they may also recognize his philosophy of designing the movement around the object – envisioning not only the object itself but how it is used. Therein lies the morale of the story, and how we can all be more creative by challenging the norms presented to us.

Sato’s children’s book is available at bookstores in Japan as well as Amazon.
(English title and story dialogue translated from Japanese to English by S&T)

“It’s okay if there’s no spoon. Leave it to me!”

“How about this? I’ll make by bottom like this. See? Now I spin like a top and can stir!”

“Or…what if I streeeeetch myself out. Then add coffee and milk from both sides…”

“See? It might mix inside me”

1 Comment

  1. Love this! So excited to order. I would be great if the book had both Japanese and English in it. :'(

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