At its most basic, Frame lives up to its name as a smartly multipurpose L-shaped form designed to be hung on a wall. As is, or in a version configured with a board, the signature element can function on its own as a towel bar or a storage shelf—or be the starting point for a multiple grouping, perhaps with one of the collection’s other mirror pieces. Designer Nendo and Stellar Works are of a similar mindset in melding functionality and aesthetics, with the angular structure crafted in powder-coated steel and the shelf unit in veneer laminate.
9.1" h x 25.6" w x 5.9" d (23x65x15cm)
Powder-coated steel, onyx oak
Craftsmanship is at the heart of Stellar Works since a couple of design enthusiasts from France and Japan launched the line in 2013. Operations benefit from Japanese management, while the craftsmanship draws on premium European furniture practices and technical proficiency that comes with the brand’s own state-of-the-art factory in Shanghai, China.
Because Stellar Works controls end to end, it takes great pride in abiding to Japan’s Four-Star standards—the most stringent in the industry worldwide—offering transparency regarding the sourcing of every material, be it leather, metal or fabric, along with ensuring that all woods come from FSC-certified forests.
The line’s urbane sense of materials, colorways and forms is a reflection of a global roster that includes New York designer-architect David Rockwell, Toronto’s Yabu Pushelberg, Copenhagen’s Space Copenhagen and Monaco-based Humbert & Poyet—along with an exacting Asian lens by appointing Chinese duo Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu—widely known as Neri&Hu—as creative directors for the brand.
A clue to architect and designer Oki Sato’s playful persona lies in the fact that he named his studio Nendo, after the Japanese word for children’s modelling clay. In fact, the Tokyo-based creative says, ““Good design is when I can explain my ideas to my grandmother or to a young child.” Without preconceived notions of what is “good” design, Oki is free to follow his often-whimsical, meandering path to conceive objects that amaze, delight and still stay true to their function. Originally from Toronto, and he took his M.A. in Architecture at Waseda University in Tokyo and established Nendo there in 2002. The studio now includes a management staff and around 30 design-architecture professionals, not all of the Japanese.
That makes sense, as Oki regards the market as a global arena. “We are not too concerned with whether our clients are Japanese or Western,” he says. “After many years, we have developed ‘the Nendo way’ that doesn’t refer to any specific visual style or signature look, but rather the way we approach challenges and find solutions.” It is said that the mind behind Nendo is the first person since Philippe Starck’s heyday in the 1980s and 1990s whose design has such a characteristic signature. For the studio’s work, Nendo has been awarded with Dezeen, Wallpaper and Red Dot design awards among many more throughout its brief lifetime.