As head designer of Tokyo studio Nendo, Oki Sato’s approach is simultaneously minimal, thoughtful and playful – just take a gander at his recent Splinter collection (above), with its curving lines that seem to peel away from each other. The collection is only the latest from a stream of interiors, furnishings and lighting that have consistently garnered acclaim by defying our expectations. Born in Canada, Sato co-founded the first Nendo studio in Tokyo after graduating from Japan’s Waseda University with a master’s in architecture in 2002, and later added studios in Milan and Singapore.
Berlin-born and U.K.-educated, Jerszy Seymour is on the bleeding edge that separates art and design. His profoundly conceptual work is often infused with the imagery of graffiti and vandalism, blended together with the DIY-aesthetic of a hand-crafted piece. Yet technical innovation lurks beneath the surface, be it the exploration of form seen in his curvaceous Play-Station chair, or the use of hand-impressed glass for his Ken Kuts vases.
In 2012, Philippe Malouin had the kind of year designers dream of. He unveiled the Gridlock 2 line of brass and concrete furniture at NextLevel Gallerie in Paris last January, and received acclaim for an exhibit of layered-wood bowls and plinths fabricated by artisans in Beirut, which launched in Milan in April. In September, he unveiled Blur, a series of photographs depicting his spinning-crystal art pieces for Swarovski, at London’s Design Museum. Meanwhile, the Malouin-helmed Post-Office architecture and design studio has been creating bespoke interiors in London – including a café for Artek, an Orlebar Brown shop, and a disco booth at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Since 2011, architect Jürgen Mayer H. has seen the completion of no fewer than eight major projects including a multi-unit residence in Berlin with an undulating facade, a border crossing with cantilevering terraces in Georgia and – perhaps most notably – the awe-inspiring Metropol Parasol in Seville. While producing this quantity of work is no easy feat, it’s multiplied by the fact that each of these projects is visually stunning, with forms that range from crystalline to sinuous, but are always identifiably “J. Mayer H.” Somehow, during all this, Mayer H. also found the time to curate a traveling exhibit that brought fresh talent from Berlin’s design scene to Toronto and New York City.
The Interior Design Show runs from January 24 to 27 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St.