Ghost Stories: New Designs from Nendo transforms the MAD Projects Gallery on the Museum’s second floor into a magical landscape of new designs that imbue chairs, vases, and lamps with whimsy and optical illusion. Founded and led by Canadian-born principal Oki Sato, Nendo has garnered international attention and more than 45 design awards for its beautifully simple yet surprisingly humorous work in interiors, furniture, product design, graphics, and architecture.
Ghost Stories is the second exhibition in the MADProjects Gallery, which was launched in February 2009 with Totally Rad, a focused survey of the latest radiator designs, curated by Karim Rashid. Both timely and provocative, this ongoing program invites MAD curators, collaborators and leading voices in the field to explore emerging trends and innovations in design.
Illusion, humor, and an element of surprise are captured in the four new designs by Nendo that will be shown for the first time at MAD, along with prototypes, videos, and other materials that explore the design process used by the designers to create these works.
The “Fade-Out” chair is a simple rectangular chair made from clear acrylic and painted with trompe l’oeil wood grain over most of the structure in a pattern that fades away on the lower part of the legs to create the impression that the chairs are floating in space.
“Blown-Color” is an assembly of one-of-a-kind lamps made from Smash, a special polyester fabric that can be manipulated into different forms when heated and that retains its shape when cooled. The group created a series of lights in the style of vernacular Japanese chochin paper lanterns, but, rather than the traditional bamboo frame, the properties of Smash allowed Nendo to shape it like blown glass in one seamless piece.
“Cord-Chair” is a wooden side chair with a super thin profile created by splitting the legs in half to insert an aluminum skeleton which gives them a strength belied by their fragile appearance.
“Phantom-Waves” are a series of prototypes for a new vase for flowers. Each rectangular or cylindrical vase is constructed with polarized Mylar that creates the impression of solid horizontal discs that divide the vase into segments. The discs are, however, only an illusion caused by the polarized light — a flower stem or branch can be inserted “through” the seemingly solid disc, thus creating an intriguing illusion.