Design Knowledge Intermediary
Nendo & Zens Collaborate on Minimalist Homeware Capsule
Japanese design studio Nendo has linked up with Chinese brand Zens for a collection of understated furniture and homeware accessories. The capsule is split into three sections, with “Picto,” “Chirp” and “Stone” representing the different influences on different pieces of the collection.
 A furniture collection that consists of 4 types of furniture: a side table, a stool, a small shelf, and a container. 
Hieroglyphics such as Chinese pictogram and Kanji represent the meaning of a character by using corresponding “radical”, like “氵(Sanzui)” that represents things related to water or liquid, or “艹 (Kusakanmuri)” that represents things related to plants.For these 4 types of furniture, a sense of unity was achieved so that each furniture is classified into the same line by placing the same triangle as a pedestal. For elements other than the “radical”, different characteristics were added respectively. 
A smooth surface is used for the table top and slightly bent surfaces is set for the seating. 3 layers of surfaces will make a shelf, and those made into a circle will create a space for holding small accessories such as keys and smartphones. Somewhat similar to an expression that gathers multiple meanings to form one Chinese character, by arranging items with different functions, it forms another furniture. 
By portraying single flower vases and small containers as “small birds” and resting them on motifs of “electric lines” or “tree” shaped stands, an image of various sized birds resting their wings is expressed. 
The number of vases can be increased to hold more flowers and reduced when there are fewer flowers. Depending on what is on display, the vases can be added or reduced accordingly. Accessories, such as necklaces, or keys can be hung on the stands. Additionally, vases and containers can be used on the desk to keep some small items, pens or clips, for instance. 
Tea-ware and tableware lids generally have a plain surface, but by creating “clump” shaped lids giving each its own role, a tableware collection with a single stone seemingly stacked on was created.
An iron kettle and a teapot for Chinese tea, both with a lid made of hollow silicon, the addition of multiple holes on one side, the lid enabled it to function as a tea strainer and keep loose tea leaves inside.By incorporating a similar lid for a glass water jug, it became possible to use it for cold brewing tea. In addition, for high heat retention the lid of the Chinese tea cup was made out of urethane foam with consideration to prevent the cups from making unpleasant “clatter” when placed on a table.Both lids have very low thermal conductivity, so the heat will not be a problem when touched directly by hand.Similar expressions were also developed on square, round and long plates. 
The square and long plates, appear to have partially sunken expressions depending on the weight of the accompanying stone. These stones may also function as small pots and can be used by pouring sauces inside.For the round plates, the stone is sunken into the central part, sauces may accumulate further emphasizing the stone and resulting in an independent appearance.
The coffee pot, mugs, coffee dripper, milk jug and sugar bowl, all have a “stacked stones” design which may be used as is. For the coffee pot and mugs a stone-type dripper can be used instead of a lid, it is also possible to stack and carry the milk jug or the sugar bowl on the pot.