Nendo creates dining room optical illusion at Japan's Expo pavilion

Milan Expo 2015: Nendo has played with the perspective of a dining table and chairs to present a range of tableware inside the Japanese pavilion at the Milan Expo (+ slideshow).

Colourful Shadows by Nendo

Tokyo-based studio Nendo – led by designer Oki Sato – was responsible for creating one of the gallery spaces inside Japan's Kengo Kuma-designed pavilion.

Colourful Shadows by Nendo

Following the Expo's theme of Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, the studio turned the 11- by three-metre space into a dining room.

Colourful Shadows by Nendo

A long black table runs down the centre of the white-walled room, surrounded by 24 black chairs.

Colourful Shadows by Nendo

Different sets of tableware designed by Nendo and made by Japanese artisans are laid out on its surface, which is angled from front to back to allow visitors to see the spread from the entrance.

Colourful Shadows by Nendo

The chairs along either side are extended to match the ascending height of the tabletop, creating an optical illusion when viewed from directly in front.

Colourful Shadows by Nendo

"The table and chairs gradually increase in height the further into the room one goes, playing with the spectator's sense of perspective as well as allowing him/her to look over all the items on display from the gallery entrance," said Nendo.

Colourful Shadows by Nendo

Towards the back of the space, the stretched chairs can be used as stepladders for better views of the products.

"Although resembling an ordinary dinner table, by experimenting with the functional relationship between tables and chairs, the end result is a uniquely conceptual exhibition space that enables the spectator to view all of the products from various angles and distances," Nendo said.

Colourful Shadows by Nendo

Each of the 16 sets of tableware was designed specifically for the exhibition, which is titled Colourful Shadows. All the pieces are coloured black so the details of their shapes and finishes can be better appreciated, according to the studio.

Colourful Shadows by Nendo

"In the novelist Junichiro Tanizaki's essay In Praise of Shadows, there is a passage about eating a yokan (a traditional sweet made from black bean paste) in the dark in order to develop a keener palette," said Nendo.



"Just as in this exhibition, all information pertaining to colour has been removed to encourage the spectator to focus on other more essential aspects of the exhibited pieces."

Colourful Shadows by Nendo

Products on display include a set of minimal cutlery, a collection of intricately carved chopsticks and a range of ceramic cups and bowls with different patterned surfaces.

The installation will remain in place for the duration of the Expo, which opened last month and continues until 31 October 2015. The tableware was also displayed at the Nendo Works 2014-2015 exhibition during Milan's Salone del Mobile furniture fair in April, along with over 100 products created by the prolific design studio over the past year.