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7 Creative Doors Which Will Open Up Your Mind

7 Creative Doors Which Will Open Up Your Mind

“The more ideas I think of, the more ideas I come up with. It is like breathing or eating.”

—Oki Sato

To celebrate their 70th Anniversary, renowned Japanese door and furniture manufacturer Abe Kogyo turned to Oki Sato of the multi-award winning design studio Nendo to create seven doors; doors which shake up our perceptions of these taken-for-granted aspects of our lives.

Sato has been called the 21st century’s most ingenious designer, with creations ranging from furniture with the softness of rolls of paper to metallic lamps which unfold organically like flowers.

“I was sitting in a cafe by myself, which I usually do on the weekends, having a glass of iced tea. The ice started melting, and then it moved and made that sound—do you know what I mean? Like when the ice starts to slide. It made that sound and I started thinking, ‘Couldn’t I design something that would move or change according to a change of temperature?’

“Then I remembered there was a metal, ‘shape-memory alloy,’ and if I could set the alloy’s position according to the temperature of the lightbulb, I could make a lamp that would ‘bloom’ when the lightbulb changed temperature. It was very natural, and it wasn’t inspired from the material itself—the story was there first, and then I found materials that would match the story.”

—Oki Sato

In a career that has taken him from his birthplace in Toronto to his current residence of Tokyo, Sato has won international awards in Germany, Italy, the U.K. the U.S.A. and France as well as Japan, and his collections grace establishments from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Center Pompidou in Paris to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The original meaning of Nendo is “modelling clay,” and Sato’s philosophy is to bring such stripped-down simplicity, malleability and renewal to all of his concepts. This fresh and flexible approach has led to a thrilling series of doors which playful challenge our sensibilities.

1. Lamp

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      Powered and wired using Abe Kogyo’s electronic locking technology, this door integrates lighting function on both sides.

      2. Baby

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          How many children would like to have their own door to match their own size? This adorable concept developed from Abe Kogyo’s preschool and nursery range of fittings.

          3. Slide

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              Have you ever wanted to let more light in, more air in, communicate across more rooms, or simply see who’s knocking your door? Based on sliding screen technology, this is yet another simple yet functional design twist to the humble door.

              4. Hang

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                  An internal magnetic sheet transforms the plain space of a door into a creative canvass for storage solutions. From adding dust bins to flower pots, trays to containers, the user can now use their door in a whole new way; literally an extra dimension of function.

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                  5. Kumiko

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                      Kumiko is a latticework method used in creating traditional Japanese interior screen doors and partitions. It is a delicate process of assembly without nails. Inspired by both this ancient (Asuka Era, 600-700 AD) technique and the modern industrial manufacturing capabilities of Age Kogyo, this door is striking juxtaposition of classical and modern Japan.

                      6. Wall

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                          Another design changing our ideas of what a door can be. This door showcases a variety of technological innovations that ensure the stability of shelves and frames and allow smooth opening; successfully blurring the distinction between wall space and portal space.

                          7. Corner

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                              A stunning idea which transmutes all conceptions of interiors and layout, this door has the additional practical benefit of greater wheelchair access.

                              Showcased during Milan Design Week, all of these doors can be viewed at Nendo’s website. Thanks to Oki Sato’s mercurial strip-and-reboot philosophy and Abe Kogyo’s decades of industrial expertise and innovation, the humble door just gained seven new dimensions.

                              Images Courtesy of Akihiro Yoshida/Nendo

                              Featured photo credit: http://www.nendo.jp via decotrending.files.wordpress.com

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                              Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                              The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                              The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                              At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                              Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                              One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                              When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                              So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                              Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                              This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                              Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                              When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                              Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                              One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                              Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                              An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                              When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                              Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                              Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                              We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                              By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                              Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                              While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                              I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                              You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                              Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                              When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                              Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                              Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                              Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                              One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                              Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                              Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                              This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                              While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                              Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                              Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                              This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                              For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                              Con #4: Unique Distractions

                              Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                              For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                              To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                              Final Thoughts

                              Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                              We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                              More About Working From Home

                              Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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