Drawing inspiration from shapes found in the natural world, Japanese design studio Nendo and Georg Jensen have collaborated on a set of three sterling silver vases with organic, tree-like forms. 

For Oki Sato, founder of Nendo and one of five visionaries featured in Wallpaper’s 25th anniversary project ‘5x5’, looking to nature not only felt like a logical continuation of the Nendo oeuvre (which ranges from the ‘Cabbage’ chair, made from the leftover paper that is a by-product of Issey Miyake’s pleated fabric production, to his sun-inspired spherical cauldron for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but also a logical way to combine the language of Japanese minimalism with the aesthetic of the historic Danish brand.

‘There are many Georg Jensen designs that rely on nature as their primary motif; like a flower or a plant, or just abstract and organic forms you see in the natural world,’ says Sato.

‘Mizuki’ vase by Nendo for Georg Jensen
Vase, £31,000, part of the ‘Mizuki’ set, by Nendo, for Georg Jensen

‘And I feel that this is something Georg Jensen shares with Japanese culture, which is closely related to nature, and I think that was the starting point of this project. In particular, the concept of “water” is special for Japanese people who live in an island nation surrounded by oceans and where many make a living through agriculture.’

It takes around 400 hours for the set of three vases, entitled ‘Mizuki’, to be created by Georg Jensen silversmiths in Copenhagen. It is a process that entails hammering the precious silver into its intended shape and then repeatedly melting it at high temperatures to achieve its final form, before finishing them off with multiple rounds of expert polishing.

And with characteristic inventiveness, Sato has also designed the vases to be multifunctional. They can be filled with water so that flowers appear to float on top of them, or used as jugs.‘But I don’t want to limit their function to just a vase or a jug,’ says Sato. ‘It’s up to the user how they interpret the design.’ §