Design & Style

Inoda+Sveje: when two worlds collide.

1 August 2019

Design & Style

Inoda+Sveje: when two worlds collide.

1 August 2019

Kyoko Inoda and Nils Sveje on stage with Lauren Li

Inoda+Sveje in conversation with Lauren Li at Great Dane Furniture. Image: Supplied.

What happens when you combine Japanese minimalism with Scandinavian functionality? You get furniture designed by Inoda+Sveje, an acclaimed Japanese and Danish design duo based out of Milan.

In mid-2019, Kyoko Inoda and Nils Sveje appeared at Great Dane Furniture showrooms in Melbourne and Sydney to discuss their meticulous approach to furniture design. Of particular interest was their iconic DC09 chair, which won an IF Product Design Award on its release in 2011.

The ultimate chair

After establishing their practice in Copenhagen in 2000, Inoda+Sveje moved permanently to Milan, where they have been based since 2003. There, they split their focus between designing high-tech equipment like bluetooth speakers and medical devices for industrial clients, and their true passion – making sleek timber furniture.

While they have attracted international praise for their designs, they remain hands-on with everything in their showroom, from shopkeeping to importation, which is perhaps the secret to their success. “We communicate so closely there is no room for another person in our process,” says Inoda.

A slender brown chair and bar stool set against a grey background

The highly praised DC09 chair and a bar stool from the same collection. Image: Supplied.  

Both view the DC09 as a career highlight. The dining chair, which combines handcrafted work with computerised design, took two years to conceive, design and manufacture. Its aesthetic blends Japanese and Scandinavian minimalism. A unique feature is the thinly shaved seat, structured to sculpt to the user’s frame. As Sveje explains, they are very focused on ergonomics and steer clear of unnecessary embellishments in their creations. “We don’t design chairs for the eye,” he says. “Every surface is made for the hand to follow. It’s very important to us that we design furniture with natural curves.”

“We don’t want to follow a trend or design something new because it doesn’t follow a trend anymore,” Inoda adds, explaining that their aim is to create furniture that endures.

Future collaborations

Moving forward, Inoda+Sveje will turn their attention to pieces inspired by traditional Indian craftsmanship, adding another cultural layer to their work. They have already completed a series of lounge chairs and dining chairs with Bangalore-based furniture workshop and artisan collective, Phantom Hands, and intend to create a new series of cane chairs that combine their contemporary designs with methods passed on by the local artisans.

Their intention, as with all of their work, is to create simple pieces that people treasure for years to come. “We want them to look at a piece of furniture and say it feels like home to me,” says Sveje. “If they say that, we’ve succeeded.”

You can explore Inoda+Sveje furniture, including the DCO9 chair, at Great Dane Furniture.  

By Emily Tatti