There are many factors that determine our experience with chocolate: the type of cocoa, the percentage used, and the flavors. But when Maison et Objet, the pre-eminent design show in France, told Oki Sato that they were naming him Designer Of The Year and asked him to design a set of chocolates, he had to pause. The head of the Tokyo and Milan-based design studio Nendo needed to rethink the concept of chocolate.
Nendo was asked to design a lounge for visitors to the upcoming edition of the biannual furniture and interiors show later this month. The studio has also created a range of nine chocolates moulded into unusual shapes within a 26-millimetre cube.
“Cocoa’s country of origin, kind, percentage content, technique of the chocolatier’s, the flavours inside… There are many factors that determine a chocolate’s taste,” said Nendo, which has previously released a set of chocolate pencils.
“In coming up with a new chocolate concept, we turned our attention not to such factors, but to the chocolate’s shape.” The Chocolatexture collection includes treats with pointed tips, hollow interiors and rough textures. One of the cubes is constructed from a frame of chocolate sticks, while another is formed into spikes.
Onomatopoeia, as it is called, is the formation of a word based on its associated sounds, like “cuckoo” or “sizzle” in English. For Nendo, the onomatopoeic words used for Maison et Objet’s project describe “drops” or “crunch,” their Japanese phonetics listed below:
Sube sube – smooth edges and corners
Tsubu tsubu – small bits or drops
Toge toge – sharp, pointed tips
Zara zara – granular
Goro goro – cubic or with many edges
Fuwa fuwa – soft and airy with many tiny holes
Poki poki – a delicate frame
Zaku zaku – a crunchy sound
Sato claims that even though they’re all made of the same chocolate, the “distinctive textures create different tastes.” If you want to find out, you can buy them at Maison et Objet starting this Friday, January 23. Only 400 sets were made.