Shiro Kuramata

(TOKYO, JAPAN, 1934 – 1991)

Shiro Kuramata graduated in Architecture from the Tokyo Polytechnic in 1953, and then found work at the Teikokukizai furniture company. Until 1956 Kuramata studied Interior Design at the Kuwasawa Design Institute in Tokyo.

From 1957 to 1963 Shiro Kuramata worked for Matsuya, the Tokyo department store and in 1965 he founded his own studio. In his capacity as an interior designer, he designed furniture and more than three hundred bars and restaurants. During the 70s and 80s, attracted by the numerous possibilities offered by new technologies and industrial materials, Kuramata turned to acrylic, glass, aluminium and steel mesh to create transparent, light objects. Gifted with a playful spirit and a fan of Ettore Sottsass’s bright colours, he joined Memphis right from its foundation in 1981. Kuramata's approach to the composition of furniture and interiors revolutionized post-war Japanese design. Kuramata re-evaluated the relationship between form and function, imposing his own surreal and minimalist vision on everyday objects. Among his longest associations we should mention the Japanese fashion brand Issey Miyake, for which he designed most of the interiors of Miyake boutiques worldwide from the late 1970s to 1990.

His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, the MoMA Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Vitra Design Museum in Basel, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto.

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