Shiro Kuramata

(Tokyo, Japan, 1934–1991)

Shiro Kuramata graduated in Architecture from Tokyo Polytechnic in 1953 and then found a job at the furniture company Teikokukizai. Until 1956 Kuramata studied interior design at the Kuwasawa Design Institute in Tokyo. In 1965 he founded his own studio. As an interior designer, he designed furniture and more than 300 bars and restaurants. During the 1970s and ’80s, attracted by the many possibilities offered by new technologies and industrial materials, Kuramata turned to acrylic, glass, aluminum, and steel mesh to create transparent and light objects. Endowed with a playful spirit and a lover of brilliant colors, he joined Ettore Sottsass in the wake of the foundation of the Memphis Group in 1981. Kuramata’s approach to furniture and interior design revolutionized post-war Japanese design. Kuramata re-evaluated the relationship between form and function, imposing his own surreal and minimalist vision on everyday objects. His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Centre G. Pompidou 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.