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'Miss Blanche' chair

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Ο33

Property of an Important European Collector

'Miss Blanche' chair

Designed 1988
acrylic, synthetic roses, anodised tubular aluminium
90.8 x 62.8 x 59.8 cm (35 3/4 x 24 3/4 x 23 1/2 in.)
Manufactured by Ishimaru Co., Tokyo, Japan. From the edition of 56.
Designed in 1988.

Estimate
HK$2,200,000 - 3,200,000 
€265,000-385,000
$282,000-410,000

sold for HK$2,240,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

  • Literature

    Ko Tanaka, ed., Star piece: sketch of image by Shiro Kuramata, Tokyo, 1991, passim for drawings
    Matthias Dietz and Michael Mönninger, Japanese Design, Cologne, 1994, front cover, pp. 74-75
    Shiro Kuramata 1934-1991, exh. cat., Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1996, pp. 26-27, 39-40, fig. 1, p. 48, p. 187, fig. 8, p. 192 , fig. 4
    Alexander von Vegesack, et al., eds., 100 Masterpieces from the Vitra Design Museum Collection, exh. cat., Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, 1996, p. 205
    Ettore Sottsass, 'An Exhibition Dedicated to Shiro Kuramata', Domus, no. 788, December 1996, p. 56
    Akari Matsuura, Japan Design to the new generation, Japan, 2001, p. 77
    'Kuramata's Tokyo', Domus, no. 858, April 2003, pp. 121, 126
    Phaidon Design Classics, Volume Three, London, 2006, no. 878 for an image and a drawing
    Jean-Louis Gaillemin, ed., Design Contre Design: Deux siècles de créations, exh. cat., Galerie Nationale du Grand Palais, Paris, 2007, p. 301
    Glenn Adamson and Jane Pavitt, eds., Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970-1990, exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2011, p. 153
    Shiro Kuramata and Ettore Sottsass, exh. cat., 21_21 Design Sight, Tokyo, 2011, p. 68 for a drawing, p. 69, p. 208 for a detail, p. 211, fig. 27
    Deyan Sudjic, Shiro Kuramata: Essays & Writings, London, 2013, pp. 77, 104-105
    Deyan Sudjic, Shiro Kuramata: Catalogue of Works, London, 2013, p. 362, no. 541

  • Catalogue Essay

    “The 20th-century dream has been to ‘go even faster,’ but, in the next century, [I] think this will be to ‘float even more’.” - Shiro Kuramata

    Shiro Kuramata was one of the greatest designers of the 20th century. A distinctive, brilliant and complex talent, he helped push modern Japan into becoming an exporter of creativity, not just an importer. Kuramata designed a series of remarkably beautiful interiors, almost all of them now destroyed. His furniture has survived and is now his principle legacy. It is the 'Miss Blanche' chair that most powerfully embodies his poetic approach to design. It combines an unnerving kind of beauty, a strong narrative, and a commitment to the craft values of making.

    Named after the central character in the famed play A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche Dubois, the chair resonates with the idea of her tragic beauty, shelled in dreamlike delusion. It is impossible not to be touched by the serene seeming beauty of a graceful transparent object, in which roses float in air, held in place by nothing tangible. The chair seems effortless. However, the craftsmanship behind the creation of the chair was so demanding that many of the craftsmen were reluctant ever to work with Kuramata afterwards.

    Working through trial and error, Kuramata’s craftsmen found that pouring liquid acrylic resin to various heights of the mould, then dropping in the flowers, waiting eight hours for the acrylic to harden, and subsequently repeating this, created the best effect. The roses needed to be held in position with tweezers until the resin hardened enough to ensure that they did not sink. Care was taken to make sure there was a good spread of flowers throughout the mould, and that they made a good pattern. The first batch of rose-studded acrylic sheet yielded just eight useable chairs, with one failure.

    A total of 56 'Miss Blanche' chairs have been produced over the years - a number that reflects Kuramata’s age at the time of his death. Kuramata experimented with real roses and expensive artificial flowers, but cheap acrylic flowers turned out to work best in retaining colour and shape.

    Three crucial relationships demonstrate the significant influence that Kuramata has left in the world of design. Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, who still collects his work, commissioned him to design some of his most beautiful shops. Kuramata was also a close friend of Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, who later invited Kuramata to join the Memphis Group that Ettore founded in 1981. British architectural designer John Pawson was so inspired by the experience of working in Kuramata’s studio in Japan that he returned to England and eventually began his own practice in 1981.

    Deyan Sudjic
    Director of the Design Museum, London


    The ‘Miss Blanche’ is included in the following important and international museum collections: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; DMA, Dallas; M+ Museum, Hong Kong.

  • Catalogue Essay

    「在二十世紀,人們一直夢想追求著『走得更快』,但是我想,在下個世紀,追求的會是『更加流動』。」 — 倉俁史朗 倉俁史朗是二十世紀最重要的設計師之一,擁有著獨特、傑出、多元的天賦,他大力推動讓近代日本成為不單單只是個進口舶來品的國家,更將創意出口到全世界。他曾經設計了一系列風采絕倫的室內設計,時至今日已所剩無幾。其設計傢俱則幸得留存,並成為他著名的傳世經典。名為「布蘭琪小姐」的這張椅子,正是他以極其詩意表現手法的代表之作,結合了一種近乎如坐針氈的奇特美感、強烈的敘事,並且對追求精湛工藝價值的堅持。 靈感來自於頗負盛名的舞台劇《慾望號街車》中女主角布蘭琪.杜布瓦,倉俁所設計的這把椅子,映照著她被如夢幻般的妄想所籠罩之下悲劇式的美麗。優雅、透澈,玫瑰懸浮在空中,如此寧靜般的美麗,很難不去觸動到觀者的心弦。然而,這個看似絲毫不費吹灰之力的設計,背後卻涉及了極度繁複的技術,以至於後來許多工匠都不願意和倉俁合作。 倉俁手下的工匠經過不斷試煉,發現了最佳效果的製作方法。他們先將液態壓克力樹脂度注入模具中不同高度,接下來放入人造玫瑰,等待八小時讓壓克力變硬,隨後再重覆整個過程。為了避免玫瑰下沈,在壓克力硬化前,必須一直要用鉗子夾住,小心翼翼固定著,確保平均分置在模具裡,而且整體必須呈現出一個完好的圖樣。第一批做好內嵌的玫瑰壓克力板,僅僅生產出八張可用的椅子,另有一張則宣告失敗。 終其一生,倉俁總共製作了 56 張《布蘭琪小姐》椅,恰巧和他的過世時的年歲一樣。他也曾經試過使用真的玫瑰,或是昂貴的人造花,但唯獨平價的壓克力玫瑰卻在顏色及形狀維持上的表現最佳。 三段耐人尋味的軼事,或許正好訴說了倉俁為設計界所留下的影響。日本時尚設計師三宅一生,向來是倉俁作品的收藏家,也曾經邀聘他為自己品牌設計了好幾個絕美的店面。此外,倉俁也是義大利建築師及設計師艾托勒.索薩思的摯友,他後來邀請了倉俁加入其創立於 1981 年的「孟菲斯派」。另外,英國建築設計師約翰.保森則是受到在倉俁日本工作室裏工作經驗的啟發,當他在 1981 年回到英國後,開展了自己的設計生涯。 迪耶.薩德奇 倫敦設計博物館總監 《布蘭琪小姐》椅子已被下列重要及國際級美術館收納在館藏之一:紐約現代藝術博物館、三藩市現代藝術博物館、達拉斯藝術博物館及香港M+博物館 。

  • Artist Bio

    Shiro Kuramata

    Japanese • 1934 - 1991

    Shiro Kuramata is widely admired for his ability to free his designs from gravity and use materials in ways that defied convention. After a restless childhood, his ideas of being an illustrator having been discouraged, Kuramata discovered design during his time at the Teikoku Kizai Furniture Factory in Arakawa-ku in 1954. The next year he started formal training at the Department of Interior Design at the Kuwasawa Design Institute. His early work centered on commercial interiors and window displays. In 1965, at the age of 31, he opened his own firm: Kuramata Design Office.

    Throughout his career he found inspiration in many places, including the work of Italian designers (particularly those embodying the Memphis style) and American conceptual artists like Donald Judd, and combined such inspirations with his own ingenuity and creativity. His dynamic use of materials, particularly those that were transparent, combination of surfaces and awareness of the potential of light in design led him to create objects that stretched structural boundaries and were also visually captivating. These qualities are embodied in his famous Glass Chair (1976).

    View More Works

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English

中文

Ο33

Property of an Important European Collector

'Miss Blanche' chair

Designed 1988
acrylic, synthetic roses, anodised tubular aluminium
90.8 x 62.8 x 59.8 cm (35 3/4 x 24 3/4 x 23 1/2 in.)
Manufactured by Ishimaru Co., Tokyo, Japan. From the edition of 56.
Designed in 1988.

Estimate
HK$2,200,000 - 3,200,000 
€265,000-385,000
$282,000-410,000

sold for HK$2,240,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

Sandy Ma
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

General Enquiries
+852 2318 2000

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 28 May 2017

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