Shiro Kuramata - Design New York Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Matthias Dietz and Michael Mönninger, Japan Design, Cologne, 1992, p. 70 for a similar example; Shiro Kuramata 1934-1991, exh. cat., Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1996, p. 50, fig. 9 and p. 175, fig. 7 for similar examples  and p. 176, fig. 3; Charlotte and Peter Fiell, 1000 Chairs, Cologne, 1997, p. 574 for a similar example; Charlotte and Peter Fiell, eds., Domus Vol. X 1985-1989, Cologne, 2006, p. 38

  • Catalogue Essay

    “After working with the Memphis group in the 1980s, Kuramata’s design underwent a great change.  The ‘stiff’ quality of his work of the 1970s, in which the very concept of an object was retraced to its origin, now took on a more poetical, more literary expression.  This new quality could be attributed, for example , to external factors such as the changing mood of the time, but much of the change was due to the spiritual influence of Ettore Sottsass.  While employing hard yet pliant materials such as steel piping and mesh, 'Sing Sing Sing' achieves an effect that recalls the taut suppleness of a waterside reed swaying in a gentle wind.” (Enomoto, Shiro Kuramata 1934-1991, p. 58)

  • Artist Biography

    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).

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Set of eight “Sing Sing Sing” chairs

ca. 1985
Chrome-plated tubular steel, painted steel mesh.
Each: 35 in. (88.9 cm) high
Manufactured by XO, France.  Each chair impressed with “XO” at end of arm (8).

$20,000 - 25,000 

Sold for $34,600


12 June 2008, 2pm
New York