Shiro Kuramata - Design New York Thursday, June 12, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Shiro Kuramata 1934-1991, exh. cat., Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1996, p. 52, fig. 11 and p. 162, fig. 2, pp. 163 and 181, fig. 6 for similar examples

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Kohi Taki once described a ‘thin-legged chair’ designed by Kuramata in 1970 as looking ‘just like a geometrical line drawn in the space between the floor and the seat.’  The rhetoric of ‘Three-legged Chair,’ however is very different.  For example, the round plates at the end of the legs would most probably not have appeared in Kuramata’s designs in the 1970s.  By placing these plates between the legs and the floor, Kuramata actualizes the relationship between the two, furthering the flow of this unique frame from the floor to the seat.” (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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Three-legged chair

ca. 1987
Chrome-plated tubular steel, laminated oak.
33 1/2 in. (85.1 cm) high
Manufactured by Ishimaru Co. Ltd., Japan.

$7,000 - 9,000 


12 June 2008, 2pm
New York