Shiro Kuramata - Design New York Friday, June 15, 2012 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Livina Yamagiwa, Akihabara, Tokyo

  • Literature

    Shiro Kuramata 1934-1991, exh. cat., Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1996, p. 168 for the project
    Pen with New Attitude, vol. 7/15, no. 225, 2008, illustrated p. 48

  • Catalogue Essay

    Shiro Kuramata designed the present lot, a unique cabinet (circa 1983), for the reception room of Tetsu Konagaya, then-President of Livina Yamagiwa, a large Tokyo retailer. The President’s office comprised five rooms including the office itself, a front desk, a lobby, a conference room, and a reception area, where this cabinet resided.At the time of the present commission, Livina Yamagiwa had begun distributing Danish furniture manufactured by Fritz Hansen. When designing the President’s office, Kuramata installed Fritz Hansen produced works by Danish architect Poul Kjærholm, around which he designed his own furniture— the present lot included—to reflect the working relationship between the two companies.

  • 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).

    View More Works


Unique cabinet, from the office of Tetsu Konagaya, President of Livina Yamagiwa, Tokyo

ca. 1983
Painted wood.
41 3/8 x 71 x 23 3/4 in (105.1 x 180.3 x 60.3 cm)

$30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for $37,500


15 June 2012
New York