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  • Provenance

    Design, Bonhams, London,  20 May 1998, Lot 245

  • Literature

    Matthias Dietz and Michael Mönninger, Japan Design, Cologne, 1992, p. 68; Shiro Kuramata 1934-1991, exh. cat., Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1996, p. 60, pl. 4 and p. 181, pl. 71; Ettore Sottsass Jr., ‘Una Mostra Dedicata a Shiro Kuramata’, Domus, 1996, p. 55; Charlotte and Peter Fiell, 1000 Chairs, Cologne, 1997, p. 575; Akari Matsuura, Japan Design-to the New Generation, Japan, 2001, p. 76

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘The darkest night would shine / If you would come to me soon / Until you will, how still my heart / How high the moon…’
     
    Shiro Kuramata designed ‘How High the Moon’ in 1986. That same year he signed a production and distribution agreement with Teruo Kurosaki’s Idée, limiting sales to Japan. Between 1986 and 1997, Idée produced “about thirty to forty pieces”, according to Mieko Kuramata, the designer’s widow. Of that number, ten were sold directly by Idée and the remainder placed by Kuramata in his interior design commissions. All Idée examples were manufactured by Terada Tekkojo.
     
    A durable jazz standard, ‘How High the Moon’ was first performed on Broadway in the 1940 revue Two for the Show. In subsequent years, it was recorded by a pantheon of jazz greats including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman.

  • 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

70

Early ‘How High the Moon’ chair

c. 1986
Nickel-plated expandable steel. 
71.1 cm. (28 in.) high
Manufactured by Terada Tekkojo, Japan.  From an edition of approximately 30-40.

Estimate
£10,000 - 15,000 Ω

Sold for £27,500

Design

30 Apr 2009, 2pm
London