Shiro Kuramata - Design London Thursday, May 12, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gifted by the artist's wife to the present owner, 2011

  • Literature

    Shiro Kuramata 1934-1991, exh. cat., Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1996, pp. 70, 78, 181
    Deyan Sudjic, Shiro Kuramata: Essays & Writings, London, 2013, p. 175
    Deyan Sudjic, Shiro Kuramata: Catalogue of Works, London, 2013, p. 346

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present model ‘Just in Time’ clock was designed for the Clocks by 31 Artists exhibitions held at the Matsuya Design Gallery, Tokyo in 1986. It is a piece that Kuramata was very fond of and that he often liked to have near him. For the hour hand, he pulled some twigs out of his pocket that he had possibly found while walking. For the second hand, he used a sort of bristle, experimenting repeatedly so that when the hands moved, they would create a gentle arc. The piece was thus assembled from objects that existed around the artist and included colours he liked and typically used. The clock was intended to act like a free-forming picture that changed according to the time it showed.

  • 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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'Just in Time' clock

Melamine, natural branches, wool, nylon.
52 x 37 x .6 cm (20 1/2 x 14 5/8 x 0 1/4 in.)
Reverse with paper label inscribed Just in Time/1986./Shiro Kuramata.

£3,000 - 5,000 

Sold for £8,820

Contact Specialist

Antonia King

Head of Sale, Design
+44 20 7901 7944


London Auction 12 May 2022