kuramata's designs reflect the confidence and creativity of postwar japan, retaining
a strong identity based on traditional japanese aesthetics while breaking new
groundthrough the use of innovative materials. he combined thejapanese concept
of the unity of the arts with his fascination with contemporary western culture,
inventing a new design vocabulary: : the ephemeral, the sensation of floating
and release from gravity, transparency and the construction of light.kuramata
reassessed the relationship between form and function, imposing his own vision
of the surreal and of minimalist ideals on everyday objects.
born 1934 in tokyo between the wars, the son of an administrator who became
vice-director of a scientific institute, kuramata was raised in japan. he received
a traditional training in the woodcraft department at tokyo's polytechnic high
school, and then went on to work in a furniture factory, the 'teikoku kizai
company' (1953). he pursued his studies in interior design at the 'kuwasawa
design school' in tokyo (1956) -institute that taught western concepts of interior
design- the he was hired by the small department store 'san-ai' as a designer
of showcases as well as floor and window
displays (1957). after a brief stint as a freelance designer for the retail
giant 'matsuya department store' (1964) the following year he opened his own
design office in tokyo (1965).
during the 1970s and 80s, kuramata, alert to the revolutionary possibilities
of new technologies and industrial materials, seized upon acrylic, glass, aluminum,
and steel mesh to create objects that appear to break free of gravity into airy
realms of transparency and lightness. he was awarded with the 'mainichi industrial
design prize' (1972) design of the acrylic lamp 'oba-Q'/ghost (1972), design
of glass chair and glass table (1976)he received the japan cultural design award
he was inspired by ettore sottsass’s playful spirit and love of bright
color and joined sottsass’s collective, the design group 'memphis', based
in milan, at its founding in 1981. sottsass was considered the italian designer
to be his 'maestro.'
design of homage to hoffmann 'begin the beguine' (1985),design of steel mesh
chair 'how high the moon' (1986).each of kuramata’s pieces is realized
in a process of meticulous craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail
that is rooted in centuries-old japanese tradition. Died in 1991.