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Shiro Kuramata

His countercultural style creates unexpected relationships between objects, and his legacy is a major one for the whole design world. After earning a degree in Architecture from the Tokyo Technical College, he began working for the furniture company Teikokukizai in 1953. In 1965, he founded the Kuramata Design Office. In the 1970s and 1980s he explored the possibilities offered by emerging technologies and industrial materials. In 1981, he joined the Italian design collective known as the Memphis Group.

He shared a playful spirit and passion for bold colors with the members of the group, and became close friends with its founder Ettore Sottsass. His surrealist vision revolutionizes everyday objects through a mix of art, craftsmanship, and design. Among his most disruptive designs are the steel mesh armchair “How High the Moon”, and the “Miss Blanche” armchair in clear methacrylate with colorful paper flowers embedded in the material. He also designed the “Progetti Compiuti” line of drawer units for Cappellini. He passed away prematurely in 1991, at the age of 56. Many of his works are on view in the permanent collections of major world museums including the Centre G. Pompidou in Paris, the MoMA Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Vitra Design Museum in Basel, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto.