The project for the reissuing of SAMBA-M was initiated by Gallery Tamura Joe under the supervision of Kuramata Design Office in 2021, 30 years after Kuramata's death. Based on the existing drawings and the actual product, Ambientec improved it to be double-walled glass, water-proof, cordless, and rechargeable powered by a long-lasting lithium-ion battery.
Original SAMBA-M was an objet d'art in which a red LED the latest technology at the time, encased in a wine-glass-shaped glass. It was very difficult and expensive to produce, and only a small number were made available to the public.
The reissue “SAMBA-M” by Ambientec was achieved with the goal of developing a product that would be affordable to a larger range of people through the advancement of technology.
SAMBA-M was unveiled in 1988 at the exhibition "IN-SPIRATION," which toured Tokyo, Paris, and Milan. The exhibition invited more than 20 young creators from Japan and abroad who proposed new lighting designs unconstrained by existing concepts, and included Ron Arad and Zaha Hadid. Kuramata supervised the exhibition, the venue configuration, and exhibited his work “SAMBA-M”. At the opening party, he surprised the guests by pouring champagne on the SAMBA-M and lighting it up red.
Shiro Kuramata (1934 – 1991)
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.
Gallery Tamura Joe
Gallery Tamura Joe is one of the most influential design galleries in Japan directed by entrepreneurs and design enthusiasts Masatoshi Tamura and Joe Suzuki.
Masatoshi Tamura is a graduate of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the United States. Back in Japan, he founded Sempre Design, a lifestyle store that is well known among design- enthusiasts for its selection of talented and emerging designers.
Joe Suzuki is both a designer and an entrepreneur. He collaborates with international artists in the development of new projects and he also organizes design events.
A journalist by passion, he is the author of "A Secret of Masterpiece Furniture," a publication still considered a best seller among design books.
Suzuki is also an art collector and participated in the establishment of the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery.