Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991) was one of the most influential Japanese designers of the 20th century. His unique approach married the traditional Japanese design aesthetic with Western design princi- ples of Postmodernism.
Featuring a selection of Kuramata’s objects, drawings and interiors, the exhibition 'Shiro Kuramata – Design as Poetry' affords an insight into the work and the world of thought of this fascinating designer, who passed away at the peak of his career.
Kuramata’s trajectory as a designer coincided with the rapid economic boom of postwar Japan. In the 1960s, he initially designed interiors for restaurants and department stores, and soon began to create poetic furniture and everyday objects.
Many of Kuramata’s designs evidence his roots in the inherent minimalism of Japanese culture, though they also reveal his growing interest in the global design tendencies of his time. When the design group Memphis formed in 1981, Kuramata joined what is today known as the most important movement in Postmodern design.
Kuramata described Ettore Sottsass, Memphis’ founder, as his 'maestro' and maintained a lifelong friendship with the Italian designer.
Works such as the side table 'Kyoto' (1983) or the surrealistic umbrella stand 'F.1.86' (1987), which appears to defy gravity, illustrate the influence the Memphis Group had on Kuramata.