Shiro Kuramata (29 November 1934 – 1 February 1991)
Shiro Kuramata could well be the most important Japanese designer of the 20th Century. He was known for his innovative use of industrial materials such as wire steel mesh. His unique geometric forms were uncharted waters and Kurumata, more than any other indivdual, would cement Japan’s position as a design leader in the international market.
Kurumata would output high quality design from 1965 when he founded the Kuramata Design Office in Tokyo until he died in 1991. Some of Shiro’s landmark works are now seen as too avante garde to have attracted a sustainable market (e.g. the “How high the Moon Chair”) whilst some of his more mainstream works are still sold today such as his “Progetti Compuiti” range and his “Sofa with Arms”.
Today Shiro Kurumata is still regarded as a key player and thought leader in 20th Century design. Even his brief entanglement with the now disfavoured Memphis movement has not sullied his achievements. His work can be seen in the permanent collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, MoMA of New York, the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in Toyama.