Shiro Kuramata

Japanese (Tokyo, Japan, 1934 - 1991)

Drawn to the unusual, the sensual, and the ephemeral, Shiro Kuramata spent much of his career reassessing the relationship between form and function in furniture design. In his designs for tables, chairs, and lamps, Kuramata imposed his own versions of surreal and minimalist idioms on everyday objects.

Kuramata earned degrees in architecture and interior design from Tokyo Polytechnic and the Kuwazawa Institute for Design. From 1957 to 1963 Kuramata worked for Maysuya, the Tokyo department store, before founding his own design practice in 1965.

In 1977 Kuramata designed the eponymous Drawer in an Irregular Form, a piece of storage furniture made of black stained ash with white lacquered drawer fronts. He became increasingly fascinated by the textures and paradoxes of materials such as acrylic and steel. In the 1980s he succeeded in creating "barely there" transparent chairs — including the whimsical Miss Blanche, an acrylic chair with rose petals embedded in the seat.

From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

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