Shiro Kuramata

Japanese

1934, Tokyo, Japan
1991

Biography

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.


Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to confirm it will be on view.

Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify collection holdings and artwork information.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.