Kuramata's designs reflect the confidence and creativity
of postwar japan, retaining a strong identity based on
traditional japanese aesthetics while breaking new ground
through the use of innovative materials. he combined the
Japanese concept of the unity of the arts with his fascination
with contemporary western culture, inventing a new design
vocabulary: : the ephemeral, the sensation of floating and
release from gravity, transparency and the construction of light.
Kuramata reassessed the relationship between form and function,
imposing his own vision of the surreal and of minimalist ideals
on everyday objects.
Born 1934 in Tokyo between the wars, the son of an administrator
who became vice-director of a scientific institute, Kuramata was
raised in Japan. He received a traditional training in the woodcraft
department at Tokyo's Polytechnic High School, and then went on
to work in a furniture factory, the 'teikoku kizai company' (1953).
he pursued his studies in interior design at the 'Kuwasawa Design
School' in Tokyo (1956) -institute that taught western concepts of
interior design- the he was hired by the small department store
'San-ai' as a designer of showcases as well as floor and window
displays (1957). after a brief stint as a freelance designer for the
retail giant 'Matsuya department store' (1964) the following year
he opened his own design office in Tokyo (1965).
During the 1970s and 80s, Kuramata, alert to the revolutionary
possibilities of new technologies and industrial materials,
seized upon acrylic, glass, aluminum, and steel mesh to create
objects that appear to break free of gravity into airy realms of
transparency and lightness.