For those who want to know design, want to learn, enjoy

Survey on the actual situation of Japanese design archives

what is going on?Design archives of these people


Shiro Kuramata

Interior designer


Interview: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 13: 30-15: 00
Location: Kuramata Design Office
Interviewee: Ms. Kuramata Ms. Kaoru Miyamoto
Interviewer: Yasuko Seki, Aiko Wakui
Writing: Yasuko Sekiko



Shiro Kuramata

Interior designer
1934 - 1991.
1956 Kuwasawa Design Institute graduated from the living design department.
After 1965 San-ai publicity section, Matsuya interior design room,
     Kuramata Design Office established.
In 1990 he received the Order of Arts and Culture of the French Ministry of Culture.

Shiro Kuramata



In the winter of 1991, the news that Dr. Shigeru Kuramata suddenly passed greatly on the Japanese design world.
Currently, Japan's architecture and design gets a high reputation in the world, Japanese creators are active in Japan and abroad, but Kurata is one of the leading masters of Japanese who are leading the world overseas.
In addition, Kuramata is exactly a legend, such as a design that has a unique worldview that is often expressed by words of transparency and floating feeling, and that leads to criticism to manufacturing in the mass production and mass consumption era as a result It is an existential existence and gives a great influence to the later design world.
Kuramata's work is large, there are product designs such as ISSEY MIYAKE's boutiques, restaurants and bars, interior and space designs such as exhibitions, furniture represented by mistakes and branches, boutique fixtures and lighting.Although it is not well-known, it is also handling many designs and designs for friends and acquaintances' workplaces and houses.
"Kuramata Chronicle" (Author, Keiko Hashimoto) in the catalog of the exhibition "Shura Kuramata and Ettore Sottsas" at the 21_21 design site in 2011, summarizes the activity tendency of Kuramata largely in three periods according to the times. "The approach to art "(1961 to 1970)," design of intellectual operation "(1971 to 1980)," flight to freedom "(1981 to 1991), but in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, Kuramata Inspired the talent of abundance intuitively the mood of that era and society and sublimated as a design while receiving stimulation from friendship with attractive creators.Kurata's work not only inspired the design world but also inspired creators of different fields such as art, architecture, fashion.
Kurata's opportunity to enter overseas was probably the encounter with the master of Italian design world Ettore Sottsas in the 1980's and the design of overseas boutique by Miyake Issei.Furniture such as cracked glass, starpiece, Miss branch sealed artificial flower of rose, how / high the moon made of expanded metal etc, many glasses, acrylic, light etc. are presently thought as many people today as Kuramata design Many of the interior design filled with transparency and floating feeling consists of works of the '80s.Meanwhile, in his later years, he was also involved in large-scale public projects such as the Kōko bridge plan (1990) of Kumamoto City at the architectural project "Kumamoto Art Police" attracting attention at the time, It was expanding.
In such a sudden death, it was a big pain in Japanese design world, but Kurata's design genes are still handed down not only to the domestic but also to overseas creators as well.




Pyramid furniture (1968), deformed furniture series (1970), Lamp · Ober Q (1972),
Glass chair (1976), Imperial (1981), a series of works using star pieces (1983),
How · High · the · Moon (1986), Miss · Branch (1988),
Perfume bottle for ISSEY MIYAKE (1990), Laputa (1991) others


ISSEY MIYAKE MEN Minami Aoyama (1987) Edwards head office building existing (1969),
ISSEY MIYAKE Boutique Fromfase (1976),
ISSEY MIYAKE MEN Shibuya Seibu Department Store, (1987),
O'Rohomov (1989), Spiral (1990) and others


"The work of Shiro Kuramata" (Kashima Press Publication 1976),
"Shiro Kuramata -1967-1987" (PARCO Publication 1988),
"STAR PIECE - image sketch of Shiro Kuramata" (TOTO publication 1991),
"Undeveloped landscape - Memory · Dream · Katachi" (Library Publishing Bureau of Housing 1991) Other

Kuramata Shiro works



Currently Kurata's works and materials

Seki design opportunity to archive interested about is, when was the director of the 2011 21_21 design side went "Shiro Kuramata and Ettore Sottsass" Exhibition, valuable works and recording of Kuramata's is lost, also Kuramata It was that I faced the fact that people of the same age who can talk to him died.
So, after Mr. Kuramata died in 1991, I wanted to ask Ms. Mikiko who summarized its design heritage about the design archive.In fact, what kind of circumstances is currently concerning the storage and management of Mr. Kuramata's works and materials?


Kurata Takamata's work has large space (interior) design such as shops and exhibitions and product design such as furniture and accessories.Regarding the former, most people do not exist as Seki also knows.The things that you can see now are very few, such as the shops of ISSEY MIYAKE MEN in Aoyama, and they are also hand-added from the original.Therefore, it is the situation that interior design remains only in pictures and drawings.Kuramata himself also realized that the interior design was always updated, so I was conscious of leaving the work with photographs.
Besides the Kuramata design office, Ishimaru, Mitsuya Glass, and Miyake Issei who had supported Kuramata 's manufacturing, have products of the product.We stock the collections of our Kuramata design office in three containers and deposit them in Toyosu warehouse.Every time I lend it at an exhibition etc, I go to the warehouse to attend the warehouse, and it costs the storage, and I do not know how long it will be in this state.


Speaking with related Kuramata's works but is, of course, material sample, also I think that it is a valuable archive, such as prototypes.How are those current situations?


Regarding Kuramata Glass, Mr. Sanjotani Glass, I think that many of other things are in Ishimaru, but since they are not finished works, I do not know whether they are organized or converted into data.Twenty-five years have passed since Kuramata died.Since people 's memories are becoming more and more ambiguous, including those of the staff at the time, I think that it is important to record in some form, but in reality it is quite a hard work.


In preparation for the exhibition of related destination of 2121, I went to study in Ishimaru's warehouse.The impression still remains as it was kept carefully.However, I thought that it is a waste just to be sleeping in the warehouse, just as valuable materials that can confirm the creativity of Mr. Kuramata.
In addition, what are the sketches and posted articles?


Kuramata sketch has kept almost all classes Mata design office.In addition, regarding the articles of the magazine, the contents are organized mainly about what Kuramata himself is talking about or interviewed.


Mikio Seki was talking about wanting to publish a book that summarizes Kuramata's words.Were they organized due to such intention?


Kuramata That's right.There is a desire to put out a book that summarizes Kuramata's words.For that reason, I took time to convert Kuramata's words into digital data.I think that Kuramata's thought is expressing his / her words most accurately.


Mr. Issei Seki Mr. Kaname Miyake says that many works of Kuramata are stored in it, but in the 1970s and 1980s Mr. Kuramata was designed most of ISSEY MIYAKE 's shops, furniture and interior, furniture etc for that Does that mean that it is kept intact?


Kuramata Yes.But I heard that other works of Kuramata are also being collected.


Since Seki Kuramata was a worldwide designer, is it also collected in overseas museums?


The Kuramata Exhibition was also held at the National Museum of Decorative Art in Paris, with collections of "feathering acrylic, stool", "clock" etc.MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York) has "Miss Branch", "49 Drawers", "How-High the Moon", and Pompidou Center has "How-High the Moon".Also in the museum "M + (M-plus)" which you can have in Hong Kong scheduled to open in 2019, it is collected by disassembling the entire shimbashi "Kiyomitsu" of Shimbashi designed by Kuramata in 1988.


Seki Kyobashi of Puridjisuton of the headquarters building entrance, but was one of the few Kuramata's interior work was extant, was demolished for rebuilding.However, I heard that furniture and fittings are preserved as much as possible.I hope it will be useful in some form in a new building.
By the way, Mr. Kuramata's work does not assume mass production of product design such as chair, table, etc., one by one is made.In that sense, there is also the impression that it is a design rather than a design, a form of a chair or a table.


Kurata Kuramata was not so interested in mass production of his work in the first place, and there are many chairs and tables designed for a specific interior work and exhibition, so the number is limited.In addition, there are also many works where artisans at the time are too old to be elderly, or difficult to reproduce as the material does not get into the hands.


Seki In such circumstances, it is important that several manufacturers produce and sell Kuramata works.


Kurata In Italian coppelini company, "Variant Furniture", some of Japan's Nichinan is an acrylic floral series, Yamagiwa is Oka Q and Spice set is reprinted by waist and manufactured and sold.


Mr. Seki Okamata has been told that his work has been given to various people gently.


Kuramata That's right.Originally it was a person who did not obsess with things and money, so we gave presents to those who took care and those who were friendly.


Because I think that Seki Kuramata's work is worthy like art, I think that it is natural to go to an auction or become a collection of art museums.However, there are many things that everyone can appreciate freely if it becomes so, I feel sorry.


Kuramata It surely will not always be on display even if it is collected in an art museum.In the past, the National Museum of Decorative Art in Paris once held an exhibition at Kuramata, and at the corner of the chair, Kuramata's works are always displayed.


Even in Seki , as a fan of Kurata-cho design, I would like to hope that it will be displayed in such a way that I can see its view of the world.


Kuramata I hope that there will be such opportunity someday and I keep many works of Kuramata as my office.However, considering the future, I will consider whether or not it is necessary to stay in Japan at all costs.If you understand the work of Kuramata and recognize its value and have a place to keep it safe, I think that it may be overseas.


Seki I see.Mr. Motomi Kawakami also said, but since the product design is bulky, I think there is a limit in terms of space to save oneself, and that labor and cost will be serious too.
Well, in the case of design archives, I think that works, as well as drawings, sketches, pictures and so on are included, but what about them?


Kurata photo is preserved at Kuramata Design Office, but since it is a film at that time it will be deteriorated over the years, so important items are converted to digital data.As for the drawings as well, since it is handwritten at that time it is big and it is very troublesome to keep it because it is paper.Currently we distribute things that are considered important by digitizing.I keep all the sketches.


Was seeing them for the preparation of the related exhibition, but, in particular handwriting of drawings and sketches came handed down design concepts and Kuramata's breathing, it felt to be a very valuable materials.
By the way, Mr. Kuramata is a graduate of the Kuwasawa Design Institute, but did not you move like Kurakazawa to collect Kuramata works?


Since Kuramata Kuwasawa has many graduates who are also active other than Kuramata, it is difficult to collect only Kuramata's works.
I am sure that works and sketches are exhibited in museums and galleries, but I also want the archives left by Kuramata to be useful for design and cultural research and research.However, since paper materials are often expressed in Japanese, there are also feelings I want to keep in Japan if I think about the words.


Seki universities and research institutes that Kuramata doing research in Japan, do you Come researchers?


Kuramata is one person.




Possibility of private museum


Seki every time I come to Seki (Kurata Design Office, Setagaya Ward), but now that Kurakata's interior work hardly exists, this is a valuable space where you can feel Kuramata's view of the world.The other day, I heard from Ms. Mikiko, but at the Setagaya Art Museum, examples of where the home of the artist living in Setagaya, such as Junichi Mukai's Atelier Hall and Saburo Miyamoto Memorial Art Museum, are opened as a branch (private museum) there is.Will not it be possible to utilize this as a private museum in such a form as well? It seems that Kuramata works will become vivid as well because Kuramata's world view is embodied in the space.


Kuramata That's right.However, as I mentioned earlier, Kuramata himself thought that "there is no thing left ...".So my work was also gifted to acquaintances and friends gently.For Kuramata, I think that the process of thinking and producing works was important.That is why I think that I was stuck with keeping my completed work in photographs.


Seki I went to the shooting site of Mr. Kuramata's work several times in the era of design magazine editor. Who should be the photographer when making articles?As I asked, this time I'm happy that I can ask this person, I will nominate a photographer, but I did not get on the shooting site myself.However, when you see the picture that has come up, Oh!It was taken like this, or sometimes I felt that it was pleasing to say that this is an interesting photograph, but it has been shut down and not satisfied.It seems as if Kuramata and the photographer are interacting with each other through photos, and it still remains in the impression.


Regarding the Kuramata Private Museum, it is a pleasant experience for me to touch this place, Kuramata's work, but there are many things we have to clear when it comes to permanent museums targeting an indefinite number of people, It is an honest place to say that the load is heavy as an individual.Originally it is not a building that assumed a museum, and hurdles seem to be high considering consideration to neighbors, funds and administration, and continuity.
Also, I think Kuramata did not say that his work and design will remain as some sort of authority.Therefore, I think that it will not be pleasant just to be displayed as a memorial, exhibit.I also hope that it will be useful as a document for future design rather than simply as an exhibit.


Seki I see.I think that it is important how valuable materials are useful for future design.For that, it is important to seek out new museums that match the times, no, designing the space as a theme. "The museum form was developed and developed in Western Europe, but it may be necessary to seek new forms beyond that framework.The final goal of this "design archive actual situation survey" is also to explore new design archives and museums.




Inheritance of software of Kuramata work


Seki Well, will change the story, the three Hoya glass in Kuramata work, such as Ishimaru, it is essential the presence of the craftsmen who have a high degree of technology and passion.I think that the production process leading to that as well as the completed work is also an important design archive.


Kuramata I think that it is right.Mr. Sanji Yotsuya, Mr. Sanjya himself was very enthusiastic about the realization of Kuramata's design idea as a craftworker.Ishimaru Ishimaru president realized the design of Kuramata with a network with craftsmen with advanced and specialized technologies such as acrylic, metal and painting.Now, I heard that the aging of such craftsmen is proceeding, there is no circumstance to go out of business or have no trace.There will be materials and materials that are difficult to obtain because the times change.


Enabling the implementation of related Kuramata work and the craftsmanship, I want to record in some way as well, such as technology.
Besides, at the Kurata Exhibition of 2121, I played video, but it was valuable data that Mr. Kuramata himself appeared.


Kuramata In those days, it was not an era in which it is easy to record pictures as it is now, but we also store videos produced at exhibitions in and outside of Japan and TV programs.I think that these are precious things to know about Shigenori Kuramata before life.


Seki today Thank you for your valuable story.As for Mr. Kuramata's archive, I would like to continue to talk about Mr. Teruyoshi Mitsuya and Ms. Ishimaru.



Censure: Yasuko Seki



Contact address 

For inquiries about Shiro Kuramata's design archive,
Please contact from NPO corporate thinking platform website.


what is going on?
Design archives of these people

There is also the possibility of changing subjects of survey.

The subjects (individuals) to be surveyed have been selected, including those who have already died, referring to the 2006 Asahi Shimbun publication "The Great Masters who have designed Nippon".

* Is a person who has died.




Let's talk about Shiro Kuramata

Symposium held

Shiro Kuramata (1934-1991) is a legendary designer who was active in the 1960s and 1980s.
His character and his work continue to fascinate people all over the world.
Thirty years before his death, he held a symposium to connect the design of Kuramata to the younger generation from the past to the present and the future as "Introduction to Shiro Kuramata".


click     click