An innovative transformation of industrial materials
Shiro Kuramata’s inventive transformations of everyday industrial materials, including steel mesh, terrazzo, corrugated aluminium, and steel cables, pushed material technology to new design limits. When asked if his design approach was influenced by the materials themselves rather than his ideas, Kuramata answered, “The design image comes first..” Once I get my idea, I find materials literally by the roadside and can utilise information gleaned from daily life. Kuramata first used steel mesh in 1984, when he completely covered the interior of the Esprit boutique in Hong Kong with mesh grid—walls and ceilings, hanging and shelving units—and three years later, for the Issey Miyake boutique in Tokyo’s Seibu department store, he created another mesh interior with tall, shaped mesh columns growing from the floor up to an airy ceiling.
How High the Moon is part of the same series of experiments that included his North Latitude table in 1985. It shares the same impact of immateriality. Its metal mesh surface has been reduced to a series of crossing points and painted with a custom nickel or copper paint. The chair’s transparent, shimmering, almost weightless volume is otherworldly, maybe hinting at its name. During the 1980s, Kuramata’s recurrent themes were dematerialisation and the ironies of function and form.
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