Kazuhide Takahama studied architecture at the Industrial University of Tokyo, graduating in 1953. He adopted the Modern Movement’s functionalist approach to design yet retained a characteristic Japanese sensitivity to materials and aesthetics.
At the X Milan Triennale exhibition in 1954, he met the furniture manufacturer, Dino Gavina, who subsequently invited Takahama to work for him in Italy. Takahama’s first design for Gavina was the geometrically severe Naeko sofa-bed (1957). His later Dodd modular storage unit (1965) was also highly rational and comprised either stackable wooden or injection-moulded plastic cubes. In 1965, Takahama produced the sculptural Suzanne, Raymond and Marcel seating ranges – named in tribute to Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) and his siblings – that were constructed of blocks of polyurethane foam. Three years later, he designed the ESA system (1968) of hexagonal polyurethane foam blocks that could be assembled into either beds, sofas or chairs.
He also designed furniture that was constructed of simple geometric plywood elements with traditional lacquered finishes, such as his Kazuhide chair (1968), Antella drop-leaf table (1978) and Bramante cupboard (1973). He produced several innovative lamps for Gavina, including the Saori range (1973), which paid homage to Lucio Fontana (1899-1968). Takahama’s very pure designs achieved a strong internationalism through his skilful blending of elements of Eastern and Western cultures.
Fiell, C., Fiell, P. (2012). Design of the 20th Century. Germany: Littlehampton Book Services.