The inspiration behind Kuramata's clock
How a childhood memory of banknotes, balloons and confetti went into its creation
Shiro Kuramata is one of the most inventive designers of the 20th century, whose interiors and furniture pieces, not least his fabulous chairs, are the product of a radical sensibility that could just as easily have found expression in the world of contemporary art. His works are certainly functional but generally have another dimension to them altogether - the gift of the designer/artist.
Elegantly bound and presented in a transparent case, Shiro Kuramata is divided into two parts. The first, Essays And Writings, features an extensive monograph by Deyan Sudjic, as well as the words of the great man himself, while the second contains a catalogue of his works. The Kuramata archives were founded in 1991 in Tokyo by his wife Mieko, shortly after Kuramata's death. However, it is only in this illustrated catalogue that we can see for the first time the complete works he created between 1958 and 1991.
Among the most striking of these is Spiral Clock A (1981) commissioned by Nichinan Co Ltd. It features an aluminium clock face placed inside a moulded, transparent acrylic capsule. This, Kuramata writes, was inspired by a childhood memory of a festival where he saw transparent balloons inside which were placed banknotes and confetti, which danced about to their own, slow-motion rhythms as if they did not really belong in this space or time. By encasing the clock inside the acrylic capsule, Kuramata wanted not just to create an object which tells the time but to present to us something separate about the idea of time itself – that it is a concept with other dimensions. If you want to know more, check out Shiro Kuramata in our online store.