Tag Archive | The Memphis Group

Eye On Design: Menorah #7 By Peter Shire

Menorah #7 By Peter Shire
All Photos By Gail

In the 1980s, Judaica artists began to reexamine the form of the Hanukkah lamp, which according to rabbinical prescription should have eight lights in a straight row and on the same level, with a ninth set off from them.  Peter Shire (b. 1947) typically takes familiar objects and reimagines their shapes, colors and materials so that we barely recognize them.

Menorah #7 By Peter Shire

In his Menorah #7  (1986), a mixture of pastel and hot colors, industrial metals and a cantilevered, swirling arrangement of parts  challenge the modernist aesthetic of simplicity that had dominated design for a century. This post-modernism was a key design principe of the Memphis Design Group to which Shire belonged.

Menorah #7 By Peter Shire

Photographed in The Jewish Museum in Manhattan.


Eye On Design: Kyoto Table By Shiro Kuramata

Kyoto Table
Photos By Gail

Born in Tokyo in 1934, Shiro Kuramata studied at the city’s polytechnic high school and Kuwsawa Design School. He revolutionized design in postwar Japan by considering the relationship between form and function, adhering to minimalist ideas but embracing surrealism as well. During the 1970s and 1980s, Kuramata began to use new technologies and industrial materials. He was inspired by Ettore Sottsass and joined the Memphis Group at its founding in 1981.

Kyoto Table Detail
Kyoto Table, Detail

The Kyoto Table (1983) is an example Kuramata’s innovative use of concrete and glass to create minimalist form with surface interest. Kuramata’s furniture and interiors have been influential both is his native country and abroad.

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC.

Eye On Design: Cabinet De Curiosité By Shiro Kuramata

Cabinet De Curiosite 2
All Photos By Gail

Shiro Kuramata (1934 – 1991) a member of The Memphis Group and among the most innovative designers of the late twentieth century, was fascinated by the visual possibilities of acrylic. The artist stated that his ideal objective was to see objects floating in air. Named for the Wunderkammern owned by Renaissance princes that displayed natural and man-made curiosities, Cabinet De Curiosité (1988) offers the magical impression of suspending its contents in midair. Kuramata explored the phenomenological effects of acrylic — light and lightness, invisibility and reflectivity, weight and weightlessness – and the material has become the poetic signature of his work. Kuramata used the term Neiro, or “sound-color,” to describe the synesthetic effect that acrylic has it both its physical presence and the spectral color-shadows it casts as light passes through it. Its prismatic luminosity changes with light and viewpoint, exploiting the optical effects of the material. Shown here alongside Flower Vase #3 (1989).

Photographed in the Met Breuer in NYC.