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Musings

Shiro Kuramata for Issey Miyake

Design / Fashion

Shortly after Issey Miyake established his namesake fashion brand in 1973, he approached Shiro Kuramata, an important emerging talent in the areas of architecture and furniture design, to design a store for him in the From-First Building in Tokyo.


Posted October 29th, 2017 By Colby Mugrabi

From this initial project, grew one of the most organic and fruitful collaborations between any two creative forces. Until Kuramata’s unfortunate passing in 1991, he designed dozens of retail stores for Miyake, later covering a number of them in his trademark colored-glass-infused ‘Star Piece’ terrazzo.

Aside from interior projects, the like-minded Japanese designers also collaborated on countless objects. In 1990, at the request of Issey Miyake, Kuramata designed a number of perfume bottles for Miyake’s ‘L’EAU D’ISSEY’ perfume. Three prototypes were manufactured, all of which included cube-shaped acrylic forms with anodized aluminum caps in varying colors. Perfume Bottle #1 contained four interior balls linked by pipes, Perfume Bottle #2 included a spiral shaped interior, and Perfume Bottle #3 incorporated a sphere-shaped cavity. Kuramata’s design objective was to convert liquid into an object, an idea he previously explored in 1983 when he designed a U-shaped pipe bottle for Kirin’s ‘Robert Brown’ Whisky. Unfortunately, in the case of Issey Miyake’s perfume bottles, Kuramata’s imaginative shapes were unable to be fully realized due to inadequate technology at the time of production. Nearly two decades after the initial designs were imagined, Issey Miyake finally released Perfume Bottle #3 in limited edition as an ode to Shiro Kuramata in 2008.

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