"Miss Blanche" armchair

MAKER:
Designer

Shiro Kuramata ( Japanese, 1934 - 1991 )


Manufacturer

Ishimaru Company Ltd. ( Japanese, 1972 )

DATE:
Designed 1988, executed 1989
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General Description

With its “floating” artificial roses forever suspended in a body of acrylic resin, Shiro Kuramata’s Miss Blanche chair stands as a poetic realization of artifice and notions of eternal beauty, reflected in its title, taken from the character in Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire. In the 1951 movie version, Vivien Leigh’s character, Blanche DuBois, wears a corsage of roses, which inspired the visual motif of Kuramata’s chair, evoking the character’s frail vanity and notions of preserved beauty. Miss Blanche is a sculptural experimentation for the designer, incorporating slabs of cast acrylic for its transparent, ethereal quality, seemingly denying what is in fact a weighty and massive object suspended upon tubes of colored aluminum. The sense of lightness was furthered by Kuramata’s obsession with the placement of the roses in the acrylic as he reputedly admonished the manufacturer’s staff to “make sure they float” by constantly adjusting the position of the stems as the medium cured. Considered his signature design, Miss Blanche debuted at KAGU Tokyo Designer's Week in 1988 and is seen as a leading marker of the evolution of 1980s design toward richly conceptual works that embrace a witty exploration of materials and subjects. In 1990, Kuramata followed his edition of Miss Blanche with a totemic Feather Stool, also in cast acrylic but utilizing feathers in lieu of artificial flowers.

Adapted from

Kevin W. Tucker, DMA unpublished material, June 2013.

Fun Facts

  • After its design in 1988, the first chair was produced in 1989, and production concluded in 1998 with the 56th chair, chosen to honor Kuramata who died at the age of 56.

Web Resources

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