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15 November 2022
A formal tribute to movement, Kuramata drawer units offer stylish storage
The theme of containment, of multiplying the space in which to store things, is a theme that knows no decline. It is a need that recurs in every room of the house and is rooted in the desire to have everything in order easily, to give objects a place where they are protected and safe.
The chest of drawers is a functional piece of furniture, one could say indispensable. And it retains a discreet charm if it is true that, as they say, even dreams are kept in drawers. The oneiric dimension of this precious complement is the recurring theme of the surreal creations with a strong visual impact by the Japanese designer Shirō Kuramata. Kuramata frees himself from the rational minimalism typical of his design culture to which he belongs, to embrace an experimental aesthetic, akin to plastic art, without forgetting the functional role to which his creations are called. This designing the balance between functionality and formal experimentation can be seen, in particular, in the two chests of drawers designed by Kuramata and put into production by Cappellini: Revolving and Side are a visual tribute to movement and are placed in the environment almost like sculptures.
Revolving: the deconstructed chest of drawers in glossy red
In 1970 Kuramata wreaked havoc on the image of Japanese design in the world by designing the Revolving chest of drawers, produced by Cappellini. 20 drawers follow one another from bottom to top rotating around a central column. The chest of drawers, characterized by the bright and shiny red of the plastic material with which it is produced, can assume different configurations. The drawers can all be closed and therefore result in a straight and tidy column, or they can be opened to create a dynamic and lively decorative game. It is an invitation to use the piece of furniture not only for its function but also for its scenographic impact. The interaction between user and object is strongly suggested here: almost as if the designer wanted to involve the user in the creative process, entrusting him with the final configurations that his project can assume. The choice of color is a further distinctive element: Revolving exists only in the intense red chosen for the original project and requires a considerable chromatic choice which is also part of the pact between designer and user mentioned above. Finally, in the rounded corners and in the essentiality of the lines, we can read the Japanese matrix of the Kuramata formation which makes the Revolving chest of drawers, elegant and experimental at the same time.
Side: a soft wave upwards
In 1970 Shirō Kuramata also designed another surprising chest of drawers, also produced by Cappellini. This is Side, and in a different way, it offers a further tribute to movement, evoking a wave that develops upwards in the shape. In this case too, in fact, height is the dominant dimension, and the chest of drawers appears slender and elegant. The shape is therefore the focus of this project, which Kuramata had called “Furniture of irregular shapes” not by chance and the surprising aspect is that Kuramata manages to transform a chest of drawers, static furniture par excellence, into a sort of dancing body that transmits to the observer an instinct to move. Even in this project the essential lines return, this time declined in the neutral color combination of black for the structure and white for the drawers. The decorative effect is entirely given by the graphic design of the curved profile, simple but of great impact. Also with Side, Kuramata questions the design canons of Japanese culture of which it retains the foundation of functionality and minimalism but at the same time allows itself a foray into the postmodern aesthetic dimension, which will leave its mark. Offering the opportunity to solve the need for containment effectively without forgetting the desire to amaze and make furniture the protagonist of domestic dynamics.
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