How High the Moon

Armchair
1986-1987 (made)
How High the Moon thumbnail 1
How High the Moon thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Shiro Kuramata's How High the Moon chair is a self-consciously artistic and improbable furniture design by one of Japan's most interesting, but enigmatic architects.

The designer has taken the traditionally bulky and upholstered idea of the chair and used a thin metal mesh to reinterpret the form. This indicates that the designer is more interested in polemical or ironic statements than in creating a comfortable chair. The chair is a limited edition piece manufactured by the Swiss manufacturer Vitra as part of their art furniture line, Vitra Edition.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Perforated zinc and steel mesh
Brief Description
Armchair, 'How High The Moon', perforated zinc and steel mesh, Shiro Kuramata, made by Vitra, Basel, Switzerland, 1986-87
Physical Description
Armchair, 'How High The Moon', perforated zinc and steel mesh shaped and soldered, nickel plated, 75.2 x 95.4 x 81.5 cm
Dimensions
  • Height: 75.2cm
  • Width: 95.4cm
  • Depth: 81.5cm
Production typeLimited edition
Gallery Label
  • SHIRO KURAMATA (Japanese, 1934-1991); Made by VITRA, Basel, Switzerland ARMCHAIR: 'HOW HIGH THE MOON,' 1986-87 Perforated zinc and steel mesh Given by Vitra Ltd., London While the form and proportion of this armchair are based on the traditional club chair - an upholstered and overstuffed easy chair with deep arms and a low back - the bulkiness and solidity of the club chair are transformed into weightlessness and transparency through the use of an unexpected material. The chair, metaphorically titled 'How High the Moon,' has no evident structural support - its structure and 'upholstery,' its inside and outside, are one and the same. Shiro Kuramata was as much poet as designer: each of his interiors and design objects was both artwork and haiku. In this case, the Museum was acquiring an example of contemporary furniture production, albeit one that has already become a classic of modern design.(1999)
  • This self-consciously improbable piece of furniture challenges our expectations, translating the traditional bulky and upholstered nature of the enveloping club chair into a lightweight, transparent and rigid form. Its function is to examine the concept of the chair rather than to provide comfortable seating.(1990)
  • This chair is a self-consciously artistic and improbable furniture design by one of Japan's most interesting but enigmatic architects. Its impracticality as comfortable seating is intended to make us consider the possibility that a chair can also be an object of contemplation, if not an art form in its own right. Kuramata begins with the traditionally bulky form of an armchair but transforms it into a lightweight and visually transparent form that hovers above the ground. Although Kuramata, like many contemporary designers, names most of his furniture, the names are not necessarily intended to convey a message - the sitter is left to dwell on that question. The chair is a limited edition piece manufactured by a large, Swiss office manufacturer as part of their art furniture line, Vitra Edition. The firm's owner is pleasantly obsessed with modern furniture - he recently built a design museum - and such projects emphasize his committment to inventive design and bring added publicity of the firm's more commercial activities. Given by Vitra Ltd, London(1990)
Credit line
Given by Vitra Ltd., London
Summary
Shiro Kuramata's How High the Moon chair is a self-consciously artistic and improbable furniture design by one of Japan's most interesting, but enigmatic architects.



The designer has taken the traditionally bulky and upholstered idea of the chair and used a thin metal mesh to reinterpret the form. This indicates that the designer is more interested in polemical or ironic statements than in creating a comfortable chair. The chair is a limited edition piece manufactured by the Swiss manufacturer Vitra as part of their art furniture line, Vitra Edition.
Bibliographic References
  • Baker, Malcolm, and Brenda Richardson (eds.), A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V&A Publications, 1999.
  • 'Recent acquisitions of furniture and woodwork at the Victoria and Albert Museum'. Burlington Magazine June 1993, vol. CXXXV, no. 1083, pp. 443-448. This item and its pair (W.34-1990) illustrated as item XII.
Collection
Accession Number
W.6-1990

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMay 1, 2001
Record URL