The exchanges between leading Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata and the Italian designer Ettore Sottsass began in 1981 with the “Memphis” project, which had a groundbreaking impact on the world of design. Both felt modernism as a constraint. The two – Sottsass with the background of Western ideology, Kuramata with his Japanese sensitivity – assiduously sought the possibilities of creation while communicating through the language of design, dreaming together, pursuing beauty, and cultivating friendship. The works of both awoke our senses, moved us and delighted us.
The friendship of the two, with its dreams and its love, will be the theme of this exhibition, presenting about 70 of the works born from their relationship. The venue of the exhibition will be structured around furniture and small works created by Kuramata in the ten years from 1981, when the two met, to his sudden death in 1991, and around Sottsass’s new art piece, “Kachina”, designed in his final years. Their modes of expression are different, but in the works of both a longing for design as culture – not as civilization – can be felt. Today, when excessive commercialism and materialism move us to reflection, the message of the two, who never ceased asking what design is, prompts us to reconsider the meaning of “design” and “creation. ”