In his How High the Moon chair, designer Shiro Kuramata utilizes an industrial material, steel mesh, to give a contemporary interpretation to the traditional club chair. The shape and proportions are based on an established Western form—a bulky, deeply upholstered easy chair with a low back and deep arms—but here, Kuramata’s use of an unexpected material transforms the volume into a seemingly weightless and nearly transparent piece of furniture. Its ethereal look is airy and fragile. The form sits on four short cylindrical feet, appearing to hover above the floor, adding to a floating quality. Named for a Duke Ellington jazz piece, the chair is essentially the outline of a chair. Its planar sheets of welded metal mesh form both its structure and upholstery, one in the same. The mesh is hard but has some flexibility, so offers a degree of comfort to the seated human body. How High the Moon illustrates Kuramata’s roots in a Japanese minimal aesthetic while also expressing his contemporary take on the ironies of form and function, grounded in his desire to experiment with industrial materials.
- How High the Moon Armchair, Designed 1986; this example manufactured 1999; Designed by Shiro Kuramata (Japanese, 1934 - 1991); Manufactured by Vitra AG (Birsfelden, Switzerland); Die-cut, assembled and welded nickel-plated steel rib mesh; H x W x D: 72.2 × 95 × 83 cm (28 7/16 × 37 3/8 × 32 11/16 in.); Gift of Pulitzer Arts Foundation; 2016-40-1