In the spring of this year I was thrilled to be entrusted by visionary design retailer Zeev Aram with the sale in Paris of his collection of furniture by Shiro Kuramata. Aram had met Kuramata in 1980 and was taken by the poetic, conceptual aspects of his designs for furniture. Such was his enthusiasm that he invited Kuramata to stage, in his London gallery, his first exhibition in Europe.
A succès d’estime, the show attracted positive press but few sales. In this instance, Aram was too far ahead of his time. After the exhibition, the furniture went into storage.
Aram’s faith was undimmed; indeed, he added several pieces to the collection over the next few years, before Kuramata’s early death in 1991. Notable among them was one of only two examples ever made of his ‘Homage to Josef Hoffmann’ chair — an original bentwood chair by the Viennese designer, wrapped in steel wire by Kuramata, then incinerated, leaving a charred trace of the original within a delicate metal tracery. Aram’s intuition paid off, albeit three decades later, when the chair set a new record for the artist at €361,500.