Masanori Umeda b. 1941

Born in 1941 in Kanagawa, Japan, Masanori Umeda was one of three Japanese members of Memphis group and the designer of one of the most iconic emblems of the style—the Tawaraya “boxing ring” bed. After graduating from at the Kuwasawa School of Design in Tokyo in 1962, he began working for Achille Piergiacomo Castiglioni’s studio in Milan in 1967. From 1970 to 1979, Umeda served as a design consultant for Olivetti, where he met Ettore Sottsass, who invited him to be part of the first Memphis exhibition at Arc ’74 in 1981. Umeda returned to Japan in 1980 and established his own studio, U-Meta Design to continue working in his exuberant, playful style that blended east and west design ethos. Along with Tawaraya, Umeda’s other iconic designs include the Ginza Robot cabinet for Memphis (1982) and the Rose Chair for Edra (1990). His work has received international accolades including the Braun prize in 1968 and an award for commercial design from his native Japan in 1984.

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