A Table of Glass and Steel

Among Shiro Kuramata's friends in the tight-knit design community in Tokyo was Tamotsu Yagi, who in 1983 would relocate to San Francisco, CA to become art director for Esprit. Kuramata would go on to collaborate on numerous projects with Yagi, and Esprit would become one of his most important clients. When Yagi moved into his new California home, Kuramata designed and presented as a gift a dining table of glass and steel, the present lot.

The dining table for Tamotsu Yagi utilizes Kuramata's 'broken glass' technique.  As recounted by Deyan Sudjic, it was conceived after Kuramata asked his trusted glass manufacturer Mihoya, "When is glass most beautiful?" Mihoya answered, "When it breaks." Like much of Kuramata's work, this table illustrates his superlative pairing of poetic expression with precise design rigor.  The top, supported by a simple cluster of steel legs, is composed of three layers of glass: the center layer partially shattered by hand, using hammer and chisel, is held secure by two flawless layers of strengthened glass, perhaps a further metaphoric nod in itself. Here the humble nature of the flawed core is crystalized and held in perpetuity, a constant remind of our material fragility, as well as our strength.