Plain Lighting and Rock Vase by Jin Kuramoto

Milan 09: Japanese designer Jin Kuramoto presents two new projects in Milan this week, at the Complimentary Colors exhibition.


Plain Lighting (top) is inspired by the optical illusion created when strong colours are applied to three-dimensional objects while Rock Vase (above) is inspired by traditional Japanese Kenzan pinholders.


The exhibition, curated by Eizo Okada of, is a reaction to Japanese designers' overwhelming preference for white over other colours in their work.


Photos are by Takumi Ota.


Complimentary Colors is at L'Archivolto Libreria Galleria, Via Marsala 2, 20121 Milano, from 22-27 April.

Below is a description of Plain Lighting and Rock Vase by Jin Kuramoto, followed by a statement about the exhibition by Eizo Okada and details of the show in Milan:


Plain / lighting

We have expressed a visual phenomenon which produces a three-dimensional impression of given objects when combined with strong colors.
 This results in complementary colors and light emission causing it to resemble a state when the moon loses the three-dimensional impression of the sphere, and to shine similarly to a planar like mirror.

Rock / vase

A combination vase that is influenced from Kenzan pinholder - a traditional item from Japanese flower arranging.


Complementary Colors

Five design teams are going to showcase their works at Milan Design Week 2009. As a director of this exhibition, I first came up with the idea of using a theme of "colour".

It is striking that we hardly see vivid colour in contemporary Japanese design or architecture. Most of the designers prefer a white or clear finish or make use of the material's own texture. They hesitate using a specific colour, because they sense it as an obstruction to the clarity of their concept. This often results in choosing neutral colours, compatible with the majority of people. In fact, in Japan, most products are released in a neutral colour and colour variations are developed later on.

I found from my interviews with many designers that also European designers have difficulties in applying color. They tend to postpone this process to the last minute or even prefer to delegate it to somebody else.

For this exhibition, I wanted to challenge these young designes with an assignment that would be demanding even to an experienced designer. I brought the “color stage” to the very beginning of the whole process: the colour scheme is determined in the first place, so that all other stages of the design process are based on it. The designers agreed with this concept and interestingly evolved the theme to “complementary colours”, adding the issue of oppositeness.

Non of the products has been finalized until now, but the projects have advanced to the point that they can be anticipated. MILE’s approach is very straight, as they are trying to include the optical effect of the complementary colours into the nature of the product. Jin Kuramoto’s aim is to let the colours take out the solidity of the three-dimensional object. The focus of Teruhiro Yanagihara is on realizing an object only based on the characteristic of complementary colours without addidional function, material or form.

Emiko Oki’s ideas, inspired by the bookstore where their products are exhibited, are going to be utterly covered with complementary colours, and Hironao Tsuboi is exploring the possibilities of a transparency, that can be achieved only through the use of complementary colours.

Our goal is to find a way of coexistence of two opposite things, not to privilege one from the other or neutralizing them together. These five teams are selected because I believe that through this project, they are able to bring the design of this century one step further.

Eizo Okada.
Exhibition Director

New Wind From Japan「COMPLEMENTARY COLORS ~Missing Link of Design~」
Wed 22 - Mon 27 Apr, 2009 09:00~20:00
Party : Fri 24 Apr 2009, 19:00~22:00
L'Archivolto Libreria Galleria, Via Marsala 2, 20121 Milano
Director: Eizo Okada
Sponsored by Daishinsha Inc. / CLASKA / BOO&COO.
Promoter L'Archivolto

See all our stories from Milan in our special MIlan 2009