"Ginza Robot" Cabinet

Designed by Masanori Umeda, Japanese, born 1941. Made by Memphis, Milan, Italy, 1980 - present.

Made in Milan, Italy, Europe

Designed 1982

Plastic-laminated wood and chipboard

5 feet 8 7/8 inches x 56 x 22 inches (174.9 x 142.2 x 55.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Collab: The Group for Modern and Contemporary Design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in memory of Hava J. Krasniansky Gelblum, 1994

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Additional information:
  • PublicationJapanese Design: A Survey Since 1950

    Masanori Umeda was one of three Japanese designers (along with Arata Isozaki and Shiro Kuramata) invited to design furniture for Memphis, a radical design group based in Milan that gave postmodernism its most characteristic expression in the early 1980s. Like the most avant-garde of his Italian colleagues, Umeda came to value the references to the past and the humor, symbol, color, ornamented surfaces, and irregular shapes for which Memphis became known. Umeda's references however were specifically Japanese, drawn from Japan's popular culture. The form of this storage unit, from Memphis's second collection in 1982, refers to the mechanical men of Japan's science fiction and the popular toys they inspired. With two drawers and open shelves in bright colors, and a decorous case of striped laminate posed on two green legs, the Ginza Robot cabinet is named ironically after Tokyo's most fashionable shopping district. Kathyrn B. Hiesinger and Felice Fischer, Japanese Design: A Survey since 1950. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1994, cat. 144 , p. 135.