Design Drawing for the Tawaraya (ring)
Japan, 1981
Umeda Masanori

blackline print on tracing vellum

Umeda was one of three Japanese designers, alongside Kuramata and Isozaki, invited by Memphis to create a piece for their first exhibition. In his drawing Umeda gave four alternative uses for the ‘Tawaraya': 1. As a shrine for reflecting nulla (anything), cielo (heaven, sky), tistezza (sadness), vita (life). 2. As a platform to celebrate gioia (joy), cerimonia (ceremony), festa (holiday), stagione (season). 3. As a conversation area with activites of banchetto (banquet), dialogo (dialogue), godimento (enjoyment), sapienza (wisdom). 4. As a bed for notte (night), amore (love), sogno (dream), cuore (heart/life). For Memphis, Masanori Umeda produced some of his most iconic work adopting the humour and symbolism of the Memphis culture while commenting on the industrial city culture of his home country of Japan. Tawaraya bitingly comments on the new ‘free-style' design, as well as on the struggle to survive in the newly overcrowded Japan. The Tawaraya Boxing Ring became synonymous with the Memphis group following the iconic photo of the design team in the ring. —Phillips

Tawaraya Ring by Umeda Masanori, 1981

Founding members of Memphis in the Tawaraya Ring

📷 M+ Museum, Memphis Milano, Modernism Museum Mount Dora