At a recent Sotheby’s auction in London, the Miss Blanche armchair, from the Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata, sold for a whopping £269,000 ($409,000 U.S. dollars). Named after the famed Blanche Dubois from Tennessee William’s play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, Shiro Kuramata’s iconic ‘Miss Blanche’ chair was created in 1988, three years before the artist’s death. The technicalities involved in the production of ‘Miss Blanche’ were complex: the design required that each artificial rose be held in place for extended periods of time until the resin had hardened sufficiently. Experiments with natural roses were conducted, but the flowers would burn up in the acrylic resin, prompting a serendipitous moment when Kuramata decided ‘…it has to be fake [materials] because Blanche Dubois is a fake.’
The chair was first exhibited in 1988 during Tokyo Designers’ Week in an exhibition titled KAGU at the Axis Gallery Annex. A year later it debuted in Paris at Galerie Yves Gastou where it was purchased.
Reflecting the age at the time of his death in 1991, only 56 models of ‘Miss Blanche’ were produced. Versions of the chair are held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Vitra Design Museum.