Vibrant, Modern Rugs Designed by Takashi Murakami
Japanese contemporary artist, Takashi Murakami, is known for his expertise in practically every art medium. He proves that he really can create something beautiful with any media in his collaboration with Louis Vuitton. This collaboration includes two playful, colorful hand embroidered tapestries. Read on for more about the impressive Takashi Murakami and the Louis Vuitton collaboration.
History of Takashi Murakami
Born in February, 1962 in Tokyo, Japan, Takashi Murakami is one of the most prolific artists of his generation. As a child, he was a fan of anime and manga, and hoped to work in the illustration industry as an adult. As a young adult he attended Tokyo University of the Arts to study drawing and animating, but later shifted his field of study to the traditional style of Japanese painting called Nihonga. He received a Ph.D. in Nihonga, but throughout his life began to disapprove of its political influences. As such, he moved on to different art mediums and styles.
Murakami’s art style is what he himself refers to as “superflat.” He says that this describes the traditional Japanese art aesthetic combined philosophically with the post-war Japanese society (what he deems shallow and empty, or “flat,” consumer culture). It also directly references the “flat,” 2-d forms in much Japanese graphic art and used in his personal style. His art style combines both traditional Japanese motifs and modern symbols, generally uses glossy / flat surfaces, and “cute,” “psychedelic” content. Some examples of those motifs he commonly uses are mushrooms, smiling flowers, skulls, and symbols from Buddhist culture.
Aside from his flat, 2-d drawings, Murakami is known for his work in many other mediums as well. His fine arts portfolio also includes painting, sculpture, fashion design, merchandise design, and animation. His art is in high demand by collectors and museums. Aside from dozens of exhibitions around Japan and around the world, he is also featured in the permanent collections of many notorious museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, and was the first Japanese artist to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles. Time Magazine named him one of their “100 Most Influential People” in 2008.
Murakami is known for many great collaborations with other brands, artists, and companies. Aside from his Louis Vuitton carpet collaboration, he has worked with many big names in the fashion, music, and visual art industry. In the music world, he directed and animated the hugely popular video for Billie Eilish’s You Should See Me in a Crown, designed the cover artwork for J. Balvin’s 2020 album Colores, and has worked with music producer Pharrell Williams on both a sculpture and and animated music video. He also provided the cover artwork for the Graduation album by Kanye West, as well as animating a music video for him.
In the fashion world, Murakami has produced collaborations with many big brands as well. He began his partnership with Louis Vuitton in 2002, upon an invitation from well known designer Marc Jacobs. He reimagined the company’s iconic logo, and his interpretation has since become wildly popular. Murakami also later collaborated with Virgil Abloh, designer of hugely popular fashion brand Off-White. He’s also designed art for many t-shirts for luxury fashion brands, including the street fashion brand Supreme, with the proceeds from that collaboration going to relief for those facing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rugs for Louis Vuitton
The Takashi Murakami and Louis Vuitton rug collaboration was available for viewing in early 2010 at the Louis Vuitton Champs-Elysées Maison in Paris. The collaboration included a round carpet, called “Flowerball,” and a square carpet called “Pink Time.”
The rugs themselves were hand woven at a factory in India. Taking over 4 months to produce and woven with high quality New Zealand wool, the designs were carefully stitched onto the rugs. Each carpet was produced in 2 sizes: 2m and 3m diameter for “Flowerball,” and 2x2m or 3x3m for “Pink Time.” They were limited edition with only 20 produced of each.
These art rugs have been shown at many museums since their release. They were shown at the Guggenheim Museum, Design Miami in Basel, Switzerland, and at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, among others. This is yet another stunning work by Takashi Murakami that, like his other pieces, will not soon be forgotten.