Although he trained in Japan, graduating from the Kuwasama Design School in Tokyo in 1962, Umeda established a reputation in the West, particularly through his contributions to the Milan‐based avant‐garde design group Memphis in the 1980s. He had begun his career in Italy in 1967 when he worked in Achille Castiglione's architecture and design studio for two years. In 1970 he became a consultant designer for the Italian office equipment manufacturer Olivetti, working on products, furniture, and interiors. In 1981 he (like his compatriots Shiro Kuramata and Arata Isozaki) began contributing to Memphis. His designs included the Ginza Robot cabinet (1982), combining references to the fashionable shopping district in central Tokyo with a widely recognizable feature of Japanese popular culture, a creative juxtaposition of contrasting elements that characterized much of the Memphis output. He also designed for the idiosyncratic and imaginative Italian furniture manufacturer Edra Mazzei (established 1987), including the Rose (1990) and Getsuen (1990) chairs. He also worked in Japan, opening a Tokyo office, U‐Metadesign, in 1986 and worked on industrial and environmental projects.
Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.