Isamu Noguchi in his studio in the 1960s, surrounded by his light sculptures . Photo: AP Photo The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum
The Isamu Noguchi lamps — called akari, the Japanese word for light — were inspired by traditional Japanese lanterns used in ancestor worship. Over the decades, the Noguchi Akari Lights became classics of mid-20th century modern home decor.
Noguchi didn't call them lanterns or lamps, he called them light sculptures. He constructed many versions of these light sculptures including table, ceiling and floor versions. The lamps are created from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribbing, supported by a metal frame. They are shipped flat, ready to assemble.
Designed by Noguchi beginning in 1951 and handmade for a half century by the original manufacturer in Gifu, Japan, the paper lanterns are a harmonious blend of Japanese handcraft and modernist form.
Akari Noguchi Model BB3-33S Floor Lamp's stand is a bamboo pole and has a black cast iron base. There are several models in this series of lights, all have the iron base.
The Akari Noguchi lights were conceived as sculptures that delicately stand as warm friends in an interior space. They glow, so will probably be the dominant focus in any space they are in.
The Noguchi Akari Table Lights add true warmth to any room. Each is unique and many appear breathtakingly elegant; others have a whimsical, futuristic look.
Designs range from spheres, discs and cylinders to triangles, boxes, trapezoids, and other geometric shapes and combinations. Most shades are white, but some are decorated in orange, green or black, with abstract designs.
There are several ceiling or pendant versions of the Noguchi Akari Lights, some are stunning like this Model 30P, which is 63 inches long.
Be sure you are buying a Noguchi Akari light, and not a knock off. Aside from the difference in workmanship and materials, the knockoffs aren't at all like the originals. Noguchi made these lamps so that people could buy them and live with his sculptures. Be aware and look for the logo.
For Canadian customers interested in modern furniture, lighting and accessories, please go to our Canadian site, GRShop.com