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Isamu Nocuchi

Akari Light Sculptures

Akari 3A and 10A. Photo: Kevin Noble. ©INFGM / ARS
Isamu Nocuchi
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Video: The making of Akari at Ozeki & Co. Courtesy of Vitra.

In 1951 Isamu Noguchi visited the town of Gifu, Japan, known for its manufacture of lanterns and umbrellas from mulberry bark paper and bamboo. Noguchi designed the first of his lamps that would be produced by the traditional Gifu methods of construction. He called these works Akari, a term meaning light as illumination, but also implying the idea of weightlessness.

The fabrication of Akari in Japan at Ozeki & Co. since 1951 follows the traditional methods for Japanese Gifu lanterns. Each Akari is handcrafted beginning with the making of washi paper from the inner bark of the mulberry tree. Bamboo ribbing is stretched across sculptural molded wood forms. The washi paper is cut into strips and glued onto both sides of the framework. Once the glue has dried and the shape is set, the internal wooden form is disassembled and removed. The outcome is a resilient paper form, which can be collapsed and packed flat for shipping.

With the warm glow of light cast through handmade paper on a bamboo frame, Isamu Noguchi utilized traditional Japanese materials to bring modern design to the home. Like the beauty of falling leaves and the cherry blossom, Noguchi wrote, Akari are “poetic, ephemeral, and tentative.” And he was fond of saying, “All that you require to start a home are a room, a tatami, and Akari.”

Table

Ceiling

Akari 15A
By Request
Akari 16A
Out of stock
Akari 17A
Out of stock
Akari 70EN
Out of stock
Akari 95EN
Out of stock
Akari 21A
Out of stock
Akari 23A
Out of stock
Akari 26A
Out of stock
Akari 40DL
Out of stock
Akari 30A
only 1 left
Akari 75A
Out of stock
Akari 120A
By Request
Akari 30D
only 9 left
Akari 45D
Out of stock
Akari 60D
Out of stock
Akari 75D
Out of stock
Akari 100D Ceiling Light
By Request
Akari 30F
Out of stock
Akari 40F
Out of stock
Akari 50F
Out of stock
Akari 55F
Out of stock
Akari 60F
Out of stock
Akari 95F
Out of stock
Akari 125F
By Request
Akari 30P
Out of stock
Akari 31N
only 3 left
Akari 32N
Out of stock
Akari 33N
only 8 left
Akari 15A
By Request
Akari 16A
Out of stock
Akari 17A
Out of stock
Akari 70EN
Out of stock
Akari 95EN
Out of stock
Akari 21A
Out of stock
Akari 23A
Out of stock
Akari 26A
Out of stock
Akari 40DL
Out of stock
Akari 30A
only 1 left
Akari 75A
Out of stock
Akari 120A
By Request
Akari 30D
only 9 left
Akari 45D
Out of stock
Akari 60D
Out of stock
Akari 75D
Out of stock
Akari 100D Ceiling Light
By Request
Akari 30F
Out of stock
Akari 40F
Out of stock
Akari 50F
Out of stock
Akari 55F
Out of stock
Akari 60F
Out of stock
Akari 95F
Out of stock
Akari 125F
By Request
Akari 30P
Out of stock
Akari 31N
only 3 left
Akari 32N
Out of stock
Akari 33N
only 8 left
Akari 33X
only 2 left
Akari 35N
only 7 left
Akari 36N
only 6 left
Akari 40XP
Out of stock

Floor

Learn more about the history of Akari, one of Isamu Noguchi’s most successful efforts “to bring sculpture into a more direct involvement with the common experience of living.”

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