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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 30A
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Akari 30D
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Akari 15A
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Akari 16A
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Akari 21A
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Akari 45X
only 1 left
Akari 50EN
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Akari L1
only 9 left
Akari L2
only 4 left
Akari L6
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Akari L7
only 1 left
Akari L8
only 7 left
Akari 26A
Out of stock
Akari 70EN
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Akari 95EN
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Akari 37D
Out of stock
Akari 45D
Out of stock
Akari 55D
Out of stock
Akari 75A
Out of stock
Akari 75D
Out of stock
Akari 100D Ceiling Light
Out of stock
Akari 45A
Out of stock
Akari 55A
Out of stock
Akari 120A
Out of stock
Akari 23A
Out of stock
Akari 24A
only 4 left
Akari 30F
Out of stock
Akari 55F
Out of stock
Akari 70F
Out of stock
Akari 125F
Out of stock
Akari YP1
Out of stock
Akari VB-13C
Out of stock
Akari 30A
Out of stock
Akari 30D
Out of stock
Akari 15A
Out of stock
Akari 16A
Out of stock
Akari 21A
Out of stock
Akari 45X
only 1 left
Akari 50EN
Out of stock
Akari L1
only 9 left
Akari L2
only 4 left
Akari L6
Out of stock
Akari L7
only 1 left
Akari L8
only 7 left
Akari 26A
Out of stock
Akari 70EN
Out of stock
Akari 95EN
Out of stock
Akari 37D
Out of stock
Akari 45D
Out of stock
Akari 55D
Out of stock
Akari 75A
Out of stock
Akari 75D
Out of stock
Akari 100D Ceiling Light
Out of stock
Akari 45A
Out of stock
Akari 55A
Out of stock
Akari 120A
Out of stock
Akari 23A
Out of stock
Akari 24A
only 4 left
Akari 30F
Out of stock
Akari 55F
Out of stock
Akari 70F
Out of stock
Akari 125F
Out of stock
Akari YP1
Out of stock
Akari VB-13C
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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