Noguchi chose the name ‘Akari’, as it signifies brightness and light in his native Japan. The lamps are inspired by fishing lanterns of the Nagara River and are still made by hand in Gifu, Japan by their original manufacturer, just as they have been since the 1950s.
Each handmade lamp is made of shoji paper, by master crafters, and have become highly desirable classics of modern design. Discover our full Vitra Akari light collection.
Isamu Noguchi was an American-Japanese designer who originally trained as a sculptor and brought a sculptural sensibility to everything he created: lighting, furniture, gardens and stage sets. He studied sculpture, after dropping out of medical school, in late 1920s New York and then in Paris as an assistant to Constantin Brancusi.
Noguchi designed a range of paper Akari lights throughout the 1950s and 1960s, alongside the popular organic furniture he made in curvy sculpted wood now part of the Vitra Collection, such as the Freeform Sofa and Coffee Table. He was equally prolific as a landscape architect; he recreated the ancient Buddhist stone gardens he had loved in Kyoto at Lever House in New York (1951), UNESCO in Paris (1951), the Yale campus (1960) and Jerusalem’s Israel Museum (1960).