Isamu Noguchi’s iconic paper lanterns, which form Vitra’s Akari Light Sculpture series, are made by hand in Gifu, Japan, a place famous for its historical relationship with this type of lamp.
The Vitra Akari 21A is a mid-size piece that has an impressive diameter of 65cm, ensuring that it will hold a formidable space in whichever locale it is chosen to occupy. The standard of finish is truly remarkable, and the envy of this particular section of the contemporary design landscape.
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).