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Design Icon: Isamu Noguchi’s Akari Lights

by Maxwell Tielman

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Design: Akari Light Sculpture

Designer: Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988)

Date: 1951

Country of Origin: United States & Japan

Manufacturer: Ozeki

Materials and Construction: Handcrafted in Japan using traditional Gifu lantern techniques and materials. Washi paper, bamboo ribbing, metal frame. The Akari lamps come in a number of shapes and sizes and are embellished with a number of different patterns (depicted above is model 1AR).

Fun facts: Noguchi was inspired to create his first Akari lamp after a visit to the Japanese town of Gifu, a locale known for its lantern production. “Akari” comes from the Japanese term for illumination.

Purchase: Noguchi Museum Shop

Further Reading: The Noguchi Museum

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg.

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