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Isamu Noguchi

Portrait of Isamu Noguchi

Born in Los Angeles in 1904, Japanese-American designer and artist Isamu Noguchi made a name for himself as one of the preeminent sculptors and furniture designs of the mid-twentieth century. Noguchi spent much of his youth in Japan, where he was trained as a cabinetmaker, before returning to the United States and attending Columbia University. Though originally enrolled to study medicine, he shifted his focus to sculpting when he realized that it was his true passion. Noguchi applied his artistry to furniture, lighting, and product design, creating pieces--such as the IN-50 Coffee Table, Prismatic Table, and BB3 Lamp--for companies including Herman Miller, Knoll, Vitra, Ozeki, and Akari. His work also includes sculpture gardens around the world, notably at the Bienecke Rare Book Library at Yale University and at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Noguchi's home garden in Long Island City, New York, was opened to the public as the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in 1985, three years before his death.

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Akari 1AT Light

There's something almost otherworldly about Isamu Noguchi's Akari series—so delicately hand-constructed from paper and bamboo ribbing—as if the table lamps just alighted from an imaginary outer space designed by modernists. This graphic orange-and-white model is our favorite, but the range of shapes and colors offered is remarkable.

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