The Noguchi Museum is a unique institution dedicated to the work of a truly unique artist. Founded in 1985 by sculptor Isamu Noguchi, the museum is located in Long Island City, New York and is home to a collection of over 20,000 works by Noguchi, including sculptures, drawings, and sketches. However, one of the most striking features of the museum is its collection of lamps, which Noguchi designed over the course of his career.
Noguchi’s Design Philosophy
Noguchi believed that design should be functional yet beautiful, and this principle is reflected in his lamps. He designed his lamps to be both sculptural and utilitarian, creating pieces that were not only visually striking but also provided the necessary lighting for a space. He used a wide range of materials, including stone, paper, and metal, to create lamps that were both durable and aesthetically pleasing.
The Akari Line
The most famous and iconic of Noguchi’s lamps is his Akari line, which he began designing in 1951. These lamps are made of washi paper and bamboo, and are constructed using traditional Japanese methods. Noguchi was inspired to create the Akari lamps during a trip to Japan in the late 1940s, where he observed traditional lanterns being made by craftsmen. The result is a collection of lamps that are lightweight, delicate, and incredibly versatile, casting a soft and warm glow that enhances any space.
The Akari Collection
The Akari line includes a wide variety of lamps, ranging from small table lamps to large floor lamps. Some of the most well-known examples of the Akari lamps include:
- Model 1A: A small table lamp that is perfect for use on a desk or bedside table.
- Model 10A: A larger table lamp that is perfect for use on a dining room or coffee table.
- Model UF4-L6: A tall floor lamp that is perfect for use in a living room or office.
The Sculptural Lamps
In addition to the Akari line, Noguchi also designed a series of lamps that are more sculptural in nature. These lamps are made of materials such as stone, metal, and glass, and often feature organic shapes and forms. Some of the most notable examples of Noguchi’s sculptural lamps include:
- The Chess Piece Lamp: This lamp was inspired by the shape of a chess piece, and features a rounded base and a dramatic, tapering shade.
- The Rudder Lamp: This lamp is made of metal and features a bold, asymmetrical shape that resembles a rudder.
- The Lunar Lamp: This lamp is made of glass and features a delicate, spherical shade that is evocative of the moon.