Akari: Sculpture by Other Means
The Akari light scuplture by Isamu Noguchi has been a long time favourite of Arent&Pyke. It has been a popular lighting choice for many of our projects, due to its delicate, lightweight shape and the gentle luminosity that adds a sense of romanticism to any room it inhabits.
The Noguchi Museum in New York is currently showcasing an exhibition entirely devoted to Isamu Noguchi’s famous lantern design. The exhibition, ‘Akari: Sculpture by Other Means’ includes over one hundred lamps with several installations and archival pieces on show, inviting visitors to experience the ethereal world of Noguchi’s innovative designs.
The versatility and flexibility of Noguchi’s design is represented across the different displays; in one room of the gallery, Noguchi’s A, D and F round lamps gently hang from the ceiling, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the installation. An assortment of sizes have been suspended at different heights, allowing all angles to be visible and appreciated. The lightweight quality of the traditional Washi paper allows the forms to gently sway in the space, creating the sense of an ecosystem at play.
Noguchi was endlessly inspired by nature; the structural and organisational makeup influencing his choice of shapes, patterns and arrangements.
An impressive large-scale Akari200D is also included in the exhibition, originally designed for Noguchi’s 1986 Venice Biennale presentation. The largest design ever made by Noguchi, it sits proudly in a large wooden cube and evokes the modular nature of Noguchi’s designs. The sheer size of it allows the piece to dominate the room, resembling a full moon as it emits a gentle glow to its surroundings.
Further representing the versatility of size, shape, and impact is a chamber-like installation, an eight-foot cube constructed of geometric forms and panels in signature Washi paper. Bulbous angles protrude from the cube, which urges visitors to touch the surface. A warm glow emanates from the inside out, and a miniature PL1 sculpture beckons you to enter.
‘Akari: Sculpture by Other Means’ highlights the incredible history of Isamu Noguchi and the ways in which his innovative designs have imparted a legacy on the design world. In combining the technique and style of an ancient paper lantern with twentieth-century technology, Noguchi created a new visual landscape that was revolutionary for his time.
‘Akari: Sculpture by Other Means’ is showing at The Noguchi Museum, New York until the 27th January 2019
Credits: The Noguchi Museum
Images 5 -13 Nicholas Knight