Noguchi Akari Lamp: A Timeless Blend of Modernity and Traditional Japanese Craftsmanship


The Noguchi Akari Lamp is an iconic piece of lighting that has stood the test of time. Designed by Isamu Noguchi, a renowned Japanese-American artist, in the mid-1950s, it is a fusion of modern styling and traditional Japanese craftsmanship.

In this article, we will delve into the origins of the Noguchi Akari Lamp, the artistry and inspiration behind it, its unique features, and how it has transcended the passing trends of time.


Isamu Noguchi was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1904, to a Japanese father and an American mother. He spent his formative years in both Japan and the United States, which greatly influenced his artistic style. Noguchi was a multi-talented artist, with works spanning across different mediums such as sculpture, landscape architecture, furniture design, and lighting.

In the 1950s, Noguchi was commissioned to design a series of lamps for The Akari Foundation, a Japanese lighting manufacturer. The result was a collection of lamps made from shoji paper and bamboo, and the Noguchi Akari Lamp was one of them.

Artistry and Inspiration

The Noguchi Akari Lamp was a product of Noguchi’s fascination with illumination and his love for Japanese craftsmanship. Inspired by Japanese lanterns, Noguchi used traditional techniques in creating the lampshade, resulting in a double-layered, organic form that exudes warmth and sophistication.

Noguchi’s artistry also incorporated his beliefs in the philosophy of Lightness, which emphasizes the importance of simplifying design while still retaining its aesthetic value. This is evident in the Akari Lamp’s simple yet elegant construction, with just a molded bamboo rib structure holding the shade in place.

Unique Features

The Noguchi Akari Lamp’s unique features make it stand out from other lighting fixtures. Its shade is made from washi paper, a type of Japanese paper that is strong, soft, and translucent. The paper is handmade and is meticulously layered, resulting in a beautiful diffuse light that is both functional and decorative.

The lamp’s design is also versatile, as it can be used both as a table lamp and a floor lamp. Its frame is made from high-quality bamboo, a sturdy material that adds to the lamp’s overall durability.

A Timeless Design

Despite being designed over six decades ago, the Noguchi Akari Lamp has remained a relevant and timeless piece of lighting. Its artistry and inspiration have inspired countless designs and have become influential in modern lighting design.

The lamp’s simplicity and elegance have allowed it to transcend different design trends over the years while still maintaining its authenticity. Its ability to add warmth and sophistication to any space is a testament to its unique blend of modernity and traditional craftsmanship.

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