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Vitra and Isamu Noguchi’s Akari Lighting

30 October 2019

Vitra & Isamu Noguchi's Akari Lighting

Light sculptures, as Noguchi refers to them, are the stunning lighting designs by Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi. The Artist named his lighting collection Akari, meaning ‘light’, characterised by the weightless luminosity of the paper formed lamps.

Vitra Akari

It was during a trip to Japan where Noguchi got his inspiration; he paid a visit to Gifu, a town known for its paper parasols and lanterns. This visit stirred the designer and he began sketching “Light Sculptures”. Over the course of his career Noguchi created over 100 models of varying shapes and sizes.

Vitra Akari

Isamu Noguchi expressed: “My Father, Yone Noguchi is Japanese and has long been known as an interpreter of the East and West, through poetry. I wish to do the same thing through sculpture”. This can easily be seen in the gracefulness and delicacy of the handmade paper and the unique forms the material adopts. The paper shade is actually made from Japanese Washi paper, a delicate material which is derived from the bark of mulberry trees.

Isamu Noguchi

The making of the intricate Akari collection is a long and multilayered process, the metal wire supports are formed around a wooden frame where the complete design is built up. Each wire is carefully hand brushed with glue before strips of crafted paper are trimmed and layered according to the design. This process is time consuming due to the amount of care and bespoke craftsmanship which goes into each piece.
Video footage of how the light is created is an incredibly impressive sight which makes you truly value the amount of effort which goes into each piece.

Since Vitra began producing Isamu Naguchi’s lighting collection the range has grown to almost 50 pieces of unique shapes, sizes and applications.

Vitra Akari

The handmade paper creates a beautiful, warm glow which is perfect for domestic spaces and creating ambience. The simplistic design and interesting geometry gives the collection a contemporary feel, despite the initial sketches dating back to the 1950s!

Vitra Akari

To Vitra, authenticity is paramount. All Akari designs are originally licensed, the original process and manufacture is key to the end product. To respect the design, all of the Akari collection is still made in the same factories in Osaka that have been used since the 1950s.

Take a look at Vitra’s Akari lighting collection and be amazed at the quality and history behind each light sculpture.

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