Light is central to the atmosphere of any room. It has the power to create a space or alter a mood, and can have a profound effect on the aesthetic of an interior. And for some designers, the concepts of lighting as an essential object and of objects of art are closely intertwined.
This notion goes back several decades, perhaps most notably with Isamu Noguchi’s Akari Light Sculptures. The designs were first brought to life in 1951 when, on a trip to post-war Japan, the mayor of the small town of Gifu City asked Noguchi to help revitalise their lantern industry. The idea was to incorporate the area’s traditional washi paper, made by hand from the bark of a tree, and to give it new life in the form of a modern lamp.
By marrying this ancient craft with the defining technology of the 21st century, Noguchi created the ubiquitous design that can be found in homes across the globe. Now, more than half a century later, the Akari Light Sculptures are still being meticulously made by hand in the family-run Ozeki workshop in Gifu.