Vitra Akari Light Sculptures

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Light, bright and filigree like the nature of light itself is how the Akari lamps from the designer and artist Isamu Noguchi are. For his collection he created more than 100 light sculptures that spread soft peace and magic airiness.

The collection of the Akari light sculptures includes several table, floor and ceiling lamps besides the famous variant of the round pendant lamp. The lamps have different forms, sometimes they are simple, and sometimes experimental. They also have one thing in common: they are all manufactured of fine shoji paper. Through the white, robust paper, the light is damped, soft and spread uniformly. Fitting the idea of Isamu Noguchi also the name was chosen: Akari is the Japanese word for brightness and light, that also includes airiness.

More than 100 Akari lamps were designed by Isamu Noguchi since the year 1951. The origin to his lamps was a voyage to Japan. In the small fishing village Gifu Noguchi surveyed the fishermen while they worked. They didn’t only use their trained cormorants for their hunts, but also lanterns to attract the fishes. This lanterns possessed bamboo ribs that were coated with fine paper.

In these traditional Japanese lanterns, Isamu Noguchi found inspiration for his own light sculptures. Wood and paper were the ideal materials for the designer to emphasize the sensitivity and airiness of the light. Noguchi used the mulberry tree paper for his own lamps because that material spreads the light the best.

The designer describes his Akari lamps like this: “The light from an Akari lamp is like sunlight that is filtered through the shoji paper. The magic of the paper converts the cold electricity back to eternal sunlight. For the warmth also persists through the night filling our rooms.” –Isamu Noguchi


Making of video of the Vitra Akari Light Sculptures

The video shows the production of the unique lamp shade in every detail. For his collection the designer Isamu Noguchi created more than 100 light sculptures that spread soft peacefulness and magic airiness.