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Isamu Noguschi’s Akari Lamp

Isamu Noguschi’s Akari Lamp

Akari is a Japanese term meaning light as illumination that also implies weightlessness. The fabrication of Akari was initiated by Isamu Noguchi as he learned the traditional ways in Gifu, Japan. He utilized traditional Japanese materials in order to create modern designs. 

“Noguchi wrote Akari are “poetic, ephemeral, and tentative.” And he was fond of saying, “All that you require to start a home are a room, a tatami, and Akari.””


The Process: Bamboo ribbing is stretched across sculptural molded wood forms. The washi paper is cut into strips and glued onto both sides of the framework. Once the glue has dried and the shape is set, the internal wooden form is disassembled and removed. The outcome is a resilient paper form, which can be collapsed and packed flat for shipping.

With much time in our homes right now, maybe we need to start rethinking our spaces and lightings. Akari lamps bring in a light, warm, and inviting glow in our homes. May it be on the floor or hung on the ceiling, it simply illuminates the room without distracting any bold item. The soft light it provides muted by the Akari material makes it feel more like a warm hug. 

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For almost seven decades, Akari light sculptures are created by Ozeki & Co. –the original manufacturer. It can also be purchased directly from the Noguchi Museum Shop and Museum of Modern Art. Prices range from USD175 to USD1800, and is available in small to large sizes. Its shapes and sizes range from modernists forms, amoeba-esque blobs, and spherical shapes. 

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