Inspiring Interiors: Akari Lighting Sculptures by Noguchi

Michael Bargo’s Apartment photographed by Douglas Friedman

For a long time I have been obsessed with this image of Michael Bargo’s apartment from Domino’s last issue. And even though the advice of mixing styles, periods and textures has been repeated to death, I’d still like to point out how incredibly seamlessly this has been done here. From the black, white and leather palette to the Napoleonic console juxtaposed with the Noguchi lamp, Bargo’s home is succinct yet complex. But enough about this particular image… What this post is really about is the Akari light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi.

I’m not a huge fan of Asian inspired decor (like everyone else, I did have a moment’s fascination with ikat back in 2007), but I think that there is something timeless about these sculptures. Akari means light as illumination and also has an implication of weightlessness. Inspired by his visit to the Japanese fishing town of Gifu, where he was introduced the process of traditional lantern making, he applied his vision for modern abstract sculpture to this historical product. Since their invention in 1951, these lighting sculptures have been made by hand in Japan at the Ozeki Company and have been a huge part of high brow interior design.There is a sense of casual elegance that these lanterns bring to any interior.

Here are a few fantastic examples as well as some of my favorite sculptures:


Floor Lamp Model UF-Q: $495; Noguchi

Floor Lamp UF4-L8: $850; Noguchi

Floor Lamp UF3-H: $450; Noguchi

Architectural Digest

Black White & Yellow


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