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Akari Light Sculpture
Iconic Designs

Akari Light Sculpture

About the Design

It was a trip to Japan in the spring of 1951 that inspired artist and designer Isamu Noguchi (1904–88) to create the Akari light sculpture. Noguchi was passing through the city of Gifu, in central Japan, and observed a traditional nighttime festival in which fishermen use cormorants to help them catch fish. Each boat was equipped with a chochin lantern to light its way. Noguchi was enraptured with the beauty of these lamps, which were made locally from mulberry bark and bamboo.


The artist met with Gifu’s mayor, who explained that he was seeking a way to reinvigorate his city’s lantern industry. Aiming to bring the chochin’s traditional design into the 20th century, Noguchi made multiple prototypes with an incandescent bulb in place of a candle. He named the updated lantern Akari, which means both illumination and lightness in Japanese. Noguchi debuted his Akari light sculpture at an exhibition of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in Kamakura in 1952. It caught on immediately, not only as a piece of art but also as a functional design.


Since 1951, Noguchi’s Akari lanterns have been handcrafted in Gifu. Fabricators stretch bamboo ribbing across molded wood forms, then glue washi paper — made from the bark of the mulberry tree — to the inside and outside of the resulting frame. Once the glue dries, the shape is set, and the internal wood form can be disassembled and removed. The lanterns are collapsible, a traditional feature that Noguchi insisted on keeping. They can thus be shipped flat around the world in shallow boxes or slender envelopes, and then easily unpacked and installed. This feature contributes to the sculpture’s practicality. As Noguchi was fond of saying, “All you require to start a home are a room, a tatami and Akari."


Isamu Noguchi Akari Light Sculpture

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Vintage "Akari" Pendant Lamp Model 20A, Isamu Noguchi, 1950s
By Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Isamu Noguchi
Located in Tokyo, JP
Vintage "Akari" pendant lamp model 20A designed by Isamu Noguchi. This individual seems to be manufactured in 1950s and it seems to have never been used. There is no big tones or s...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Chandeliers and Pendants

Materials

Paper

Akari Model 3A Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Akari model 3A light sculpture by Isamu Noguchii. The shade is made from handmade washi paper, wood and bamboo ribs with authentic Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light scu...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Isamu Noguchi "Akari Light Sculpture" 1AY Lamp, 1960s
By Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Isamu Noguchi
Located in Tokyo, JP
"Akari Light Sculpture" model 1AY designed by Isamu Noguchi. Original vintage manufactured in 1960s. Made with washi paper, bamboo and black lacquered metal. There are some visibl...
Category

Vintage 1960s Japanese Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Isamu Noguchi "Akari" 22N Lamp, 1980s
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in Tokyo, JP
"Akari Light Sculpture" model 22N designed by Isamu Noguchi. Manufactured in 1980s. There are some visible turns but it has no problem in practical use. Includes an original box.
Category

Vintage 1980s Japanese Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Akari Model 2A Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Akari model 2A light sculpture by Isamu Noguchii. The shade is made from handmade washi paper, wood and bamboo ribs with authentic Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light scu...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Akari Model 7A Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Akari model 7A light sculpture by Isamu Noguchii. The shade is made from handmade washi paper, wood and bamboo ribs with authentic Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light scu...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Pair of Isamu Noguchi Akari 10A Floor Lamps
By Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Pair of Isamu Noguchi Akari 10A floor lamps. The shades are made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptures by Isamu No...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Anglo-Japanese Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Akari Model 1AS Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Akari model 1AS light sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. The shade is made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with original Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptures...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Akari Model 1AG Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Akari model 1AG light sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. The shade is made from handmade washi paper, ink and bamboo ribs with the original Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light s...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Monumental Isamu Noguchi Akari 23N Floor Lamp
By Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Large Isamu Noguchi Akari 23N floor lamp. Executed in handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp and metal legs. Akari light sculptures by Isamu...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Japanese Mid-Century Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Isamu Noguchi Akari 10A Floor Lamp
By Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Isamu Noguchi Akari 10A floor lamp. The shade is made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi are c...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Anglo-Japanese Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Akari Model 22N Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi
By Akari, Isamu Noguchi
Located in Glendale, CA
Akari model 22N light sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. The shade is made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptures by Isamu...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Monumental Akari Model 70F Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi
By Akari, Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1
Located in Glendale, CA
Monumental Akari model 70F light sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. The shade is made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with original Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Japanese Mid-Century Modern Chandeliers an...

Materials

Metal

Pair of Isamu Noguchi Akari 14A Floor Lamps
By Akari, Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1
Located in Glendale, CA
Pair of Isamu Noguchi Akari 14A floor lamp. The shade is made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptures by Isamu Noguc...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Japanese Anglo-Japanese Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Monumental Isamu Noguchi Akari 25N Floor Lamp
By Akari, Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1
Located in Glendale, CA
Monumental Isamu Noguchi Akari 25N floor lamp. The shade is made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptures by Isamu No...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Isamu Noguchi Akari 14A Floor Lamp
By Akari, Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1
Located in Glendale, CA
Isamu Noguchi Akari 14A floor lamp. The shade is made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi are c...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Anglo-Japanese Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Monumental Akari Model UF4-31N Floor Lamp by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Monumental Akari model UF4-31N floor lamp by Isamu Noguchi the shade is made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptures...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Anglo-Japanese Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Pair of Akari Model 1N Light Sculptures by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1
Located in Glendale, CA
Pair of Akari model 1N light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi. The shade is made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptures ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Pair of Akari Model 1A Light Sculptures by Isamu Noguchi
By Akari, Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1
Located in Glendale, CA
Pair of Akari model 1A light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi. The shades are made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculpture...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Akari Light by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in Sagaponack, NY
A hanging round Akari lighting sculpture and lantern, handcrafted from washi paper and bamboo ribbing. Designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1951 and manufactured in Gifu, Japan. Measures: 39".
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Lanterns

Materials

Bamboo, Paper

Akari Light by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in Sagaponack, NY
A hanging round Akari lighting sculpture and lantern, handcrafted from washi paper and bamboo ribbing. Designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1951 and manufactured in Gifu, Japan.
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Lanterns

Materials

Bamboo, Paper

Early and Rare 19A Akari Pendant by Isamu Noguchi, 1950s
By Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Isamu Noguchi
Located in Echt, NL
Early 19A Akari lamp in good condition. Designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1951 Produced by Ozeki & Co., Ltd. Measurements: 20 diameter × 20 height in / 51 × 51 cm Model 19A was the fi...
Category

20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Chandeliers and Pendants

Materials

Metal

Early and Rare 19A Akari Pendant by Isamu Noguchi, 1950s
By Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Isamu Noguchi
Located in Echt, NL
Early 19A Akari lamp in good condition. Designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1951 Produced by Ozeki & Co., Ltd. Model 19A was the first globe-shaped light in the Akari series, identifiabl...
Category

20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Chandeliers and Pendants

Materials

Metal

Isamu Noguchi Mid Century Modern 24N Paper Floor Akari Stamped Lamp
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Ceiling lamp, designed by Isamu Noguchi. Manufactured by Ozeki & Company Ltd. (Japan.) Bamboo ribbing structure covered by washi paper manufactured according to the traditional pro...
Category

Vintage 1980s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Isamu Noguchi "Akari" Model BB3 33S Floor Lamp, 1970s
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in New York, NY
Rare model Akari floor lamp by Isamu Noguchi in original working condition from the 1970s. Washi paper shade has no rips or repairs and event hough fragile, is in beautiful vintage ...
Category

Vintage 1970s Japanese Organic Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Iron

Akari Model XP1 Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Akari model XP1 light sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. The shade is made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptures by Isamu...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Isamu Noguchi 30A Ceiling Lamp
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Ceiling lamp, designed by Isamu Noguchi. Manufactured by Ozeki & Company Ltd. (Japan.) Bamboo ribbing structure covered by washi paper manufactured according to the traditional pro...
Category

Vintage 1970s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Isamu Noguchi 31N Floor Lamp
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Floor lamp, model 31N, designed by Isamu Noguchi. Manufactured by Ozeki & Company Ltd. (Japan.) Bamboo ribbing structure covered by washi paper manufactured according to the tradit...
Category

Vintage 1960s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Model 31N Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi, Akari
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Model 31N light sculpture by Isamu Noguchi. Designed and manufactured in Japan, circa 1960s. Original metal and Mirogami paper from the inner bark of mulberry tree. Rewired for U.S. ...
Category

Vintage 1960s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Chandeliers and Pendants

Materials

Metal

Isamu Noguchi, Early "Akari" Floor Lamp, Washi Paper, Bamboo, Iron, Ozeki, 1979
By Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
An early example of Isamu Noguchi's "Akari" floor lamp. This model, BB3/55DD, was designed in 1979 and produced by Ozeki Company, Japan. The underside of base marked among other mark...
Category

Vintage 1970s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Iron

Isamu Noguchi, Early "Akari" Floor Lamp, Washi Paper, Bamboo, Iron, Ozeki, 1979
By Isamu Noguchi, Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
An early example of Isamu Noguchi's "Akari" floor lamp. This model, BB3/55DD, was designed in 1979 and produced by Ozeki Company, Japan. The underside of base marked among other mark...
Category

Vintage 1970s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Iron

Pair of Akari Model 1AD Light Sculptures by Isamu Noguchi
By Isamu Noguchi, Akari
Located in Glendale, CA
Pair of Akari model 1AD light sculptures by Isamu Noguchi. The shades are made from handmade washi paper and bamboo ribs with Noguchi Akari manufacturer's stamp. Akari light sculptur...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Model Number UF3-Q Table/Floor Lamp by Isamu Noguchi for Akari
By Isamu Noguchi, Akari
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Model Number UF3-Q table/floor lamp by Isamu Noguchi for Akari. Out of model production designed and manufactured in Japan circa, 1980s. Rice paper, enameled metal. Original cord. Re...
Category

Vintage 1980s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Model 1P Table Lamp by Isamu Noguchi for Akari
By Isamu Noguchi, Akari
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Model 1P table lamp by Isamu Noguchi for Akari. Designed and manufactured in Japan circa 1950s Iron, rice paper. Original early sun and moon stamp. Takes one E26 60w maximum candelab...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps

Materials

Iron

Pendant by Isamu Noguchi for Akari
By Isamu Noguchi, Akari
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Pendant by Isamu Noguchi for Akari. Manufactured in Japan in 1955. Dead stock, no longer in production. Paper, iron brass. Early sun/moon stamp. Custom brass ceiling plate. Takes one...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Mid-Century Modern Chandeliers and Pendants

Materials

Brass, Iron

Isuma Noguchi L8 Akari Light Sculpure with Bamboo and Washi Paper Shade
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in New York, NY
Designed by Isuma Noguchi, manufactured by Ozeki & Company Ltd. Japan, Painted black steel metal frame supports the original shade of bamboo ribbing covered by washi paper, shade and...
Category

1990s Japanese Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Paper

Sculptural Table Lamp by Isamu Noguchi Akari Series 3 X
By Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Isamu Noguchi, Akari
Located in North Hollywood, CA
Vintage Akari lamp designed by Isamu Noguchi. The timeless Noguchi design provides a sculptural form as well as a warm glowing source of light. Akari model 3 X light sculpture by ...
Category

Late 20th Century Japanese Japonisme Table Lamps

Materials

Paper

Isamu Noguchi Early Signed Floor Lamp
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in Water Mill, NY
73"early Isamu Noguchi signed floor lamp.
Category

Mid-20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Floor Lamps

Materials

Metal

Sculptural Table Lamp by Isamu Noguchi, UF1-0, Akari Series
By Ozeki & Co. Ltd. 1, Isamu Noguchi
Located in Schagen, NL
This wonderful handcrafted sculptural lamp was designed by the famous Isamu Noguchi in the 1950s. This Tri-colored (black, white, red) lamp was manufactured by Ozeki and Co Ltd. ...
Category

Vintage 1950s Japanese Japonisme Table Lamps

Materials

Metal

Pr. of Vintage Isam Noguchi Lamps
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in Water Mill, NY
Pair of Vintage Signed Noguchi Lamps.
Category

Vintage 1970s Japanese Table Lamps

Materials

Metal