Noguchi Akari Lamps: The Making Of

Isamu Noguchi's Akari lamps have been manufactured at the Ozeki Lantern Company in Gifu, Japan since 1951. They are contructed from paper and bamboo using the traditional techniques for which Gifu's lanternmakers are famous. In Japan. [via @freduarte via @langealexandra]

This is so awesome, watching this process makes me want to use it somehow.

Also, I lived in Gifu for a while, just after Noguchi exhibited his Akari lamps in the US Pavilion at the 1986 Venice Biennale. Not that I knew what a Biennale was at the time, of course. The Noguchi Museum re-created the Venice installation in 2009.

From the Ozeki site, it looks like there was a massive, room-filling Akari sphere at Venice? I can't tell, but none of the other photos I can find seem to show such a thing. The largest size for sale these days is the 120A, which is around 4' [or 120cm?] in diameter. Which looks smaller than the Akari in the stairwell of the Noguchi Museum, right?


And smaller than the one in Noguchi's own apartment, which he set up across the street from the museum, an interesting-sounding private space that was mostly dismantled, but not irreparably destroyed, when Fred Bernstein called for its restoration in 2004. Waitaminnit, Jonathan Marvel of Rogers Marvel is Buckminster Fuller's grandnephew?

Noguchi's Unknown Home []

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: February 7, 2011.

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