Isamu Noguchi’s Stonecutter’s Ceiling

Stone House, 1972, by Tadashi Yamamoto and Masatoshi Izumi, Mure Japan, image: Yoshi Makino/Cereal

Searching for Isamu Noguchi ceiling is highly recommended.

In 1972, the Noguchi’s longtime collaborator, Masatoshi Izumi, built a house next to the artist’s at their stonecutting yard in Mure, Japan. Izumi, who descends from a long line of stonecutters, worked with a plan by architect Tadashi Yamamoto to realize Stone House. Jared Frank wrote about it for Cereal Magazine:

This salvaged cylinder [made from local aji stone, and the basalt core of the first sculpture Izumi and Noguchi created together] still bears the scars of its violent removal, and is the physical and spiritual core of Stone House. It supports a slender truss system that floats over the walls. Painted red at Noguchi’s urging, the grid is flagrantly hi-tech in contrast with the low-tech stonework. Equal parts Superstudio, Cedric Price, and Bernard Rudofsky’s Architecture Without Architects (1964), Stone House is a compelling, one-of-a-kind synthesis of competing trends in late modernist thought and design. To this day it remains both timeless and distinctly 1972. Noguchi appropriately dubbed it a “modern temple.”

Here are more of Yoshihiro Makino’s photos of Stone House. And a 2018 tumblr post with photos from a Japanese magazine feature.

I went to Noguchi’s Museum and house in Mure when we went to Naoshima in 2006, but I did not know to put Stone House on the itinerary. [1 hour of google map searching later update: it is not next to Isamu-ya, Noguchi’s reconstructed Ed0-era house. I feel better about missing it.]