Architect Spotlight: Isamu Noguchi

Landscape architect, sculptor and political activist Isamu Noguchi is one of the most iconic furniture and lighting designers of the 20th century. The Japanese-American artist was born in Los Angeles in 1904, and throughout his extensive and multifaceted career, he continued to produce work that was both ahead of its time and ever-evolving.
We're endlessly inspired by the way Noguchi blended understated, natural elements with bold shapes and experimental materials, and we'd love to share more about his inspiring life and career. 
Noguchi began his career studying pre-medicine at Columbia University and taking sculpture classes in the evenings, though he soon left Columbia to pursue sculpture full time. After studying under acclaimed sculptor Constantin Brancusi in Paris in 1927, Noguchi returned to New York with a new interest in abstract, modernist sculpture. He made a living on portrait sculpture and landscape design, though it wasn't until he completed a sculpture for the Associated Press Building in Rockefeller Center in 1940 that he became well-known in the U.S. 
Noguchi's career throughout the 1940s involved numerous works of public art, gardens, playgrounds and fountains all over the world. All of these works had deeper meaning, though: Noguchi believed strongly in the social significance of public sculpture. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he started the Nisei Writers and Artists Mobilization for Democracy and voluntarily entered an internment camp in Arizona in order to raise awareness about the patriotism of Japanese-Americans. 
After his release, Noguchi set up his first studio in Greenwich Village, where he created some of his most iconic stone sculptures and other experimental works. He began creating stage sets for celebrated names like Martha Graham and John Cage, and it was during this time in the late 1940s and early 1950s that he developed the furniture and light sculptures that he is most known for. Noguchi's glass-topped coffee table for Herman Miller and his recognizable Akari light sculptures are still in production today. 

If you have a chance to visit the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, it will absolutely change the way you think about art, design and living. The outdoor garden and indoor warehouse showcase many of his stone sculptures, tools, and Japanese light sculptures, and its location just across the street from Noguchi's his 1960s studio offers a look at a career that spanned multiple decades. In a time when many are focused on expansion and producing more, more, more, Noguchi is an inspiration to us to focus on finding new and better ways to create beautiful, meaningful things. 
 
Image credit:  
The Isamu Noguchi Foundation 
 

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