Posted on February 10, 2009 - by

Isamu Noguchi

Isamu NoguchiIsamu Noguchi
(1904-1922)

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

Isamu Noguchi was son to the American writer Leonie Gilmour and the Japanese poet Yone Noguchi. As a student he spent time at both Columbia University and the Leonardo da Vinci Art School.

In 1927 he set up his first independent studio and became the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. Working for Constantin Brancusi as an assistant in Paris prepared him for his first New York exhibition. Noguchi also worked with ceramics in Japan under Jinmatsu Uno and went to China to practice brush drawing. This wide range of cultural influences is clearly perceptible in his designs.

Isamu Noguchi developed a foundation in sculpture but was able transpose his talents into interior and outdoor design, stage sets, furniture and even lighting. His truly diverse talent meant he was able to easily span cultural differences and a variety of design disciplines, which ultimately he was driven to do by paternal influence. In a proposal for the Guggenheim Fellowship he wrote: “My father, Yone Noguchi, is Japanese and has long been known as an interpreter of the East to the West, through poetry. I wish to fulfil my heritage through design”.

Noguchi’s ‘Coffee Table’ was the piece of furniture design he felt most proud of, it evolved directly from the bronze and marble sculptures he was producing at the time, translating an art work into a piece of sculptural interior design. The beautiful, minimal table is made up of a glass top resting on two identical wooden supports at right angles. Today Vitra owns the license to produce the Noguchi Coffee Table. This table is copied prolifically, but you can be sure that if it is made by Vitra, it’s an Authorised Original.

Isamu Noguchi died in New York in 1988.

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