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Isamu Noguchi - designer office furniture

picture of designer office furniture by Isamu Noguchipicture of designer office furniture by Isamu Noguchipicture of designer office furniture by Isamu Noguchipicture of designer office furniture by Isamu Noguchipicture of Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi was a prominent Japanese-American artist and landscape architect whose artistic career spanned six decades, from the 1920’s onward. Known widely for his sculpture and public works, Noguchi also designed stage sets for various Martha Graham productions, and several mass-produced lamps and furniture pieces.

Isamu Noguchi, American (1904-1988), was the illegitimate son of Yone Noguchi, a Japanese poet who had gained great acclaim in the United States. More of a sculptor than a designer, the everyday objects he created are best seen as sculptures with a practical value, “things for everyone’s pleasure”. His sculptural style exerted a lasting influence on the whole organic design language of the 1950s. The furniture he designed for Herman Miller and Knoll are still in production today.

The Design Story "Everything is sculpture," said Isamu Noguchi. "Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture." Noguchi believed the sculptor's task was to shape space, to give it order and meaning, and that art should "disappear," or be as one with its surroundings.

Unwilling and unable to be pigeonholed, Noguchi created sculptures that could be as abstract as Henri Moore's or as realistic as Leonardo's. He used any medium he could get his hands on: stone, metal, wood, clay, bone, paper, or a mixture of any or all (carving, casting, cutting, pounding, chiselling, or dynamiting away as each form took shape).

picture of Isamu Noguchi at work sculpting

"To limit yourself to a particular style may make you an expert of that particular viewpoint or school, but I do not wish to belong to any school," he said. "I am always learning, always discovering." His relationship with Herman Miller came about when one of his designs was used to illustrate an article written by George Nelson called "How to Make a Table." It became his famous "coffee table," and it's as appealing today as it was then.