Each spring, the MFA Graduate Core Design Studio in the Department of Interior Design at Pratt Institute asks students to draw inspiration from Isamu Noguchi’s work.
This year, premised on Noguchi’s interpretations and evolutions of traditional Japanese chochin lanterns, students proposed a hypothetical mobile retail strategy allowing The Noguchi Museum to display and sell Noguchi’s Akari light sculptures as a collaborative pop-up with Pratt Institute.
Working in three teams, the students’ proposals consider the context of the unique sites where the pop-up will be installed, cultural diversity and knowledge, collapsibility and sustainability of material use and focus on upcycling, recycling and making. How do we as designers redefine the retail exchange and cultivate education while fostering a dialogue between the museum and community?
The site is interpreted in multiple ways: a static installation in which the pop-up is presented within the boundaries of the Pratt campus, and a mobile site in the Noguchi Museum’s sprinter van used to house and transport the Akari and exhibit when they are not deployed.
The materials are limited to upcycled and recycled newspaper, wire metal hangers, locally collected bamboo, corrugated cardboard, and muslin fabric scraps. These could be used in any manner, with fasteners determined at the discretion of the team.
Akari light sculptures for this project were donated by The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum. Pop-up materials and resources were donated for the project through the generosity of Cintas, The New York Botanical Garden, The New York Times, Rudolf Steiner School, Rapid 3D, and the Department of Interior Design, Pratt Institute.