- Isamu Noguchi
- Akari & Shop
On May 19, 2015, The Noguchi Museum held its Spring Benefit and presentation of the second annual Isamu Noguchi Award to industrial designer Jasper Morrison and architect Yoshio Taniguchi. The evening included a silent auction of Isamu Noguchi’s Octetra.
Jasper Morrison is one of the world’s most influential industrial designers. His talent for creating objects that are defined by their simplicity and that fit seamlessly within their surroundings, are just two of his many affinities with Isamu Noguchi. Morrison’s aesthetic, in particular his quiet respect for materials, is often described as Japanese, but like Noguchi, he is profoundly and purposefully cosmopolitan. He is as comfortable with the stonework of Italian marble quarries and the traditional wood and paper industries of Japan, as he is with the high-precision metal forming and electronics that he employs in his collaborations with companies such as Vitra, Alessi, and Samsung. Morrison has also developed designs with Cappellini, Flos, Muji, Camper, Maharam, and Emeco, and his designs have appeared in major museums, galleries and biennials such as Documenta 8; The DAAD Gallery, Berlin; and the Tate Modern, London. Morrison’s 1999 Air Chair—a light, elegant, durable, and relatively inexpensive molded chair made from a single piece of plastic using gas injection technology—is indicative of his openness to new materials and technologies. In another of his commonalities with Noguchi, Morrison’s designs are extraordinarily spatially aware and take into consideration all circumstances that they seek to affect. He is the rare designer whose work combines art with industry in the clear service of making a better world.
Yoshio Taniguchi was introduced to Isamu Noguchi at a young age by his father, Yoshiro Taniguchi (1904–1979), who was also a prominent architect and collaborated with Noguchi on Shin Banraisha, a room and garden located on the ground floor of a building at Keio University. Noguchi was close friends with both father and son, and became an avuncular mentor to the younger Taniguchi. After establishing his own architecture firm in 1979, Yoshio Taniguchi collaborated with Noguchi on his first museum project in 1984: the Ken Domon Museum of Photography, Japan’s inaugural photography museum that houses the collection of the renowned Japanese photographer. Taniguchi designed four other major museums in Japan before redesigning the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2004. Since then, he has worked on significant projects in Switzerland, the United States, and most recently on the Heisei Chishinkan Wing, a new addition to the Kyoto National Museum, Japan. Among a handful of global architects known for taking an understated approach to museum design, Taniguchi excels in creating spaces with a humility and elegance that allows the art contained within to stand on its own. A master of imbuing his projects with a humane and universal refinement, he credits his sensitivity to the relationship between objects and spaces in part to his friendship with Noguchi. This quality of spatial serenity is highly evident in Noguchi’s own designs for his homes, studios, and of course in The Noguchi Museum. With compatriots such as Tadao Ando and Arata Isozaki— also friends of Noguchi’s—Taniguchi has been an enormously important conduit for Japanese aesthetics in the West.