2015 Spring Benefit and Isamu Noguchi Award

May 19, 2015

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.

2015 Honorees

Jasper Morrison
Photo: Kento Mori

Jasper Morrison

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
Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Yoshio Taniguchi

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.

Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Karen McDonald
Miki Kashiwagi
Susan Kessler
Maria Spears
The 42nd Street Fund
Keiko Ono Aoki
ARIS Title Insurance Corporation
Benihana of Tokyo
Noreen and Kenneth Buckfire
Cahill Partners LLP
Lisa and Dick Cashin
Midori and Gerald Curtis
Peggy and Dick Danziger
Judy and Kim Davis
Design Within Reach
Susan Dunne
Donald H. Elliott
Christiane Fischer
Maxine and Stuart Frankel
Sachiko and Lawrence Goodman
Hugh and Tiziana Hardy
Herman Miller
David and Andrea Holbrook
Steven Holl
Rachael K. Horovitz
Peter and Eileen Jachym
Charles R. Johnson Jr.
Miki Kashiwagi and Tom Bingham
Noriko and Shigesuke Kashiwagi
Kaufman Astoria Studios
Susan and Chip Kessler
Robin and David Key
Mark Kingdon and Anla Cheng Kingdon
Korin Japanese Trading Corp.
Lucy W. Lamphere
Marubeni America Corporation
Jonathan J. Marvel
Karen McDonald
Nion McEvoy
Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc.
Toshiko Mori and James Carpenter
Elizabeth P. Munson
Hiroko and Satoru Murase
Malcolm and Jennifer Nolen
Katie and Peter O’Neill
Wendy O’Neill and David Rayner
Jennifer Ortega and Curtis McGraw Webster
Pace Gallery
Louise Parent and John Casaly
Jock Reynolds and Suzanne Hellmuth
Charles Rockefeller
Rockefeller & Co.
Beth and Samuel Sachs II
Motoatsu and Nobuko Sakurai
Eric C. Shiner
Maria and Bill Spears
Missie Rennie and Zach Taylor
Cornelia and Erik Thomsen
George Tsandikos
Carol Warner and Ned Cooke
Anthony Williams

Isamu Noguchi Award Honorees