Nakashima Living room light Noguchi
Don Freeman

As we combed through Artists’ Handmade Houses, the prize in our current book giveaway, we noticed an interesting theme running through the houses of many of the 13 artists featured. They often used the simple rice paper globe ceiling lights pioneered in the 50’s by Isamu Noguchi: an electrical wire hung from the ceiling from which hung a bulb surrounded by a translucent rice paper shade. Paolo Soleri, Sam Maloof, Wharton Esherick, Ruth and Robert Hatch all used them to great effect: they lend a pleasing sculptural element to a room while casting a lovely light.

George Nakashima had them all over the house.  We’re wondering if he made this clever wall light by cutting a globe in half and affixing it to the wall.

Nakashima Noguchi sideways wall light
Don Freeman

…He even used one in the kitchen…

Nasashima kitchen w Noguchi light
Don Freeman

To our eye several of the genuine, pricey Noguchi Akari Ceiling Lights (which you can buy here) 

Noguchi Akari ceiling light sculptures

…are almost identical to these inexpensive Japanese paper lanterns available from Shoji Decor (which come in many shapes and sizes)…

Noguchi-esque paper lanterns

You can buy yourself a big 39″ Noguchi globe for about $1000. Or buy a 36″ one from Shoji for about $37, along with an electric cord kit for about $15…our modus operandi for years.

Our giveaway contest for Artists’ Handmade Houses ends tonight. To enter, click here.


Related posts: task lights suspended from the ceiling

are you a secret lighting designer?

great clip-on lamp shade (+ the search for glass fiber paper)

more from ‘artists handmade houses’ (our great book giveaway)

constantino nivola’s yellow tractor paint floor

book giveaway: artists’ handmade houses

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11 replies on “modernist noguchi-esque paper shade lights (cheap)

  1. Beautiful kitchen. I’m curious about the cabinet–the small panels appear to be angled. . .

  2. Need replacement shade for Noguchi Lamp BB1-30DL. Any idea where to find one that would be suitable? Thanks.

    Love your site!

  3. Did you check the source given in the post…which is here?

  4. Does anyone know a place to get a 6′ and 4′ diameter Noguchi lamps with custom printed paper?

  5. How do I buy two of your Naguchi-esque lanterns? I am confused on how to do this.

  6. And what exactly is to be gained from authenticity in this case, except perhaps the approval of brand-snobs? I recommend the Ikea ones that can be had for £2. I’m sure that you could tell the difference from the Noguchi ones if you were determined to do so, but to be honest they will look just as good. It’s a tribute to the artist that the design transcends the execution and the precise materials used and has become universal.

  7. IMG_9865.PNG

    I am looking fir a lamp like the one in the image. Where can I find it?

    Thank you

  8. Improvised Life is not a store, but posts ABOUT strategies and goods. Just follow the link in the story for resources.

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