A recent house tour in Remodelista showed a cool, minimalist renovation of a 1940’s summer cottage in Denmark. The hard angles and rectangles so common (and problematic) with a modern aesthetic were softened by huge, translucent paper spheres hung from the ceiling, pioneered by Isamu Noguchi in the 1950’s. They’ve long been a favorite of ours because the are a simple way to add ethereal, sculptural rounds to an angular interior, and because there fine inexpensive knock-offs that will achieve the same look.

Mikkel Mortensen
Mikkel Mortensen

Designers Paolo SoleriSam MaloofWharton EsherickRuth and Robert Hatch and George Nakashima all used the big globes to great effect; they are in many interiors of the lovely book Artists’ Handmade Houses.

Nakashima Living room light Noguchi
Don Freeman

You can read all about them, and where to buy real Noguchi shades AND the knockoffs here.

Photos: Mikkel Mortensen

3 replies on “Noguchi-esque Rice Paper Shades Soften Modern Rooms

  1. I am unable to hang a lantern but would like to achieve that floating effect with standing, round paper lanterns. Any suggestions on a base to buy/make that is “invisible”?

  2. I would just buy an inexpensive lamp the right height and configuration to hold a shade and ditch the shade it comes with…Use a paper shade. This Ikea table lamp or this one are good examples: utterly simple, with an adjustable height that would accomodate many shade types. Also google “Noguchi table lamps” for inspiration.

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