modernist noguchi-esque paper shade lights (cheap)

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.


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

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book giveaway: artists’ handmade houses

7 Responses to modernist noguchi-esque paper shade lights (cheap)

  1. Catherine 07.19.2011 at 12:21am #

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

  2. Richard Allen 07.22.2014 at 6:03pm #

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

    Love your site!

  3. Sally 07.29.2014 at 10:17pm #

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

  4. Michael 10.09.2014 at 8:20am #

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

  5. Kate Johnson 04.14.2015 at 6:39pm #

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

  6. Sally 04.14.2015 at 6:52pm #

    Sorry it was confusing. I’ve tweaked the post to make it clearer. You can buy authentic (and expensive) Noguchi shades here; or inexpensive knockoffs here.

  7. Neil 11.29.2015 at 6:41am #

    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.

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