Friday, October 16, 2009

Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi was a Japanese American artist, sculptor and landscape architect known worldwide for his public works.  Born in Los Angeles in 1904, his long career spanned six decades.  Here are a few of his most famous pieces:

“Red Cube,” HSBC Building, New York, NY, 1968

Japanese Garden at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France,  Travel Pod

Dodge Fountain and Phillip A. Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI, 1975

“California Scenario,” Costa Mesa, CA, 1980-82 (Alisa Ochoa)

In 1948, Noguchi collaborated with the Herman Miller furniture company to produce a catalog of modern furniture.  Perhaps his most famous piece from this catalog was his Noguchi table.  This table still remains popular today.

“Noguchi Table” for Herman Miller , 1948

Noguchi also designed playgrounds for children.  He saw them as the perfect way to integrate sculpture into modern life.  Here are some of his playgrounds:

The slide was recently renovated at Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA (Reid2008 at flickr)

Late in his life, Noguchi designed several “Slide Mantras” made from stone.  The Slide Manta in Sapporo was constructed of black stone so that it could be viewed even in the snow-covered winter months there.  These Slides were not constructed however, until after his death. 
 noguchi_slide_mantra_hokudai Black Slide Mantra, Odori Park, Sapporo, Japan

Black Slide Mantra, Odori Park, Sapporo, Japan

 Model for Slide Mantra 1, Noguchi Museum

Noguchi died on November 30, 1988 at the age of 84 after a very long and prolific artistic career.  To learn more about his life and work, visit Wikipedia or The Noguchi Museum.

It’s Friday, so it’s time to see what other bloggers are up to at The Inspired Room's Beautiful Life Friday.


  1. My children (and I) played on the Noguchi in Piedmont Park. To me it wasn't particularly about the "design-design." It was that it's a darn good playground. In the middle there is a shallow dome (a convex section of a sphere) thing you can climb on. You really feel good on that thing. The round tower slide is problem. It allowed privacy for things you don't want kids (or adults) around. They kept it locked up. I predict they'll have to lock it up again.

  2. Terry, I knew you would have some insight and words of wisdom on this park. I should've talked to you in advance!

  3. Hi Pam, I would love to participate in a Blog Party thing if you were hosting. I liked Hooked on Friday's because it was fun to come up with a topic I was hooked on :)

    BTW, the Big Guy has dyslexia so he makes me read my blog TO him. Isn't that just the sweetest?! He tries to make sure he knows what I've been writing about because people come up to him out of the blue and he doesn't want to look like he's clueless!

  4. These are the coolest slides I've ever seen!! Wow!! They do double-duty as slides AND sculptures :-)

    The Noguchi table has been a favourite of mine for years. Love the smooth & curvy lines of the base.

    Thanks for the Noguchi lesson :-)


  5. I love some his lamps..., and I think IKEA has a few knock off's too.


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