In 1951, the Japanese-American artist and designer Isamu Noguchi began designing the Akari light sculptures after a visit to Gifu, a town recognised for its paper parasol and lantern production. Over the subsequent years, Noguchi crafted over 100 models, including table, floor, and ceiling lamps. 'Akari' means 'light' in Japanese, symbolising illumination and a sense of weightlessness.
Crafted with meticulous care, each luminaire takes shape in the Ozeki workshop, a Gifu-based family-run establishment. The intricate process involves stretching bamboo rods over Noguchi's original wooden moulds to create the framework. Thereon, washi paper, sourced from mulberry tree bark, is cut into strips tailored to the lamp's size and shape and adhered to the bamboo ribbing. Once the glue solidifies, the wooden form is removed, allowing the shade to be folded.
Each lamp is marked by a sun-and-moon logo of corresponding Japanese characters; these symbols guarantee authenticity for each Akari light.