Washi paper
Washi paper originates from Japan, where it is made from the inner bark of the mulberry tree according to age-old tradition and know-how. It is used for the Akari Light Sculptures – indeed, its properties were a prerequisite for the very existence of these legendary lamps by the Japanese-American sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi: the fragile-looking, translucent paper is strong and durable and allowed Noguchi to experiment with his sculptural forms.

It has a density that reflects a similar amount of light back into the structure as it allows to shine through. This creates a certain irregularity and mysterious effect – and it was this quality of light that fascinated Noguchi.

Ever since Isamu Noguchi designed the first of over one hundred different Akari Light Sculptures, they have been handcrafted at the Ozeki workshop in Japan. To create the ribbed shape, thin bamboo rods are stretched across sculptural wooden forms. Then washi paper is cut into strips and painstakingly adhered to the bamboo ribbing. Once the glue has dried and the light sculpture has thus hardened, the inner wooden mould form is dismantled and removed. The resulting lanterns are robust and can be collapsed and shipped in flat boxes.

About the Akari Light Sculptures

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