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The AIT® is a women-led design studio and office, based in London.

Isamu Noguchi / ‘A New Nature’

      In the Spring of 2022, hundreds of Londoners (us included) flocked to Bermondsey’s White Cube gallery in pursuit of the new Noguchi exhibition, ‘A New Nature’. So much of Noguchi’s work feels effortlessly timeless, and relevant to the generations that stand before it.
      Born in 1904 in Los Angeles, California, Noguchi grew up to be an idealist with modern ideas at the tip of his fingers. Much of his work to this day, such as his modern furniture designs, are still in demand and in production globally, hailing Noguchi as one of the most influential modern artists of the 20th century.

      The ‘A New Nature’ exhibition at White Cube in London is named after a much-loved talk that Noguchi gave at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1970. He inspired and urged those in the audience to forge ‘a new nature’ as they navigated a world that was spent in cities surrounded by man-made textures and alien technologies. Noguchi’s understanding of nature was broad and he famously spoke of it in abstract ways, such as,

“The nature of trees and grass is one thing, but there are many degrees of nature. Concrete can be nature. Interstellar spaces are also nature. There is human nature. In the city, you have to have a new nature. Maybe you have to create that nature.”

      It was Noguchi’s ways of seeing the world that set him apart as a creator. He gently blends industrial harshness with lightness and fragility, and as you walk through the tall white-walled rooms in the White Cube Gallery you are given the freedom to wander from a minimalist jungle of metal sculptures, through to the sounds of a rushing metallic and grated waterfall, and then through to a cloud-like heaven of suspended Akari lanterns. 

      Noguchi is the architect of his own landscape, his designs are elements within an environment that push the boundaries of what we know to be true.

      The Akari lanterns which suspend gently from the White Cube industrial ceiling are beautiful reminders of Noguchi’s Japanese heritage and his love for tradition and craftsmanship. It is truly inspiring to see so many of Noguchi’s lanterns taking centre stage in modern homes as statement light fixtures - and again, reasons why these pieces are among his best work.
      Noguchi’s Akari lanterns are beautiful examples of engineered sculpture, their ability to fold flat, and the ease it takes to unfold these incredible lightweight and whimsical pieces is an example of his skill as an artist who creates artwork that is as stunning as it is functional. As you gaze at the details of each lantern you can understand Noguchi’s fascination with form and the subtleties of sculptural beauty. 
      Viewers at White Cube are invited to walk through the collection of different-sized spherical lanterns, allowing a more immersive and holistic experience. It is not only a celebration of sculpture and form but also a study of spatial dynamics, exploring the subtleties of collective hanging objects that are seemingly organically floating within Noguchi’s new nature.

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