Foremost a sculptor, Isamu Noguchi softened the edge of 20th century modernism with his satisfyingly organic furniture designs. His sought-after classic Free Form Sofa and Ottoman (1946) have been newly reissued by the Vitra Design Museum in partnership with the Isamu Noguchi Foundation. A statement-making piece, the sofa has a grandly scaled, open form that accommodates multiple people. The design is lightly padded and provides a firm seating surface for public spaces and formal living rooms. The ottoman nestles into the sofa's curved form to function as a footrest, perch or table. Low, rounded beech wood legs lend a sense of animation. The upholstery colors each have coordinating legs: Black fabric with black painted legs; chartreuse fabric with walnut-stained legs; cream fabric with natural beech legs. The sofa and ottoman are part of a serial edition, and feature numbered plates of authenticity. Covers are removable for dry-cleaning. Made in Germany.
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How does one sculpt space? How do objects give form to the surrounding emptiness? This puzzle, posed both by Europeans like Giacometti and Brancusi and the Zen artists of Japan, creates a theme that runs through the work of Isamu Noguchi. It is not one he attempted to solve, but like the Zen master, posed the question in different ways.
One of the great sculptors of the 20th century, Noguchi shaped spaces for theaters, residences, gardens and playgrounds. He also sought to bring sculptural qualities to the many objects he designed for common use. As a young man, Noguchi studied medicine at Columbia University, but abandoned medicine to pursue painting and sculpture and in 1927, a Guggenheim fellowship took him to Europe. In Paris, he had the great good fortune to be apprenticed in the studio of Constantin Brancusi, whose investigations of form and space recalled the art and architecture Noguchi knew from childhood years spent in Japan. Read more >