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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Perhaps more than any other midcentury master, Isamu Noguchi blurred lines between the public and the personal, between art and design. His career was defined by experimenting, learning and creating. "You can find out how to do something and then do it," he said, "or do something and then find out what you did."
Born in Los Angeles to an American mother and Japanese father, Noguchi lived in Japan until the age of 13. While later studying pre-med at Columbia, he took night classes in sculpture and found his true calling. "Everything is sculpture," he asserted. "Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture." In 1927, he left for Paris to study with sculptor Constantin Brâncuși for two years, which led him to embrace modernism and abstraction. Read more >