A former apprentice to Constantin Brancusi, midcentury master Isamu Noguchi was no stranger to working with metal. The aluminum Prismatic Table (1957), the last piece of furniture that Noguchi designed, is an example of his return to the medium in the 1950s, during which time he created both functional and fine arts objects out of metal sheeting. Evoking the Japanese art of origami, the table features carefully bent and folded angles that lend dimension and a sense of solidity to the design. Small but sturdy, it's a crisp and classic side or end table. This is the first time the three-legged version of the table has been produced, and is artfully manufactured by the Vitra Design Museum in collaboration with the Isamu Noguchi Foundation.
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 created "lived spaces" for the theater, interiors 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 >