Who better to design a table than a sculptor?


Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) had a career that spanned more than 60 years, during which time he created sculpture, furniture, architecture, lighting, gardens, fountains, ceramics, playgrounds and theatrical sets. “To order space is to give it meaning,” said Noguchi, and he often referred to sculpture as a process of opening awareness. “The whole world is art … if one is really awake, he will see that the whole world is a symphony.”


At the age of 20, Isamu Noguchi left the pre-med program at Columbia University to pursue his passion for sculpture. A year later he saw a Constantin Brancusi exhibition that transformed his thinking about design. Within months he was working as Brancusi’s studio assistant in Paris, experimenting in environmental design, theatrical sets (he was the only designer that choreographer Martha Graham would work with) and eventually product design. Noguchi’s first mass-produced product was the Radio Nurse baby monitor for Zenith in 1937. He created his first furniture prototypes for Herman Miller in 1942, and six years later he designed the table for which he is most widely known.

The Noguchi Table, 1948

Learn more about this fascinating man at The Noguchi Museum. The current exhibition is on view through May 31:

Noguchi as Photographer: The Jantar Mantars of Northern India



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