Design: Isamu Noguchi and Isamu Kenmochi

At the end of our street, along the East River, sits a small museum dedicated to the industrial designer and artist, Isamu Noguchi. It actually sits in the building that was once his studio. The converted factory building recently underwent a huge renovation and its new layout juxtaposes Isamu’s work, the industrial details of the former factory, and nature. In some instances the line between indoor and outdoor space becomes intentionally blurred because so much of Isamu’s work is inspired by nature.

For this reason I usually highly recommend visiting the museum in the summer to sit and enjoy the large Japanese garden. However, the museum also features changing exhibits and from now through May 25, 2008 they have one of the best shows I’ve seen there in a long time. The exhibit, Design: Isamu Noguchi and Isamu Kenmochi, features the intersection of these two prominent Japanese designer’s careers starting with a collaboration on a bamboo chair. From that point on, they continued to influence each other and shared the same vision that materials should be used in new and techincally challenging ways to create a beautiful yet simple looking designs.

I found that one of the best parts of the exhibit was the exhibit presentation itself. Bonnie Rychlak, a friend of MSLK, beautifully designed the exhibit with period colors, and material selections that compliment the work in amazing ways. Instead of a traditional pedestal the furniture sits on cinder blocks or rings of gravel. When the pieces are a bit more organic, flowing pill shapes of color break-up the floor and ceiling .

If you love Isamu’s lights and furniture now is a great time to catch pieces not normally on display in permanent collection. Many of the items are on loan just for this exhibit and after May 25th it will all be gone.