Exhibitions

Isamu Noguchi

Patents and Inventions

Installation view of Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern

Installation view of Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. All works ©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York.

Noguchi thought deeply about what he saw as the foolish separation of art and design in perception and practice. Considering the artistic imagination equal “to the broadening scope of world awareness” and invention in the industrial sense a form of creativity, he tried regularly to unite them.

Noguchi’s many patents include designs for the case of Radio Nurse (1937), the first baby monitor, and various developments of Akari, the electrified variations on Japanese paper lanterns he invented to save a traditional craft industry. Akari is as close as Noguchi came to matching the inventor/industrialists, such as Alexander Graham Bell and Henry Ford, whom he once called the true American artists.


Akari light sculptures
Isamu Noguchi
Akari Ceiling Models E (1954), L8 (1976) and B (1955)

Isamu Noguchi, Archaic/Modern at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
© The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York.
Radio Nurse made of Bakelite
Isamu Noguchi
Radio Nurse

1937
Bakelite.
© The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York. Used by permission.
Patent for Radio Nurse.
Isamu Noguchi
Radio Casing (Radio Nurse) Patent

Approved March 15, 1938
Patent number Des. 108.837
United States Patent and Trademark Office, www.uspto.gov
Rocking Stool in Wire Form made of steel wire, chrome plate, and birch.
Isamu Noguchi
Rocking Stool in Wire Form

1954
Steel wire, chrome plate, and birch.
© The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York. Used by permission.
Table or the Like Patent
Isamu Noguchi
Table or the Like Patent

Approved February 4, 1958
Patent number Des. 182,037
United States Patent and Trademark Office, www.uspto.gov