Sometimes it's not the most expensive items, but the best designed ones that get my attention. Hence the 20N table lamp from Isamu Noguchi at just 155 dollars! It's a paper lantern 24 inches high, 16 inches deep and looks quite simple at first glance. I got mine at Gabriel Ross in Victoria.
I brought the flat box home, and started to put it together- first I opened the flat pack box, noticing the lack of materials both in the lamp and the packaging, a good thing. Then lifted out the lightweight shade and very thin legs and frame. The socket and cord are the bulkiest thing in the 3 inch deep box. I love the colour of the shade and the sound when it is touched. The spacing between the ribs is random, yet ordered, like nature. The black metal legs are very thin, and the frame is tall, creating a flimsy framework...until.
I really started to appreciate the design of the lamp when I put it together wrong. The shade is made to fit through the legs, not like the imitation. It's assembly is a design feat in itself. You have to lift up the shade from the legs, tightening just enough to slide the harp on the threaded post, securing it on the top of the frame. I can imagine the design hours going over the materials, construction and assembly considerations of this simple lumminaire.
The legs are super slim, and have some give to them. They are capped off by dainty little rubber feet, spherical and working together with the legs offering a dynamic yet stable base for the paper lantern, all slight on their own, yet strong as one peice when tightened and assembled (properly!).
After placing the lamp on my entry console and turning it on from the
base of the socket, noticing the little red stamp at the bottom of the
shade and standing back to adore it next to my Brent Comber Alder Disk, I
feel the design story is complete.
Now I have simple layered light in the first room you enter, dimmers with
narrow and wide spots highlighting the disk, natural light from lots of windows and ambient light from the
lantern. The light is amazing! Paper is so flattering.
And it's not just the function of this lamp...its the form...the
beautiful, organic, make me smile every time I look at it, form.
Most of all, the exercise of assembling this piece of art was an essential part of owning it...one wonders if that was Noguchi's plan.