In 1951 Isamu Noguchi visited the Japanese town of Gifu, know for its manufacture of lanterns and umbrellas from the mulberry bark paper and bamboo. Inspired by the lanterns illuminating night fishing on the Nagara River, Noguchi designed the first of his lamps that would be produced by the traditional Gifu methods of construction. He called these works Akari, a term meaning light as illumination, but also implying the idea of weightlessness. Extending the concept of illuminated sculpture that he developed during the 1940s in New York, Noguchi employed abstract shapes to unite the simplicity of Japanese aesthetics with the principles of contemporary art and design. More that home furnishing, Akari are light sculptures.With the warm glow of light cast through hand-made paper on a bamboo frame, Isamu Noguchi utilized traditional Japanese materials to bring modern design to the home. Like the beauty of falling leaves and the cherry blossom, Noguchi wrote, Akari are "poetic, ephemeral, and tentative." And he was fond of saying, "All that you require to start a home are a room, a tatami, and Akari.