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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Noguchi and Kenmochi: The bamboo basket chair

In 1950 Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) made his first trip to Japan following World War II. There he met Japanese industrial designer Isamu Kenmochi (1912-1971). Noguchi became interested in Kenmochi's bamboo basket weaving after seeing this chair.

Rattan basket weave chair by Isamu Kenmochi

Noguchi came up with a few ideas to incorporate Kenmochi's technique, and the bamboo basket chair emerged from a brief collaboration between the two. The chair uses Kenmochi's basket-weaving plans for the seat and back rest, while Noguchi provided the idea for the base, a looping iron rod similar to that of the Hardoy butterfly chair.

Bamboo basket chair by Noguchi and Kenmochi

Unfortunately, the chair was never manufactured, and the prototype was lost. However, a copy of the chair was made for the Noguchi Museum using old photographs of the original.

Isamu Noguchi (l) and Isamu Kenmochi (r)

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