The Isamu Noguchi Award, now in its second year, recognizes innovation, global consciousness and Japanese/American exchange, so it's no wonder this year's winners are designer Jasper Morrison and architect Yoshio Taniguchi, “[Their] visionary work and extraordinary contributions in the fields of design and architecture exemplify Noguchi’s lifelong commitment to world citizenship and the practice of art with a social purpose,” according to Jenny Dixon, director of the Noguchi Museum.
Jasper Morrison and Yoshio Taniguchi
Motohide Yoshikawa, Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations, will present the award during a special ceremony at the Noguchi Museum’s annual Spring Benefit.
Established last year by the museum, the first Isamu Noguchi Award was given to Lord Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto.
During a lifetime of artistic experimentation that manifested as sculptures, gardens, lighting design and playgrounds, Isamu Noguchi (1904 - 1988) set a new standard for melding of the arts. He was an avid collaborator, developing projects and friendships with some of the most important creative people of the 20th century: Diego Rivera, Martha Graham, Buckminster Fuller, John Cage, Kenzo Tange and Louis Kahn, among others.
Morrison has spent his career creating objects that are defined by their simplicity and that fit seamlessly into their surroundings, two aspects of his work that mirror that of Noguchi. Morrison is equally comfortable with the stonework of Italian marble quarries, the traditional wood and paper industries of Japan and the high-precision metal forming he employs in his collaborations with Vitra and Samsung. Morrison has also developed designs with Cappellini, Flos, Muji, Camper, Maharam and Emeco, and his designs have appeared in major museums, galleries and biennials such as Documenta 8 in Germany, The DAAD Gallery in Berlin and the Tate Modern in London.
Taniguchi was introduced to Noguchi at a young age by his father, Yoshiro (1904–1979), a prominent architect who collaborated with Noguchi on the Shin Banraisha, a room and garden on the ground floor of a building at Keio University. Noguchi was close friends with both father and son, and became an avuncular mentor to the younger Taniguchi. After establishing his own architecture firm in 1979, Taniguchi collaborated with Noguchi on his first museum project in 1984: the Ken Domon Museum of Photography. Taniguchi designed four other major museums in Japan before redesigning New York's Museum of Modern Art in 2004. Since then, he has worked on significant projects in Switzerland, the United States, and most recently on the Heisei Chishinkan Wing of the Kyoto National Museum in Japan.
Morrison and Taniguchi will be awarded at the Spring Benefit on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. This event is part of a year of celebratory programming in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Museum’s founding. Stay tuned for more information.