Vitra Akari lights are one of the first popular designs that combined ancient paper lanterns with electric lighting, creating a new form of illumination for the home. These floor lanterns add a bold statement to any room, each with a unique personality.
A concept that is now ubiquitous, started in 1951 when American/Japanese artist and designer Isamu Noguchi began to design the Akari Light Sculptures. Noguchi created over 100 hand-made Shoji-paper models for table lights, standard lamps or ceiling luminaires. For the name of this lighting series he chose the word "akari", the Japanese term for brightness and physical lightness.
The light of Akari is like the light of the sun filtered through the paper of shoji. "The harshness of electricity is thus transformed through the magic of paper back to the light of our origin – the sun – so that its warmth may continue to fill our rooms at night". -Isamu Noguchi. Shoji paper is a traditional Japanese paper made traditionally with tree fibres, but today synthetic fibres, to reinforce and give it strength whilst retaining transparency.
Whilst often copied the Akari lights remain unbettered thanks to unusual asymmetric forms and high quality papers made in Japan that low-quality mass production cannot match. See the Noguchi and the original production technique in the video below.