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It would be easy to take the ubiquitous paper lampshade for granted. They’re everywhere – a part of modern culture. Inspired by centuries old Chinese and Japanese ‘Chochin’ lanterns and now mass produced cheaply by brands like IKEA, they’ve been a mainstay of modern interiors for years. But it was the work of sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi that catapulted this unassuming classic into mid-century homes.
In 1951, Noguchi was invited by the mayor of Gifu, home to the Ozeki lantern factory, to breathe new life into this ancient craft. The result was the distinctive (but often imitated) ‘Akari’ collection. Combining electricity with the traditional bamboo frame and washi paper skin, he transformed the lantern. Their soft glowing ambiance feels instantly homely and there’s something ethereal about the way the light plays with the thinness of the paper. They are functional works of art.
Where Japan Meets Scandinavia
Our innate need to create a home that feels safe, warm and harmonious has seen the rise of a kind of soft minimalism. We seek comfort in neutral interiors in soft beige and earthy clay tones. We want our furniture not only to reflect our personality but to bring about a tactile connection with natural materials; rattan, wood, paper, linen and so on.
Trend forecasters have coined the slightly cringy phrase ‘Japanordic’ or ‘Japandi’ to describe the fusion between Japanese and Scandinavian design, but essentially, these two cultures find common ground through simple, considered design and quality materials. Nordic brands are translating the look of traditional Japanese papercraft techniques into contemporary design statements where new iterations include opaline glass.
Create Cosy Ambience with Japandi Style Lights.
If you’d like to incorporate this look into your own home, my edit of Japandi Style Lights picks out options across a range of budgets. From sculptural over-the-dining-table conversation starters to the more subtle bedside lamps.
1. Hashira floor lamp, Menu* | 2. Gatto table lamp, FLOS | 3. HAY rice paper lampshade | 4. Formakami JH3 Lamp, &Tradition | 5. New Works lantern globe lamp| 6. Fritz Hansen Lullaby | 7. Risbyn paper lamp, IKEA | 8. 375 table lamp, Le Klint | 9. Bidar paper lampshade, House Doctor | 10. Akari A10 floor lamp, Vitra | 11. Bamboo pendant light*, H&M Home.