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Knoll Designer Bios

Isamu Noguchi

b. USA
1904-1988

Isamu Noguchi was a pre-med student at Columbia University before he left to pursue his art full time. Noguchi supported himself early on by sculpting portrait busts, leading him to meet famed dance choreographer Martha Graham. The fortuitous meeting led to a 30-year collaboration, with Noguchi designing and transposing mythological elements into abstract form for his visionary sets and costumes for The Martha Graham Dance Company.

In the 1940s, Noguchi began to experiment in furniture design. One of his designs, a rocking stool with a unique wire base, caught the eye of Hans Knoll who introduced the design, with a matching table, in 1955. Using Noguchi’s original drawings, and in collaboration with the Noguchi Foundation, Knoll reintroduced the tables in 2003.

Although he developed products for Zenith, Steuben Glassworks, Herman Miller, and Knoll, Isamu Noguchi is not defined by his industrial design. He is most remembered as a sculptor, landscape artist, and set designer. His work, including his famous stone sculptures, can be seen at the Isamu Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, New York.