D&R Play Mountain: a radio documentary about the work of Isamu Noguchi

Play Mountain


Just listened to this 99% invisible episode about the life and work of sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

Image result for isamu noguchi

Noguchi was born in America to a white mother and Japanese father he spent some of his childhood in Japan but was bullied because of his blue eyes. He returned to America to live in New York as a teenager and begun his work as a sculptor with dreams of designing abstract playgrounds intended to stir the imagination of children.

Image result for play mountain noguchiAlmost none of his playgrounds were designed in his lifetime but his ideas have stretched farther than he could imagine in the world of architecture.

During World War 2 Noguchi teamed up with United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier to design the Poston concentration camp. The idea was to make the camp a utopian village that would bring the internees together for an idillic life while they awaited the end of the war.

Noguchi himself went to the Poston camp (even though he was not required to) to supervise the construction of his vision.  But when he arrived he found himself imprisoned with none of his designs being followed.

(letter to artist Man Ray

When he got out he continued to design playgrounds that no one would build.

He is most famous for the Noguchi coffee table which appears in many movies.

Image result for noguchi coffee table

Just before he died he combined many of his playground designs into a giant park that now exists in Sapporo, Japan as Moerenuma Park. He never lived to see it built.

Image result for moerenuma park

Image result for moerenuma park

3 thoughts on “D&R Play Mountain: a radio documentary about the work of Isamu Noguchi”

  1. I find the aesthetics present all compelling in their distinct forms. I appreciate the use of lighting, shape, and elements. I am interested to hear more of your thoughts on how these aesthetic elements might be present in comics/films that have been touched by different API aesthetics.

  2. I really enjoyed this, thank you sharing! Noguchi clearly had some wonderful ideas with beautiful intentions for our future children. It’s sad to see that his works were never made while he was alive– he’ll never get to see the appreciation he got for his sketch ideas. I hope what was built from his drafts will stay up for as long as possible.

  3. This is a wonderful look into this amazing artist! I love how you not only told about the artist but you had pictures of what he tried to design and how people carried out his designs much later. the letter was an added bonus to this post. Great work.

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