The sculptural quality of Noguchi's design vocabulary finds expression in the Freeform Sofa: it is entirely different from other designs of the same period, appearing in combination with the Ottoman like an enlarged sculpture of flat, rounded river stones. The slender organic forms are fluid and graceful. Noguchi emphasises the lightness of the elements with thin yet comfortable upholstery and a choice of cover fabrics in natural colours.
The Freeform Sofa and companion Ottoman were produced around 1950 in limited numbers. Today, the few remaining pieces achieve record prices at auction. Since 2002, the group has been produced by the Vitra Design Museum as a fully authentic re-edition. The sofa is suitable not only for use in living spaces, but also in lobbies, hotels and retail shops.
Isamu Noguchi, born in 1904 in Los Angeles to the Japanese poet Yone Noguchi and the American writer Leonie Gilmour, studied at Columbia University and the Leonardo da Vinci Art School. He subsequently established his first independent studio and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1927. Noguchi became an assistant to Constantin Brancusi in Paris and presented his first solo exhibition in New York. After studying brush drawing in China, he travelled to Japan to work with clay under the master potter Jinmatsu Uno. His experiences living and working in different cultural circles are reflected in Isamu Noguchi's work as an artist. He is considered a universal talent with a creative oeuvre that went beyond sculpture to encompass stage sets, furniture, lighting, interiors as well as outdoor plazas and gardens. His sculptural style is indebted to a vocabulary of organic forms and exerted a sustained influence on the design of the 1950s. 'My Father, Yone Noguchi is Japanese and has long been known as an interpreter of the East and West, through poetry. I wish to do the same thing through sculpture', he wrote in his proposal for a Guggenheim Fellowship. Isamu Noguchi died in New York in 1988.