The Noguchi Museum has selected industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa and landscape designer Edwina von Gal as recipients of the 2018 Isamu Noguchi Award, given to individuals who share Noguchi’s spirit of innovation, global consciousness, and commitment to East/West cultural exchange.
Known for designs that are at once simple and poetic, Tokyo-based Naoto Fukasawa has designed a variety of objects, ranging from precision electronic equipment to furniture, interior spaces, and more. A graduate of Tama Art University, in 1989 Fukasawa moved to the United States, where he was impressed by Isamu Noguchi’s forms and began his own creative pursuits based on the concept of ‘hari,’ or “well balanced tension.” In 1996, he returned to Japan to head the Tokyo office of the American company IDEO, and in 2003 he established Naoto Fukasawa Design. Fukasawa’s wall-mounted CD player created for Muji, humidifier for Plus Minus Zero, and the mobile phones Infobar and neon for au by KDDI are all in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
Fukasawa is a director of 21_21 Design Sight, a creative advisor for Muji, art director for Maruni Wood Industry, and he designs for Geiger and Herman Miller. In 2007, he was accorded the title of Honorary Royal Designer for Industry (awarded by the Royal Society of Arts). He has sat on many design panels, including as chairman of the Good Design Award from 2010 to 2014, and was a judge for the Braun Prize in 2012. He is a professor in the Integrated Design department
at Tama Art University, and director of The Japan Folk Crafts Museum, Tokyo.
Edwina von Gal has been principal of her eponymous U.S.-based landscape design firm since 1984, creating landscapes with a focus on simplicity and sustainability. She has collaborated with architects including Frank Gehry, Richard Gluckman, Annabelle Selldorf, Maya Lin, and Richard Meier, on projects for numerous people in the design and art community, among others. Von Gal’s work has been published widely and her book “Fresh Cuts” won the Quill and Trowel
award for garden writing. In 2008, she founded the Azuero Earth Project, promoting reforestation on Panama’s Azuero Peninsula. In 2013, she created the nonprofit Perfect Earth Project, dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers to people, pets, and the planet of toxic lawn and garden chemicals.
Von Gal received the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art’s Arthur Ross Award in 2012, and was the 2017 recipient of Guild Hall’s Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award for the Visual Arts. In addition to the Isamu Noguchi Award, von Gal will receive the NY School of Interior Design’s Green Design Award in 2018.
The Award will be presented at the Museum’s annual benefit, on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.
Previous recipients of the Isamu Noguchi Award include: 2014—Lord Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto; 2015—Jasper Morrison and Yoshio Taniguchi; 2016—Tadao Ando and Elyn Zimmerman; 2017—John Pawson and Hiroshi Senju.