Cooper Hewitt says...

Takenobu Igarashi’s prolific career has spanned nearly five decades, encompassing design that ranges from graphic, product and environmental to more recent sculptures. Igarashi graduated from Tama Art University in 1968, and completed postgraduate studies at California University in 1969. In the early stages of his career, Igarashi was enamored with the elements of communication and the simplicity of letterforms.

Throughout the 1970s, Igarashi created posters and trademarks for various American and Japanese clients and continued his pursuit of lucid forms and type. His posters for UCLA, TCP Corp Jazz Festival and Zen Environmental Design have become icons of Igarashi’s oeuvre for their precision and sculptural qualities. Igarashi also achieved prominence through his designs for various international publications, including a special issue of IDEA Magazine, Graphic Designers on the West Coast and three volumes of World Trademarks and Logotypes.

In the 1980s, Igarashi began to collaborate with other influential graphic designers, including Massimo Vignelli on the OUN logo and Pentagram on posters for Polaroid. It was also in this period that Igarashi started experimenting with three-dimensional objects and graphics. Citing influences like Max Bill and Herbert Bayer, he created façade signs, shopping bags and his celebrated aluminum Alphabet sculptures. He also designed several objects for The Museum of Modern Art, namely a calendar with three dimensional numerals, which he produced for eight consecutive years. In the late 1980s, and early 1990s, Igarashi began exploring the long history of Japanese crafts and started to work with local manufacturers to create manifold products, such as clocks, telephones, lamps, ceramics etc., as well as sculptural work exploring organic forms through stone, metal and wood. As Igarashi has explained, “my approach to design has always wavered between my wish to do something useful for the society and my desire to create something beautiful with my own hands.”1

1 Takenobu Igarashi, Takenobu Igarashi, “Introduction,” (Edition Axel Menges: Stuttgart, London): 8.