Though partially raised in Japan, Japanese-American Isamu Noguchi was born in Los Angeles, educated in New York City, and assisted sculptor Constantin Brancusi in Paris. During World War II Noguchi was investigated by the FBI for the crime of having Japanese blood, and after a fallacious deportation order was dispelled by the ACLU, Noguchi worked on projects for Herman Miller and sets for Martha Graham in the late '40s.
On a trip to Japan in the '50s, Noguchi met interior designer Isamu Kenmochi, who worked for Tokyo's Industrial Arts Research Institute. Together the two began collaborating on a range of furniture, creating some of the first true east/west design hybrids and launching the style known as "Japanese Modern."
In a country where most people sat on the floor, chairs were not exactly a must-have item, but Noguchi and Kenmochi gave the object their full attention. Kenmochi used some of the techniques from his iconic Round Rattan Chair (picture at left) to fashion the seat and back of the Bamboo Basket Chair (center), with Noguchi fashioning the legs and support from iron rods. Kenmochi later went on to design the currently-very-hard-to-find Kashiwado Chair (right), inspired by the spirit of a sumo wrestler.
All of these objects and more are currently on display in a show entitled "Design: Isamu Noguchi and Isamu Kenmochi" at the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York. The show runs through May of '08.