31 Jan 2019
19 May 2019


Musée des Arts Décoratifs et du Design - MADD - BORDEAUX


The madd-bordeaux is dedicating an exhibition to a type of lighting, which has become through history, part of the cultural identity of Japan, and whose production has been acknowledged "traditional craft" by the ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry: the chōchin are those lanterns, composed of a bamboo structure covered by paper. Their lightness seems to condemn them to an ephemeral life. Through objects, engravings, photos and movies, lent by various French and foreign institutions, the exhibition presents the fabrication of these lanterns, the evolution of their use, their place in Japan mythology and rituals, and their adoption by designers since the 1950s.


"As movable as butterflies" said the American designer Isamu Noguchi about his akari, a collection of about a hundred of lights, designed from 1950 onwards and produced by the famous chōchin maker, Ozeki & Co à Gifu, based in Gifu, Japan. The akari, (light and lightness in Japanese) met a great commercial success first in the United States and later in Europe, and especially in France. Following Noguchi’s paths, many designers have adopted the same technique these past decades or have solely used washi paper as a structural element for the lights they designed. The exhibition shows these different interpretations of a traditional type of light.


Part of "Japonismes 2018: les âmes en resonance", the exhibition will mark the end of this rich series of events, celebrating the 160th anniversary of the diplomatic relationships, between France and Japan and the 150th anniversary of the start of the Meiji Era (1868-1912). From July 2018 to February 2019, this extensive cultural season is meant to showcase the beauty of Japanese culture in France, through exhibitions and shows in France’s main cities.


General information

Musée des Arts Décoratifs et du Design - madd
39, rue Bouffard - 33 000 Bordeaux 

Opening hours
11 am - 6 pm
Closed on Tuesdays and on holidays  



Curator : Étienne Tornier


Lola Véniel / lola@claudinecolin.com

3 rue de Turbigo 75001 Paris
T. +33 1 42 72 60 01