The Noguchi Museum in New York has named Tokyo-based industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa and American landscape designer Edwina von Gal as the recipients of the 2018 Isamu Noguchi Award. Founded in 2014, the annual award program recognizes individuals who share the late Japanese-American landscape architect and museum's founder Isamu Noguchi’s vision for "innovation, global consciousness, and commitment to East-West cultural exchange," according to a press release. Fukasawa and von Gal will be presented with the awards on May 22 at the Noguchi Museum’s annual benefit.
A graduate of Tama Art University in Tokyo, Fukasawa is known for his simple and minimalist designs. After graduation, he moved to the U.S. where, between 1989 and 1996, he found himself deeply inspired by Noguchi's works. In 2003, he founded Naoto Fukasawa Design, and is currently serving as director of the 21_21 Design Sight museum (designed by Tadao Ando, Hon. FAIA) and the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Tokyo. He is Muji's creative adviser, an art director at Maruni Wood Industry, and a designer for Geiger and Herman Miller. Fukasawa is the designer behind Muji's wall-mounted CD player, Plus Minus Zero humidifier, and KDDI's Inforbar and Neon cellular phones, all of which are part of MoMA's permanent collection. In 2007, Fukasawa received the honorary title of Royal Designer for Industry from the Royal Society of Arts in London.
Von Gal established her eponymous landscape design firm in 1984. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with many architects, including Frank Gehry, FAIA, Richard Meier, FAIA, and Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA, and is the author of Fresh Cuts: Unexpected Arrangements with Branches, Buds, and Blooms (Artisan, 1997) that received the Quill and Trowel Award for garden writing in 1998. In 2008, she created the Azuero Earth Project to promote conservation of wildlife and reforestation on Panama’s Azuero Peninsula. In 2013, she founded nonprofit Perfect Earth Project to raise awareness of the dangers of toxic gardening chemicals on humans, animals, and the environment. She won the 2012 Arthur Ross Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art and the 2017 Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award for the Visual Arts from Guild Hall. This year, she will also receive the Green Design Award from the New York School of Interior Design.
Fukasawa and von Gal join the rank of previous awardees, including Norman Foster and Hiroshi Sugimoto (2014); Jasper Morrison and Yoshio Taniguchi, Hon. FAIA, (2015); Tadao Ando and Elyn Zimmerman (2016); and John Pawson and Hiroshi Senju (2017).