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ToFU Lamp, 2000

This is a lamp. It was designed by Tokujin Yoshioka and manufactured by Yamagiwa Corporation. It is dated 2000 and we acquired it in 2010. Its medium is molded and cut methacrylate resin, aluminum, halogen light source. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

The ToFU lamp is fabricated by means of a “delicate manufacturing and cutting technique” somewhat similar to the process used to make the Japanese soy-based food of the same name. Here, methacrylate resin is poured into a mold, allowed to set, and then cut to create a perfectly symmetrical square form into which a halogen light is inserted on one side. Tokujin Yoshioka’s design fully exploits the light conducting potential of the material. When turned on, the light is transmitted through the acrylic and illuminates the edges of the slab. The material seems to fade into the surrounding space, and takes on the appearance of a glowing square of light. In the spare form of this design, Yoshioka combines the jewel-like polymer with a structural simplicity that is rooted in Japanese aesthetic. In contrast to a Western emphasis on utility and shape, this functional object seems equally concerned with the conceptual interplay between the object and the space surrounding it—with the presence, and absence, of light and form.
Yoshioka first gained recognition for his interiors and installation design, but has since expanded his work to include furniture and lighting design. Yoshioka attended the Kuwasawa Design School, graduating in 1986, and has collaborated with two major 20th-century Japanese designers: Shiro Kuramata and Issey Miyake. In 1988, at the age of 21, Yoshioka was put in charge of Miyake’s shop designs. In 1992, Yoshioka became a freelance designer and established his own studio in 2000. In 2007, he received the Design Miami / Designer of the Year Award, for his technically innovative work, “developing imaginative methods of production completely unique in the field.”
The museum acquired Yoshioka’s Honey-Pop and Baby Honey-Pop chairs in 2008 and has been keenly interested in acquiring examples of his groundbreaking work in a variety of media. ToFU represents one of this designer’s innovative explorations of modern materials and technology and helps expand the museum’s collection of contemporary lighting.

This object was donated by Yamagiwa Corporation. It is credited Gift of Yamagiwa USA Corp..

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 29.5 x 36.5 x 7.6 cm (11 5/8 x 14 3/8 x 3 in.)

Cite this object as

ToFU Lamp, 2000. molded and cut methacrylate resin, aluminum, halogen light source. Gift of Yamagiwa USA Corp.. 2010-36-1.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=ToFU Lamp, 2000 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 November 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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