• Seeing Sori Yanagi
    Tiffany Lambert

Sori Yanagi, Olympic Torch Holder, 1972 Winter Olympics, opening ceremony torch relay, Hideki Takada lights the cauldron, Sapporo, Japan. Courtesy of Kishimoto/IOC.

Japanese designer Sori Yanagi played a prominent role in mobilizing the modern design movement in postwar Japan, imbuing everyday industrial objects with a Japanese craft sensibility. Yet the full extent of work is neither widely known, nor captured in a single resource. Over a career that spanned more than sixty years, Sori Yanagi's influence on the everyday world can be witnessed in an array of objects, from stools, furniture, and flatware to subway stations, cars, and an Olympic torch. Through Yanagi's respective works, exhibitions, and writings, along with an introductory essay by the author, this publication offers a new examination of his legacy, by juxtaposing selected designs with relevant works from the Mingei movement (promoted by his father, the celebrated philosopher Soetsu Yanagi) and opening a larger dialogue surrounding a design philosophy that continues to be reinterpreted by contemporary artists and designers.

Tiffany Lambert is a curator, editor, writer, and critic based in New York. Since establishing an independent practice in 2009, she has worked as the managing editor of PIN–UP magazine and organized exhibitions at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Her writing has been published internationally, including appearances in the New York Times, Domus, Artsy, Metropolis, and Disegno. Lambert has been a contributing author to Beautiful Users (Princeton Architectural Press, 2014) and to Bloomsbury's Design Encyclopedia (2015), and she is helping to develop a forthcoming monograph on graphic designer Milton Glaser. She is a guest critic and has lectured at the Rhode Island School of Design and the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Lambert holds an MFA in design criticism from the SVA and bachelor’s degrees in art and design and neuroscience from the University of Michigan.