Isamu Noguchi was born in Los Angeles in 1904 as the illegitimate son of Yone Noguchi, a Japanese poet, and Leonie Gilmour, an American writer who edited much of his work. It was the cultural divide between his parents, between East and West, between two distinct histories of art and thought, that engaged him his entire life. He was a sculptor, designer, landscape architect, and craftsman whose artistic career spanned six decades, from the 1920s onward.
In 1917 Noguchi began a training as cabinetmaker in Chigasaki/Japan. In 1918 he moved to the United States. His mother sent him to Indiana to attend a progressive boarding school. After high school Noguchi enrolled in Columbia University to study medicine, while at the same time taking sculpture classes on the Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City.
Afterwards he founded his own studio. While in Manhattan he became acquainted with the work of the Surrealists and with contemporary abstract sculpture. These interests conducted him to Paris on a Guggenheim Fellowship, where he met and worked with the great modernist sculptor, Constantin Brâncuşi.
Between 1930 and 1932 Noguchi studied brush painting in China and pottery with Jinmatsu Uno in Japan.
Isamu Noguchi was considered as a all-round talent and designed among sculptures, furniture, lighting, interior, also public squares and gardens. So he created as an architect the Billy Rose Sculpture Garden, Israel Museum, Jerusalem(1960-1965) and designed a bridge in Peace Park, Hiroshima, Japan (1951-1952).
Furthermore he created abstract sculptures consisted of bronze, granite, marble and wood.
As a designer Noguchi collaborated with the Herman Miller company creating the "Coffee Table" (1945). Among chairs and tables (for Knoll International) he designed the famous lamp "Akari" (1952).
His final project was the design for Moerenuma Park, a 400 acre (1.6 km²) park for Sapporo, Japan. Created in 1988 shortly before his death, it was completed and opened to the public in 2004.
In 1984 Isamu Noguchi received the honorary doctorate of the Columbia University and in 1987 the National Medal of Arts from the president of the United States.