Tuesday, June 7, 2011

#183: Noguchi Sculpture Garden

This one's for all you design junkies. Yes, it's that Noguchi. As in the iconic Noguchi table:

photo from hermanmiller
One of the most knocked-off pieces of furniture

Isamu Noguchi was a renowned Japanese American artist and landscape architect whose works can be found around the world. In 1947 he began collaboration with the Herman Miller company, where he joined Charles Eames, George Nelson and Paul Laszlo to create a catalog considered to be "the most influential body of modern furniture ever produced."

The Noguchi Sculpture Garden (aka The California Scenario) in Costa Mesa is Noguchi's abstract representation of California's landscape. It features six pieces: Water Source, Water Use, Desert Land, Land Use, Energy Fountain, and The Forest Walk.

Cutting across this futuristic desert landscape is a stream with an unusual origin:

Water trickles from the top of a triangular sandstone mountain ("Water Source")

As the water travels farther from its source, the waterway's rock edge becomes thicker, suggesting the creation of a thick rich topsoil.

The stream ends at this pyramid ("Water Use"). Walk around the pyramid to get a different view from the side.

Around the pyramid are odd shaped rocks, a cactus dome, and places to sit and relax. It's a great place to enjoy a lunch if you're in the area or passing through. Read more about the design of the garden here.

The Noguchi Sculpture Garden is located at 611 Anton Blvd in a small hidden courtyard flanked by office buildings next door to a TGIFridays. I know... It's not exactly the kind of place you'd expect to find world class design. But that's also what makes it special. Being here, you feel like you've stumbled upon a secret place that no one knows about. Park for free in the front lot and walk behind the Comerica Building to find it.

Have you been to the Noguchi Sculpture Garden? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!


  1. Found Site while searching Los Angeles Mag great hikes or is it walks? Do you have anything about Brand Library? Thanks you

  2. Cool! That article 10 Great Walks is awesome. I haven't been to Brand Library--I just looked it up and bookmarked it... Looks fantastic! Thanks for the new find!

  3. Hi Jolene, just wanted to say I'm a huge fan of your blog and have been following for a while. I love reading about your outings, especially the more off the beaten path ones like this. Can't wait to check it out!

  4. Hi "Starting From Scratch," thanks so much for following my blog! Have a great time adventuring in L.A. and let me know what kind of treasures you find along the way :)