See more objects with the color lightgrey or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline


  • Work on this object began.





  • You found it!

ToFU Lamp

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 featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled ToFU and Honey.

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

  • Honey-Pop Chair
  • layered paper, partially glued, cut, and fanned-open accordion style; seat....
  • Mueum purchase from Friends of Product Design and Decorative Arts Fund....
  • 2008-6-1
  • Mini-Maglite Flashlight
  • machined anodized aluminum alloy, krypton lightbulb.
  • Gift of Max and Barbara Pine.
  • 1994-59-14

Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.

  • Sidewall, LED Wallpaper
  • machine-printed silver solution and led lights on paper support.
  • Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper Hewitt....
  • 2014-51-1
  • Palette Brooch
  • dichroic mirror, corian, silver.
  • Promised gift to the Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian....
  • 7067.67.2016

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; Designed by Tokujin Yoshioka (Japanese, b. 1967); Manufactured by Yamagiwa Corporation (Japan); Japan; molded and cut methacrylate resin, aluminum, halogen light source; H x W x D: 29.5 x 36.5 x 7.6 cm (11 5/8 x 14 3/8 x 3 in.); Gift of Yamagiwa USA Corp.; 2010-36-1

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=ToFU Lamp |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=27 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>