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In-Ei Mendori Lamp

This is a Lamp. It was designed by Issey Miyake and manufactured by Artemide S.p.A.. It is dated 2011 and we acquired it in 2013. Its medium is recycled pet plastic, die-cast painted aluminum (base), methacrylate, led light source. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Japanese designer Issey Miyake is known primarily for fashion design and his explorations of textiles and garment forms. With the In-Ei series of lamps, a collaboration with the Italian lighting manufacturer, Artemide, Miyake explores light, materials, and industrial production. In-Ei means “shadow,” “shade,” or “nuance” in Japanese. The Mendori lamp is one of nine collapsible table, floor, and hanging lamps created by Miyake and his Reality Lab research and development team, based on mathematical principles and algorithmic design. The In-Ei series is an extension of Miyake’s 132 5 clothing project, which starts with a piece of cloth that is manipulated through folding, pressing, and heating into a two-dimensional form that can be extended or “unfolded” into a three-dimensional garment (the museum acquired several examples in early 2013). By pulling the garment—or, in this case, the Mendori lamp—the form extends like an accordion, spreading into a three-dimensional spiraling form along the folds in its paper-like body. No internal framework or support is required to maintain the structure, and it can be collapsed back to its flat two-dimensional configuration for storage when not in use. The structural folds that make this possible were devised with computer scientist, Jun Mitani, an expert in mathematical methods for creating three-dimensional structures with folded paper—akin to origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.
According to Miyake, “In my projects, I never start from form, but always from the material. . . It is by starting from the available material that I ‘compose’. When I don’t have the material I want, I try inventing it.”[1] The lamps are made from an innovative regenerated fiber derived from recycled PET bottles, the result of new industrial techniques that cut energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent. Through a process devised by Miayke and his team that involves folding, heating, and pressing, the resulting resilient material combines an unusual capacity for diffusing light with a texture similar to Japanese washi paper. For additional environmental sustainability, Miyake and Artemide chose an LED light source, which requires less energy than incandescent or halogen bulbs.
At the time of proposed acquisition, the museum’s collection includes textiles and works on paper by Miyake. In-Ei Mendori represents his exploration into lighting design and would expand the museum’s representation of Miyake’s range of work across curatorial departments. The addition of this lamp would also update the museum’s Artemide holdings, which largely consist of incandescent lighting from the mid-to-late 20th century. The manufacturer is offering two examples of the lamp so that the museum can exhibit one extended and one folded.
[1] Salvator-John A. Liotta, “Light Algorithms,” Domus, May 28, 2012,

This object was donated by Artemide S.p.A.. It is credited Gift of Artemide.

  • Autofold Cane (USA)
  • rubber, elastic cord, aluminum, iron, reflective tape.
  • Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, 306619.10.
  • 14.2012.9

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 2.5 x 48 x 44 cm (1 in. x 18 7/8 in. x 17 5/16 in.)

Cite this object as

In-Ei Mendori Lamp; Designed by Issey Miyake (Japanese, b. 1935); Manufactured by Artemide S.p.A. (Italy); Italy; recycled pet plastic, die-cast painted aluminum (base), methacrylate, led light source; H x W x D: 2.5 x 48 x 44 cm (1 in. x 18 7/8 in. x 17 5/16 in.); Gift of Artemide; 2013-46-2-a/g

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Making Design: Recent Acquisitions.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=In-Ei Mendori Lamp |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=29 May 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>