Asian Inspiration: Rice Paper Lamps

Rice paper lamps have become a popular trend in later years and exciting products from brands like Vitra and Hay has revived the classic, Asian trend. Rice paper lamps are elegant, light and comes in many different varieties. Lamps made from rice paper is an easy way to give your home an Asian feel and rice paper lamps can be used in most rooms.


Rice paper lamps have existed in thousands of years and the lamps originate from China. These paper lamps were used by Buddhist monks in China, during the Han-dynasty around 150 years b.c.
The lamps were used for lighting up the halls of the temple and were decorated with scripture to honor the gods.

After their invention, the lamps became widespread in all of Asia and rice paper shades are some of the first examples of lamp shades ever. Still today, lanterns of rice paper are used for ceremonies and festivals where the lanterns are sent to the sky with wishes of prosperity and good fortune.

In the 80’s, the rice paper lamps had a renaissance and became widely popular, especially in Europe. The light material and Asian style had won the hearts of the Europeans, but was quickly replaced by industrial and vibrant designs in alloy, Plexiglas and steel.

After 40 years without great interest for the Asian design, rice paper lamps are finally becoming a part of modern interior design. Popular brands like Hay and Vitra have created some impressively beautiful lamps from rice paper, to give your home a stylish, Asian feel.


If you’re looking for originality and heritage, you should choose a lamp from Vitra . Vitra is produced in Japan, using the original methods and materials to create original design series.

Vitra created the lamp-series Akari , combining Asian heritage with modern design. The series was created by the Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi and the lamps are made by hand in Japan from original Washi paper.
Noguchi’s vision is to hide the sharpness of electrical lighting and convert it into imitated sunlight.

Akari 10A is an extremely popular and decorative floor lamp from Vitra. The lamp consists of three legs in steel and an elegant, curvy rice paper shade. The details are made from polished bamboo, which gives the lamp a beautiful and warm exterior.

Vitra Akari 10A works perfectly with natural colours and wood.

In the same series, you will find 26A which is a classic pendant in rice paper. This elegant lamp is an example of discrete and classic design, fitting for any occasion. The lamp hangs like a cloud in the air and like the rest of the Akari-series, the lamp gives off a warm and muffled light. The pendant is handmade of course, giving it an original and untidy look that makes it very charming.

The Vitra Akari pendant is available in different sizes and gives off a warm and nice light
The most eye-catching and comprehensive lamp from Vitra is the Akari BB3-33S . This floor lamp is both elegant and impressive. The shade imitates a “croissant” form with a belt of polished bamboo in the middle. The stand is made from steel and bamboo, coming together in a natural and organic design. The lamp works very well with big plants and might just be your new favorite piece of furniture in the living room.

Vitra Akari BB3-33S is an elegant and different rice paper lamps with bamboo details


The wildly popular, Danish brand HAY is also working with bringing back the rice paper lamps and the result is quite impressive. The lamps themselves are made of metal and plastic which create more durable lamps and provides a different unique light.

The Nelson-series is created by designer George Nelson for HAY and is a more modern take on the traditional, Chinese lamps. If you don’t like the original, handmade look, this is the minimalist approach to rice paper lamps.

The simple and precise Nelson Ball Bubble is an obvious choice for the stylish and lightly decorated homes. The perfect dimensions and chalk-white color makes it a piece of eye-candy, whether it is on or off.

The Nelson Ball Bubble is perfect for light rooms, with dark details

A more special, but just as elegant pendant, is the Cigar lamp from the Nelson-series. This elongated pendant has the same design as the Ball Bubble, but stretched in a cigar-like shape. Nelson Cigar Bubble works great in corners or in a combination with other Nelson lamps.

The Nelson Cigar Bubble is a modern classic and blends in easily in most homes

We hope you can use this guide for inspiration and to combine rice paper with your modern designs at home. You can learn more about the brands and see there whole collection here:



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