Colorcore fish lamp by Frank Gehry
Take a bite out of this fish. No one before or since Frank Gehry has tried this one, as far as I know. As we all know, Frank Gehry likes fish. In 1986 he made a glass fish for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden; and between 1989 and 1992 he produced stainless steel fish for Barcelona’s waterfront to celebrate the city’s hosting of the Olympics. Then there are his buildings themselves that so often resemble the scales and fins of marine life.
The show has passed, but it should come as no surprise that The Gagosian galleries in Beverly Hills (January 11 – February 14, 2013) and Paris (January 24 – March 9, 2013) showed a collection of his fish lamps. Gehry first produced these back in 1984, when he accidentally smashed a piece of the then pioneering new Formica material Colorcore. The plastic shards reminded the architect of fish scales, and so he set about creating a series of lights from the mess.
Detail from one of Gehry’s new fish lamps
So, why the new show? Well, as a statement issued by the gallery explains, “In 2012 Gehry decided to revisit his earlier ideas, and began working on an entirely new group of Fish Lamps. The resulting works, which will be divided between Gagosians Los Angeles and Paris, range in scale from lifesize to outsize, and the use of ColorCore is bolder, incorporating larger and more jagged elements.”
While this new school of Gehry fish may differ a little from its predecessors, they are still built around a metal core and set on a wooden frame, and still look as naturalistic, considered and charming as any of his buildings.
You can see other work of Gehry on my blog last week. It included Gehry’s cardboard collection like Easy Edges (1969 – 73) and Experimental Edges (1979 – 82) of chairs and tables carved from blocks of industrial corrugated cardboard.
Every year in July, Romance Writer’s of America call author’s of romance to attend their conference. Workshops all day, wine and dine all night, ice cream socials… and lots and lots and lots of old and new fabulous friends. This is where you’ll find me for the week, so be patient for answers to your questions and queries. Come back next week for Frank’s think-out-of-the-box buildings.
Cardboard wiggle side chair
Frank Gehry’s wiggle side chair was the beginning of his most pervasive innovative ideas. While I was working in the interior design department at Bloomingdale’s, New York, Mr. Gehry came in to demonstrate the strength and comfort of his side chair. He climbed up onto the seat and jumped up and down. All of us, interior designers and furniture salespeople, watched in horror, but he knew something we all didn’t know, because he was smiling the whole time. This most amazing chair was impervious to the tests.
Heaven. Are there any chairs in heaven? Wait a minute. I heard we get to bring our favorite chairs with us. Do you have a favorite chair? Oh, I know … an Archie Bunker
- Archie Bunker’s Chair from “All In the Family”
chair, right smack in the middle of heaven. The one that was right smack in the middle of his family room. I bet Archie is up there sitting around in his easy chair with its winged back, wide seat, arms and comfy soft cushions, poo pooing everyone looking his way. “You’re jealous, you want it, you can’t have it! It’s mine.”
Do you really want Archie’s chair? Wait, you haven’t seen anything yet. Reality is, way back when, chairs were only for royalty and the privileged. The rest of the crowd, if allowed to sit in the presence of a sovereign, sat on their buttocks … on the ground. I would have grabbed the first rock. The first sitting device had to be a rock. Then someone figured out how to shape natural material, like clay, like bamboo, like wood, and later even cardboard into a place to seat oneself.
King Tut, XVIII dynasty, circa 2630 B.C. A golden throne made of sheet gold worked around a wooden base and inlaid with faience, colored glass, lapis, lazuli, and calcite.
Frank Gehry's cardboard Wiggle Chair 1972
Did you know if you remained seated while others stand, you considered yourself superior? Chairs have changed dramatically since the first rock and so has our philosophy. I don’t know about you, but if someone is standing addressing me while I am seated, I will invite them to join me, or I will stand. This facilitates eye contact and offers equality.
Egyptian chairs were thrones, hard and stiff, the lesser folk serving the one on the throne, got to sit on stools. That’s a seat with no back. I love a good stool, how about you? You can place yourself wholly on it or part way on the edge, either way it is easy to get up and out.
Chairs are a different species. Did you read in my blog last week, about the stocky stockbroker and the White Castle table and bench? He couldn’t get in, imagine if he did, how would he get out?
Chairs change styles, sizes and scope of designs depending on the country and culture.
The famous Frank Gehry‘s layers of cardboard chair is here in this blog, namely “Wiggle Chair.” It was innovative then, and still today is most unusual. Gehry is an out-of-the-box thinker.
Yoda Easy Chair by Kenneth Cobonpue
The bamboo easy chair is an innovative, trendy 21st century design, reminiscent of Frank Gehry’s cardboard chair of the 70’s above. Mr. Gehry visited New York Bloomies when I was a young designer working in the design department. He demonstrated the strength of the chair by standing on it and jumping several times. The chair was impervious to the test.
More to come.
Do you have a favorite chair? Would you take it to heaven or perhaps to the beach?