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Gehry's long shot scores.

His idea for flexible bentwood furniture was impossible, he was told. But Frank Gehry rebounded with a power play incorporating a dynamic new use of material, inventive technology and matchless style.

One of the most innovative accomplishments in furniture design in recent history was unveiled at Pacific Design Center last month in Los Angeles. The Bentwood Collection, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, was introduced during WestWeek by The Knoll Group. Five chairs, two tables and an ottoman were to remain on exhibit until Apr. 8, then tour North America for the next two years.

These are the most significant new chair lines in a decade, the result of an imaginative manipulation of material and a brilliant exercise in problem-solving. Any one is a fitting addition to Knoll's line of seating classics which includes Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair and Eero Saarinen's pedestal chair.

Made of long, thin laminated maple veneer strips bent like pretzels, the furniture is lightweight - each chair weighs less than eight pounds - and comfortable. Each is natural and unpretentious in appearance, but extraordinary nevertheless. Gehry appears to have pushed the strength and resilient qualities of veneer ply to the limit.

After the furniture departs the Design Center, the exhibit, "Frank Gehry: New Bentwood Furniture Designs," will begin its tour Apr. 30 at the American Craft Museum in New York. Appearances at the Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, the St. Louis Art Museum and other major museums in the United States and Canada will follow.
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Title Annotation:architect Frank Gehry defies odds by designing flexible bentwood furniture
Author:Garet, Barbara
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Words:249
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