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By Linda Hales

Frank Gehry’s appliance is about as iconographic as his architecture.

Swirls and curls of maple ribbons masquerade as dining chairs. Ripples of agenda accept been cut and alert into a massive throne. Smooth hunks of artificial in brownish gray are shaped like a sofa, or is that a archetypal of the Guggenheim Bilbao? A blooper of ablaze aluminum has been draped over a tubular frame, as if annihilation added is appropriate to authorize as a chair.

Visitors to “The Appliance of Frank Gehry” exhibition, which opens Wednesday at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, will accept added than a ages to contemplate these abnormal but absolutely anatomic structures. The appearance was organized by the Corcoran College of Art and Architectonics as a accompaniment to “Frank Gehry, Architect: Designs for Museums,” aperture Oct. 2. Four adjoining apartment will be abounding with models of Gehry museums, and the Hemicycle Gallery commonly adherent to apprentice assignment will affectation 17 chairs, tables, stools and a bank by Gehry. All are in assembly at four of the best adventuresome names in appliance design: Knoll, Vitra, Heller and Emeco.

In appliance as in architecture, Gehry’s forms baffle convention. Chairs may be squiggles or askance cubes. Materials are unexpected, and processes experimental. Layers of corrugated agenda are alert calm and sculpted like solid wood. Strips of copse are alloyed into New Age wicker. Aluminum has been rendered bendable abundant to drape, while molded plastics with brownish burnish affiance account afterwards sacrificing glamour.

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Architects accept a abundant history as artefact designers, from Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Michael Graves. Sir Norman Foster does faucets. Santiago Calatrava has advised a attic lamp. No active artist has broader domiciliary name-recognition than Gehry, but articles advised by him accept remained scarce. There is a Gehry watch for Fossil, packaged in a box of corrugated agenda and brushed aluminum. A bandage of aperture handles for Valli & Valli was appear this spring. Gehry additionally has been asked to architectonics a World Cup hockey bays and a vodka canteen for Wyborowa. And he is alive with MIT’s Media Lab to architectonics a car.

Not aggregate he touches turns to titanium. In the 1980s, a fish-handled teakettle for Alessi flopped. On a appointment to Washington a few years ago, Gehry sketched his kettle on a napkin and acknowledged, “I admired it, but it didn’t sell.”

The Corcoran has kept its focus on Gehry’s chairs. The best designs are the aboriginal ones.

Easy Edges, the acclaimed agenda collection, is a backward ’60s classic. Conceived and produced from 1969 to 1973, it was Gehry’s attack to actualize a simple, affordable Volkswagen of furniture. (At the time, he was capsule his home in corrugated metal with touches of plywood and alternation link.) Gehry alert 60 layers of agenda together, afresh cut out simple, sculptural chairs and tables. The pieces awash easily, at prices of $35 to $100. But Gehry, who afraid about actuality “marketed like Yves Saint Laurent,” alleged the activity off.

The Building of Avant-garde Art’s Architectonics Encyclopedia annal a additional agenda collection, artier and costlier, alleged Rough Edges (1979-82). A decade later, the Vitra appliance aggregation in Germany accustomed that the backward ’60s would be avant-garde again. The aggregation reissued four items from the Easy Edges collection. Those 60 layers of laminated agenda now amount $1,045 to $4,440.

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Gehry aboriginal experimented with angled copse at the allurement of Vitra (for whom he created the Vitra Architectonics Building in Weil am Rhein, Germany). The activity ultimately came to accomplishment with Knoll, one of America’s arch architectonics companies. To advance copse above the 19th-century innovations of Michael Thonet or the 20th-century designers Aalto and Charles Eames, Gehry asked for a appropriate branch abutting to his architectonics studio. For three years, he and Knoll formed to bandage attenuate copse strips and angle them into a bassinet braid aggressive by angel crates. Success was accomplished afterwards 120 prototypes.

Knoll launched the Gehry Accumulating in 1992, with a book and exhibition organized by the Montreal Building of Decorative Arts. Before the appearance could admission at the American Craft Building in New York, the Building of Avant-garde Art raced to put prototypes on display. By the time the aboriginal -to-be barter continued out on a Gehry armchair and ottoman ($3,785 today), the accumulating was actuality hailed as an burning classic.

Gehry’s afterwards appliance designs, afterwards his acceptability as an artist absolutely took off with the aperture of the titanium-clad Guggenheim Bilbao Building in 1997, accept been absorbing but not as breathtaking. Before the Conde Nast Cafeteria opened in New York, with its talked-about bank of titanium, Gehry advised a metal armchair for Knoll. Titanium was too expensive. So the aglow artful had to be rendered in casting aluminum. The chair, alleged FOG afterwards Gehry’s initials, weighs 19 pounds and sells for about $970, which makes it added like a Mercedes than a VW Bug.

Gehry’s designs for Heller and Emeco, launched aftermost bounce at the Milan Appliance Fair, can’t advice but ride on the publicity for his anew completed Walt Disney Concert Hall. Heller, which is accepted for almost affordable artificial artist chairs ($200 to $1,300), arrive Gehry to do a accumulation of indoor-outdoor accoutrement in resin. The forms comedy aboveboard off Gehry’s buildings, and that’s their amusing appeal. In a documentary fabricated for aggregation buyer Alan Heller, Gehry appears in a flat amidst by dozens of sculpted blocks of wood, anniversary a archetypal for his set of post-post-postmodern garden furniture. The models would accept fabricated a acute affectation on their own. Only three were beatific to the Corcoran.

The latest attack to actualize the Volkswagen of appliance is the armchair alleged SuperLight from Emeco. The Hanover, Pa., aggregation is accepted broadly for a World War II-era Navy abysmal armchair that has become an figure of avant-garde design. Gehry ordered the armchair for a bagel boutique he advised as a adolescent architect. And his new offices are furnished with athletic Emeco chairs adapted a few years ago by Philippe Starck.

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The Gehry armchair for Emeco is little added than a anatomy with advertisement skin. At 6 1/2 pounds, it’s actual portable. At $350, it’s adequately affordable. Factory buyer Gregg Buchbinder asked filmmaker Eames Demetrios, the grandson of Charles Eames, to certificate Gehry’s chair. Visitors will be able to accretion acumen into the accomplishment by examination Demetrios’s “Ping Pong” as they access the exhibit.

The Corcoran has focused on architectonics as art. Above the building walls, architectonics is commerce. This summer, the awning of the ultra-trendy Architectonics Within Reach archive featured a quartet of musicians built-in on SuperLight chairs at the new Gehry bandage carapace in Chicago’s Millennium Park. The retailer’s bulletin to admirers was unabashed: Love the architect. Buy his chair.

Washingtonians accept no bouncing metal accomplishments to set off the appliance designs at the Corcoran. But that may not matter. Gehry already likened designing a new armchair to “trying to acquisition the acceptation of activity while continuing on one foot.”

At the Corcoran’s show, visitors may artlessly angle in awe.

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