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A Pile of Scrap Cardboard Inspired Frank Gehry's Iconic Collection

By Dwell @dwell

The story behind Frank Gehry's Easy Edges.

Throughout the sixties, furniture designers played around with cardboard, but the lightweight and durable nature of plastic was hard to top. Explorations of cardboard were waning, when, in the early seventies, Frank Gehry released the Easy Edges collection.

The starting point was a pile of corrugated cardboard Gehry saw on the street outside of his office. "I began to play with it, to glue it together, and to cut it into shapes with a hand saw and a pocket knife," he later said. While other designers had been using single pieces of cardboard reinforced with folds, slots, or tabs, Gehry's innovations resulted in a sturdy, long-lasting material. Glued together, the alternating strips of corrugated cardboard offered new possibilities for cardboard furniture.

When Easy Edges launched in 1972, the collection garnered immediate attention. The centerpiece was the Wiggle Side Chair. Its twisted lines with a previously inconceivable construction technique signified a striking departure from the cardboard furniture designed in the preceding years.

Overnight, Gehry became a sensation. But, instead of enjoying his success, Gehry shut himself up for weeks. The high price point of the Easy Edges collection wasn't in line with his beliefs in affordable furniture. He was concerned that his furniture designs would overshadow his work as an architect. Despite their critical reception, Gehry stopped production in 1974.


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