Frank Gehry b. 1929

"Your best work is your expression of yourself." Frank Gehry could be forgiven for resting on his considerable laurels, but the Pritzker Prize-winning architect had long ago found other avenues to creative expression—aside from his widely lauded buildings. Decades before Gehry's titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao turned him into a cultural star, the Canadian-American architect had been delving into industrial design, most notably introducing Easy Edges in 1972, a sculptural series of chairs and tables comprised of a material he commonly used for his architectural models: corrugated cardboard. Gehry's application of an ordinary, abundantly available and lightweight material, exactingly layered for optimal strength, was an esthetically iconic collection which imaginatively foreshadowed the design community's looming preoccupation with sustainability and technological experimentation. His bent plywood series of tables and chairs for Knoll presented him with yet another chance to explore material possibilities, yielding a suite of visually striking and techniclly innovative furniture pieces, seemingly woven from ribbons of lightweight plywood—while his 2004 collaboration with Heller resulted in the Gehry Outdoor Collection, a series of sculptural volumes, each realized in a single piece of injection molded polyethylene, that admirably fulfilled Heller's request for "furniture as unique and beautiful as his buildings."