Wiggle Side Chair

Frank Gehry

Design: 1972
Production: 1972
Manufacturer: Easy Edges, Inc., New York
Size: 85 x 42.5 x 60; seat height 45.5 cms
Material: corrugated cardboard, fiberboard,
round timber

Cardboard furniture came on the scene during the sixties as a cheap and light alternative to traditional furniture. At that time attempts were made to reinforce the support of the single-layer cardboard offered by using folds, tabs, slots, and other devices. Nevertheless, cardboard was not able to compete against plastic, which was just as light. Frank O. Gehry discovered a process that ensured cardboard furniture-making a new burst of popularity. “One day I saw a pile of corrugated cardboard outside of my office – the material which I prefer for building architecture models – and I began to play with it, to glue it together and to cut it into shapes with a hand saw and a pocket knife.”1 It was thus possible to transform massive blocks of cardboard into cardboard sculptures.
Gehry named this material Edge Board: it consisted of glued layers of corrugated cardboard running in alternating directions, and in 1972 he introduced a series of cardboard furniture under the name “Easy Edges.” The “Easy Edges” were extraordinarily sturdy, and due to their surface quality, had a noise-reducing effect in a room. The design theorist Victor Papanek, one of the first to address the ecological responsibility of designers, praised Edge Board as a useful application of a packing material to furniture. The “Easy Edges” were a great success and brought Gehry overnight fame as a furniture designer, but at the same time he was into a role he did not like. Even sales prices were no longer consistent with Gehry’s basic idea of offering furniture to suit anyone’s pocketbook. “ I started to feel threatened. I closed myself off for weeks at a time in a room to rethink my life. I decided that I was an architect, not a furniture designer … and I simply stopped doing it.”2 Gehry made an international breakthrough as an architect in the late seventies, among other things with the design of his private residence in Santa Monica, California, in 1978. Since 1986 Vitra AG has reproduced four models of his “Easy Edges.” MK

[1] Frank O. Gehry, quoted in Marilyn Hoffmann, “Liberated Design,” The Christian Science Monitor, Boston, April 19, 1972.
[2] Frank O.Gehry, quoted in Frank Gehry and his Architecture, exhibition
catalogue (Walker Art Center, 1989), 64

Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry Wiggle Side Chair