Frank Gehry fish lamp valued at $90,000 with Bonhams

Bonhams has announced that its October 7 auction of 20th Century Decorative Arts will star a fish lamp designed by architect Frank Gehry.

Frank Gehry fish Lamp
The creation of Gehry's fish lamps was made possible by the development of a new material from Formica

The fish is a recurring archetype in Gehry's career, as his chosen symbol of nature that has appeared throughout his work. The rare and early lamp, from 1984, is valued at $70,000-90,000.

Gehry is responsible for some of the world's most recognisable buildings, such as the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the MIT Ray and Maria State Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He was famously described by Vanity Fair magazine as "the most important architect of our age".

As stated by Gehry himself, the fish portrays "a perfect form".  The production of his fish series was made possible by the development of materials, particularly a type of plastic laminate produced by Formica called called ColourCore.

The material allowed Gehry to create the sculptural lamps, with light glowing through the scales of the fish.

"Artists and architects love to explore new materials, so when I showed Frank ColorCore he started playing around with it, then threw it on the floor," recalls Gusan Grant Lewin, former creative director of Formica.

"The material broke at the edges into shards which resembled fish scale. It also was translucent. The fish lamp was born."

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