Low White Fish Lamp, 1984. Collection
of Fred and Winter Hoffman and Frank and Berta
|FISH AND SNAKE
The 1983 introduction of Colorcore, a laminate
product from the Formica Company, was launched with
an invitation to designers to illustrate the
product's distinctive properties. Gehry elected to
create a lamp that would emphasize the translucency
of the laminate's integral coloration. The
serendipitous discovery of splintered patterns came
after several failed attempts at a design in which
one lamp was accidentally broken. Gehry translated
the scalelike pattern of the jagged pieces into fish
and snake forms. Nearly three dozen lamps were
eventually produced by New City Editions.
The fish form first appeared in Gehry's unrealized
design for the Smith Residence in 1981, and it
continues to be a recurring motif in his work.
Initially a gently mocking response to the postmodern
penchant for adapting classical forms, its continued
presence is a symbolic allusion to childhood memories
and a testament to the functional appeal of the
form's structural flexibility.