Lines, Tennis Balls and Chairs, Oh My!

TIMES STAFF WRITER

There is still time to peek into the future of furniture, at least the future as designed by 17 students from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. The same student-designed pieces now on display at a gallery in the warehouse district of downtown L.A. were shown last month at New York's International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

The "Furniture & Lighting Exhibit" includes more than 20 pieces--chairs, tables, a bookcase, desk, bench, sofa and lighting fixtures.

Here is just one student's vision: Yuen Tung Chiang was inspired by an infomercial on television--the one about sucking the air out of a plastic bag for storage purposes. So, he designed a vacuum-storage system chair with a see-through plastic seat and back, or "pillows," that slide onto steel tubing frames. All sorts of items can be stored inside the inflated pillows. Suggestions from the creator include candy, paper and tennis balls.

The chair and more are on view from 5-8 p.m. through Friday and from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, with an additional closing reception from 7-10 p.m. Saturday at Gallery 1D, 811 Traction Ave., downtown L.A. For details, call (626) 396-2380 or visit http://www.artcenter.edu/furniture.

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Here is the Wright stuff for a self-styled architectural tour in quiet celebration of Frank Lloyd Wright's 134th birthday. (He was born June 8, 1867, and died in 1959.) "Finding the Wright Places in California and Arizona" is, as the title suggests, "a book for Frank Lloyd Wright fans."

Author Henry J. Michel said he became interested in the architect a decade ago after becoming a docent volunteer at Wright's Hollyhock House, the 1920s landmark that is being renovated at Barnsdall Art Park in Los Angeles.

This guidebook makes for easy touring of 22 selected Wright sites, with maps and information on each locale.

Michel's book (Michel Publishing Services, $11.50) is 103 pages, with 17 "cameo stories"--one-page vignettes about Wright--and concentrates on works in the Southwest and from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. It can be purchased in bookstores or by e-mailing http://onepalmbks@aol.com.

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Glass fanciers take note or be shattered. "Glass of the Avant-Garde: From Vienna Secession to Bauhaus" opens at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in Manhattan on Aug. 21. The 186 pieces from the early 20th century will range from one-of-a-kind glass with iridescent hues by the glass house of Lotz Witwe to mass-produced glassware by Wilhelm Wagenfeld and other Bauhaus designers. The show will run through Feb. 24.

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Candace Wedlan can be reached at candace.wedlan@latimes.com.

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