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Gabriel Wiese's cork chair
After finishing an apprenticeship as a cabinet maker in 1993, Germanartist Gabriel Wiese decided he didn’t want to make conventional furniture and instead set out to explore new uses for familiar materials. Ultimately, he discovered cork, a naturally shed tree bark that has been used on everything from bulletin boards and wall coverings to the more-familiar wine stopper. Using the latter like bricks, Wiese transforms the discarded corks into a collection of one-of-a-kind chairs. “They are as comfortable as they are functional,” says Lois Lambert, owner of the Los Angeles-based GALLERY OF FUNCTIONAL ART, where Wiese’s cork chairs start around $1,400. (310) 829-6990, galleryoffunctionalart.net