Archives For frank lloyd wright

This weekend I went to Chicago with some friends so we could go on an architectural guided cruise down the Chicago River. We saw some amazing sights but one of my favorite things was to learn what buildings were designed by Mies van der Rohe. I know who he is for one reason only, this chair:

Recognize it? You have probably seen it in a million design images because it is a very popular chair to design with.

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So beautiful! Mies van der Rohe (pronounced meece van der row) lived until 1969 and is considered (along with my pal Frank Lloyd Wright) a master of modern architecture.

This is one of his buildings I saw this weekend. He is often credited with the phrase, “less is more.” That aesthetic is clear in this stark black building. I think it is interesting that Mies van der Rohe was an architect and furniture designer. I guess a lot of the modern architectes were but that doesn’t seem to be the case today, at least not that I know of.

Lately, I have been trying to teach myself about classic pieces of furniture and the Barcelona chair is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I will probably never own one considering they are around $2,000-$4,000 (reproductions are around $400-$700), but I still enjoy looking at them. Here are some of his other famously recognizable pieces:

Barcelona Couch

Barcelona Table

Barcelona Chair and Ottoman

Brno Chair

MR Lounge Chair

Want the look for less?

Overstock.com sells this Mies van der Rohe inspired bench for $121.99 (I’ve had this in my ‘shopping cart’ for a year… I love it but I don’t really need it).

A word about reproductions: I would happily accept any debate on this point but in my opinion reproductions and “inspired by” pieces like the bench above don’t harm anyone. I appreciate design but there is no way I’ll ever be able to afford a $2,000 chair. Reproductions are the only way I will ever be able to experience a famous designer’s work. Any thoughts?

Inside Taliesin West

October 20, 2012 — 1 Comment

A few weeks ago I showed you pictures from my trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Arizona. In that post I promised pictures of the interior in a later post, but then I forgot. Well, better late than never! These pictures are all poached (but they are properly sourced of course) because no interior pictures were allowed.

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This is the main living area. It is quite large because he lived there with his family, his architecture students, and frequent guests. The seating and the outer walls are all very low to the ground. Frank Lloyd Wright was only 5’6″ so he designed all his furniture and doorways to be the right size for him because he felt like his height was the perfect height (as a person that is also 5’6″ I felt perfectly comfortable there!). You can see in the last picture how low the ceilings are, imagine if that man in black on the far left actually stood up… there were a lot average height men feeling pretty good about themselves there!

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Frank Lloyd Wright was the originator of the open floor plan. He liked to have big parties where everyone could be in the same room all doing the same thing or off in little groupings.

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These pendant groupings were everywhere and I loved them! Such a cool look and I don’t think it would be too terribly hard to pull off in your own home.

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It’s hard to tell from the pictures but the “ceiling” is actually just canvas pulled over beams. It is a very tent like atmosphere. He built gutters inside so that rain water wouldn’t ruin the carpet. Two things I loved in this room were the animal skins everywhere (animal skins may be the theme of my blog this week) and these round rattan stools (it’s like where’s Waldo, but you can find them above if you look hard enough).

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I love the stone walls with wooden beams and shelves.

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This is his office. I love the table with the plant in the middle, he had several of these throughout the house.

Overall this house is kind of a hot mess, but a very cool well designed hot mess. Because he was using his own money and not being paid for his time he used what was available to him and added on when he could… the overall look is pretty hodge podge, but his design aesthetic still comes through pretty clearly. It is definitely and ode to the organic Arizona landscape. What I love about this home is that he lived there and so it more truly reflects on him as a person than his commissioned homes. Most designers design a specific way for clients but in their own homes they are more likely to do things they wouldn’t do for a client. I really enjoyed this tour and if you are in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area I totally recommend it and don’t worry I didn’t ruin the tour showing you all these pictures. There is way more that I didn’t show and plus everything always looks different in person.

Last week I was in Phoenix, AZ for a conference. I was so happy when I remembered that there is a Frank Lloyd Wright home in that area. It has been a dream of mine for a long time to vist a FLW home (Falling Water, you are on my hit list). Taliesin West was amazing and I learned so much about him as a person and designer. Here a few of the photos I took while on the tour. This is about 1/15th of pictures I took, I was a maniac! We could only take pictures outside and in the outer buildings, but I hope to share a post about the interior later this week.

Love this long arbor.

Almost all of FLW other homes were built on commission for someone except for this house. He paid for and built this one on his own so he cut a lot of corners and used what he had on hand. Apparently, he was real cheapskate! The stone walls are just dirt and rocks from the land that he compacted into walls. Thankfully he was such a good designer that the structure has lasted for 70+ years.

There is almost no grass in Phoenix and FLW tried really hard to use nature as his inspiration, but he did put a large patch of grass in the front yard. He went against his own design principle because when he first built this home he had two little daughters and he wanted them to have somewhere soft to play outdoors.

There is a lot of Japanese influence around the house. FLW loved Japan and used a lot of pieces he bought in Japan in his commissioned homes, but for his own home he couldn’t afford the real pieces from Japan. He improvised and went to Chinatown in San Francisco to buy all his Japanese art.

Orange doors! Brass handles! LOVE

More orange doors! More brass handles! LOVE

Hope you enjoyed this little photographic tour as much as I did!