Ever since I was young, I had a fascination with designs by Frank Lloyd Wright. I believe what drew me to his work then is what still draws me to his work today - its unique quality to blend in with its surrounding. In honor of his 150th birthday, which was on June 8, I wanted to share some of my favorite Frank Lloyd Wright designs.
Located in Western Pennsylvania, Fallingwater is quite a site. To me, it exudes what a Wright design should be - one with nature. Viewing the architecture design from afar is just as magnificent as exploring it from the inside.
Wright designed this home for the Kaufmann family (of Kaufmann’s Department Store), between 1936 and 1939, and as the name implies, sits on a waterfall and extends 30’ over a waterfall to be specific.
According to Fallingwater.org, "When the Kaufmanns first looked at Wright’s drawings, they were very surprised! They thought their new house would have a wonderful view of the falls. But instead, with the house right on top of the falls, it was very difficult to even see them. But not to hear them! Frank Lloyd Wright told them that he wanted them to live with the waterfalls, to make them part of their everyday life, and not just to look at them now and then."
Just imagine being able to "live with the waterfalls" and be able to call this "home".
Learn more at fallingwater.org.
The Guggenheim Museum
One of the first times I came to New York, I was on a mission to see The Guggenheim Museum. Not necessarily for its art, but for its architecture. Sitting in Manhattan's Upper East Side and surrounded by taller buildings, The Guggenheim stands out in its own way.
“I can see a tall building of a new type perfectly appropriate to our purpose, having monumental dignity and great beauty,” shared Wright in 1943, to Solomon R. Guggenheim, according to Guggenheim.org.
What I find most fascinating about Wright's designs is how he looked at a project through his own eyes and The Guggenheim is no exception. He did not design a "traditional" museum interior with isolating rooms or a building that would blend into the current architecture. Instead, he created a circular experience with a ramp where you could see multiple floors and multiple galleries at the same time and a building facade that somehow blends and doesn't seem to stand out amongst its neighbors, in an obtrusive way that is. The Guggenheim is a piece of art, in my opinion, and a building that holds art - how fitting indeed.
Learn more at guggenheim.org.
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
Situated in Oak Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, is Wright's home and studio. This was the first building he had designed completely and was meant to be a home for his family. Others may round out their top three Wright homes another way, although, I find it intriguing to see Wright's first work - we all start somewhere - and it was also my first Wright experience.
Here's an excerpt from The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust about the interior of the home, which I believe helps to explain some of his design-forward thinking and how he was working to think differently, even from the beginning of his career.
"Despite its modest scale, the interior of the home is an early indication of Wright’s desire to liberate space. On the ground floor, Wright created a suite of rooms arranged around a central hearth and inglenook, a common feature of the Shingle style. The rooms flow together, connected by wide, open doorways hung with portieres that can be drawn for privacy. To compensate for the modest scale of the house and to create an inspiring environment for his family, Wright incorporated artwork and objects that brought warmth and richness to the interiors. Unique furniture, Oriental rugs, potted palms, statues, paintings and Japanese prints filled the rooms, infusing them with a sense of the foreign, the exotic and the antique."
When we put this in context of the period - late Nineteenth Century, it helps to emphasize how ahead of his time he was. Today, having rooms that flow together seem quite common but in Wright's time, they were not.
Read more at flwright.org.
In honor of Wright's 150th birthday, if you aren't able to experience one of his works first-hand, be sure to browse through books, images or videos of his work. And, try something out of the norm for yourself or something that brings you closer to nature - let Wright inspire you.
P.S. Speaking of design, why not enjoy some Wright in style with one of your favorite pieces from Adea - with layering tops and more.
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I’ve never been able to pull it off BUT I’ve always wanted to go to Australia – everything I’ve heard about it fascinates me. That said I often watch those “survival” TV shows where a person takes a wrong turn in a desert, forest, mountain or the outback and is lost for days on end. Then an “outdoor survivalist” comes on and says, “If only they had done thus-and-so – they would have had food and water.”
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