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Decorative Arts by Frank Lloyd Wright


Frank Lloyd Wright’s style of architecture was coined ‘organic’ because of his natural motifs. He not only designed the building but the interior furnishings: rugs, chairs, tables, lamps, and fabrics. I will discuss the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, Illinois.

Frank Lloyd Wright grew up in Wisconsin and through his upbringing and his belief in God he found nature to be his greatest inspiration. He believed that the relationship between people, building, and site were of the upmost importance.

Geometry, or more specifically geometric forms, was the basis for Wright’s architecture. As a child he played with a set of Froebel blocks: a triangle, cube, and sphere. Wright would later say that his use of these blocks greatly influenced his decision to choose the field of architecture.

When designing, Frank Lloyd Wright felt that the floor plans, elevation, and decorative arts work together, usually with a common design theme in mind.

For example, the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, Illinois has some fine examples of abstract interpretations of the sumac plant. From the bronze-green plaster frieze on the outside of the home, to the careful detail of a table lamp with green and copper colored glass. This house was actually the largest residence Wright had taken on, when commissioned in 1902.

Using the Dana-Thomas House again as the classic Wright model, the architect designed vertical slat-back dining room chairs in oak, with leather upholstery. These could be combined with low versions, creating a smaller room comprised of upwards to forty chairs. These were considered to be Arts and Crafts movement style chairs.

Because of the limited amount of wall space in Wright designed buildings, sculpture was advised instead of paintings. The architect himself painted wall murals in some of the homes, otherwise he worked with artists to integrate works of art into the scheme.

As for his interiors, Wright preferred the Autumnal colors of nature accented with his favorite color, Cherokee Red. Most importantly, natural light was always key to the design of a Frank Lloyd Wright building.

The furnishings designed by Wright were meant to be used indoors as well as outdoors; simple, comfortable furniture always in harmony with the building design and site.

Frank Lloyd Wright was a 20th century architect whose message rings clearer for the 21st century: respect nature and the planet by being more environmentally aware and active.

To view the many homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, you should own this video,"America's Castles," available here from Amazon.com.




For a detailed photo book on 38 of Frank Lloyd Wright's most significant buildings, you can own "Masterworks," available here from Amazon.com.


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The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Frank Lloyd Wright article
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Content copyright © 2014 by Camille Gizzarelli. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Camille Gizzarelli. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Camille Gizzarelli for details.

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