Friday, April 23, 2010

Doing the Wright thing in Chicago...

One of our top proirities on our trip to Chicago was to go see some Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. Some good friends from Las Vegas met us there for the weekend, and they are also Wright enthusiasts. So, after getting our bearings on our first night there, we set out the next morning for Oak Park. We went to the Unity Temple first, which was open to the public, and photos were allowed! (upper left photo) Then we walked through the neighborhood to the Wright home and studio, past homes that were clearly designed by Wright, as well as others that were equally wonderful. We took the walking audio tour, which I highly recommend. We seem to have come at a terrific time of year for the tour. The temperature was comfortable for walking, and the gardens and trees were all blooming with early spring flowers. It was lovely!

After the walking tour, we took the tour of the interior of the Wright home and studio (lower middle picture.) No photos allowed, which was disappointing, but understandable. The next day we went out to the Robie House, which is the bottom right photo. You can also go inside this house, which is in the restoration process - also no photos there.

These are incredibly designed spaces! Wright designed everything to fit together perfectly; from the rugs, the windows (all leaded glass), the light fixtures, the furniture, right down to the dishes and silverware for many of the homes. I think if you lived in one of these homes, you would almost need to just use things he had designed - anything else would look out of place. But I would have a hard time doing that. There are very few soft edges, and little or no informality. But what an amazing design process he had, and how beautifully he imagined his world! He was truly a master of his vision.

Addendum: Here are the things we are inspired by Wright to do:
Paint my bathroom (the color of which I've always disliked) and stencil Wright's 'Ginkgo Leaf' around the top. We purchased the stencil at his studio shop, under the shade of the ginkgo tree that inspired it.
Reorder my garden into a simpler, more orderly area.
Re-do the kitchen lighting. It now has hideous can lights recessed into the ceiling, which we've always wanted to replace. We will used recessed lighting with wooden screens, which I will design and my husband can make.
Make a new drafting table for the studio. This is something we've been considering, and seeing the simplicity of Wright's tables inspired my husband to try to duplicate one (with adaptations.)

Thank you, Frank Lloyd Wright!

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