Designer Spotlight: Frank Lloyd Wright

Designer Spotlight / Adam Cramer

The Designer At A Glance

One of the most widely renowned architects of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright believed that architects should design the house as well as the furniture inside it. His works were uniquely designed as part of the aesthetics for the homes he built.

The Life Behind The Design

There are few names that evoke the Arts & Crafts style more than Frank Lloyd Wright. While he was primarily known for his stunning architecture, he was also a prolific furniture designer in his own right.

In 1887 Wright moved to Chicago to pursue his dream of becoming an architect. He worked for various design firms before eventually settling at Adler & Sullivan, where he eventually became the head draftsman for all of the firm’s residential work. He would soon open his own design firm in Oak Park after a contract dispute.

One of Wright’s biggest complaints about architecture in the U.S. at the time was that it wasn’t uniquely American. While others leaned on European architecture and trends, Wright looked to the flat landscape of the American west and the architecture of indigenous Americans for inspiration. His “Prairie style” produced homes that were low, flat and denoted by broad horizontal lines.

With his signature style established, Wright turned his attention to the interior. He believed that a home’s architecture and the furniture within it went hand in hand — and his work ethic was unmatched. For one particular home he designed desks, chairs, lighting, bookshelves, dressers, tables, sofas and stools for nearly every room.

Wright went on to found the Taliesin Fellowship school of architecture, where students also learned farming, gardening, cooking and the study of nature, music, art and dance. It’s clear that Wright’s various tastes inspired a new way of thinking about architecture and furniture design, and his uniquely American sensibilities are still cherished today.

Notable Works: Heritage-Henredon Collection

While Wright designed unique furniture for the houses he built, he also recognized that the average American home could benefit from his knack for furniture design. In 1955 he partnered with various companies to release the Taliesin Ensemble, a collection of furniture intended for homes he didn’t build himself.

The most prolific of those partnerships was with Henredon, operating as Heritage Henredon at the time. The collection was heralded as Wright applying “his visionary ability to designing a group of dining rooms, bedroom and living room furniture” for “ordinary, everyday people.”

In the Heritage Henredon collection, Wright began to explore a range of geometric shapes, including triangles, hexagons and honeycombs. Various pieces of furniture would “fit together” — for example, triangular seat tables that tuck neatly beneath a hexagonal coffee table.

While the collection wasn’t a major commercial success at the time, Wright’s pieces for Heritage Henredon are highly sought after by collectors. The timeless style of the collection looks stunning in any home, even 70 years later.

Liberty & 33rd & Frank Lloyd Wright

You don’t need to live in a Wright-designed home to benefit from his design sensibilities. Frank Lloyd Wright pieces are high in demand when they hit the Liberty & 33rd warehouse — shop our catalog for a chance to bring one home today.

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