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Wright Model Making?

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:32 pm
by Matt2
I'm thinking of turning my model-making hobby into a side business. Does this board think there is a market for custom bass wood architectural models of Wright designs? What do you think would be a fair price? The ballpark is easily hundreds and possibly thousands depending on the complexity of the design.

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:48 pm
by SDR
Certainly. Would you do monochromatic basswood, or fully colored and textured surfaces ? Glazing ? Scale ? With or without surrounding topography ?

These are all the questions I've asked myself, when contemplating the subject.

I'd be satisfied, ultimately, with a 1:4 or 1:6 model of Fallingwater including 50 yd radius site condition. Some living bonsai landscaping, certainly---perhaps radio or
robotic vehicles. Indoor and outdoor lighting, of course, the model housed in a room where various daylighting and night-time environments could be reproduced.


Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:59 pm
by Matt2
I'm thinking that the scale/level of detail would be worked out for each customer based on their preferences and budget. The models should be on a MDF base with layers of cork to represent the topography, possibly a plexiglass box cover. My personal tastes are for more minimalist style of model as opposed to OCD diorama style. The basswood works well for wood Usonian houses, but less well for masonry like Fallingwater.

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:50 pm
by SDR
I like that choice. But, for the building itself, I'd be happier if wood was used as wood, with other materials---machined or CNCd MDF ? Cement or ceramic ?---for brick, block or stone, for instance.

But there are almost as many ways to use the materials as there are kinds of buildings, I guess. As Schindler said, ", putty, or hot air ..."

It's the poetic materiality of work like Wright's that seems (to me) to call for attention to the contrasts between the substances being rendered, on the part of the modelmaker.


Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:10 pm
by Matt2
Representing the differences is important. I've used foam core to represent stucco or concrete surface and at certain scales the grain of wood can convey the roughness of masonry. I think the reason Fallingwater is such a hard design to model is the importance of distinguishing the interplay of masonry, cement, and glass. But there are so many wood Usonians that would be great in basswood.

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:23 pm
by SDR
Yup. A Fallingwater model would be wrong in wood---echoing again the reality. Not that I haven't imagined a poor man's FW, built of stone and wood, partially grilled or grated, open or seeming so to the weather, the woods, the stream ...


Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:37 pm
by Roderick Grant
Perhaps either unbuilt projects of interest or correcting built buildings so wrong it hurts would be interesting. Watkins or Morris #2 would be interesting unrealized projects, and a corrected Ennis would be worthwhile as well.

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:44 pm
by Matt2
Most of my model making has been of unbuilt projects like the original Booth House. It's the best way to understand the design. Of course, many today would just create a CAD model, but there may be an audience for physical models.

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:17 pm
by DRN
The pre-addition original Sondern house would model well in bass wood...there are full construction documents and photos of the built condition in existence to inform the effort.

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:12 pm
by SDR
Perhaps it's not too soon to consider modeling the Oboler compound, in all its unbuilt or ruined glory ? Somewhere, someone must have found a way to make a convincing desert masonry surface ...


Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:54 am
by Randolph C. Henning
If you are serious regarding selling models of Frank Lloyd Wright designs for profit, before you go too far, you might want to check with Sean Malone, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, to be sure you don't overstep copyright or trademark boundaries. I'm just sayin . . .

Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:21 am
by SDR
The architect's name is copyrighted (and, presumably, trademarked), at the very least. One imagines that it would be odd, but not impossible, to market models of his work without using his name. The interesting question would be whether the buildings themselves are protected by copyright. By all means, check it out thoroughly.

As an example, there are multiple models of Fallingwater visible online. Are any of those offered for sale ? If so, what have the makers done to satisfy the law ? Their example(s) could be useful.


Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:00 am
by Paul Ringstrom
Randolph C. Henning wrote: you might want to check with Sean Malone, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
STUART GRAFF is the President & CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and has been since January of 2016.

Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:41 pm
by Matt2
I'm pretty sure only the drawings are protected by copyright law. But I'll be sure to check all of that out.

Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:17 pm
by SDR
That sounds right. The use of Wright's name might be the sticking point.