Copeland's Usonian Furniture

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larkin
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Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:54 pm

Copeland's Usonian Furniture

Post by larkin »

I recently came across pictures of the new Usonian Furniture reproductions by Copeland. The Taliesin Storage Ottoman appears to be a stop on reproduction and my favorite of the new line. The rest of the collection, for now, seems to derived from Furniture designed for Wright's Mossberg House. The Square Coffee Table also appears to be a stop on reproduction. The Storage Box Ottomans lack the "cut out" of the "as- built" pieces that makes moving the Ottoman easy. I question why this detail was changed. Also, I question the other tables in the collection -- are they Copeland designs or Wright designed? I have never seen any of the others tables in any photograph of the Mossberg Home. With so many interesting occassional table that Wright did design, this is disappointing. Hopefully they will do a better job with designs for Usonian chair reproductions. I for one, never cared for the changes that Copeland made to the Dana House Dinning Chairs -- Wright designed a slant back chair for the Dinning Room at the Larkin, The Dana House Chairs had a straight back and looks better with the straight back -- why combine these two designs? Any ways, I'm wondering what others are thinking about the new Usonian reproduction designs.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

http://www.copelandfurniture.com/collec ... .php?id=86


http://www.copelandfurniture.com/product_flw.php?id=434

". . . coffee tables, end tables and sofa tables derived from Wright’s Mossberg House. . ."

larkin
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:54 pm

Post by larkin »

The key word is "Derived". My criticism of the current Copeland line is that -- the Usonian side table, end table and sofa table are all variations of the square coffee table and are not true reproductions. Without ever appearing in a single photo of the Mossberg House, my question is -- Are these un-built designs or something out of the minds of the designers at Copeland? I think some truth in advertising would be nice. How many times have we heard criticism on this site regarding "Legacy Designs", yet we seem to put up with an endless prostitution of Wright designs as trinkets for museum gift shops. Integrity of true Wright designs is what I hope to see instead of a "knock off" that derives from another design. In the past, Copeland has been specific about variations on items in their collection. I may be jumping the gun, but I hope they will tell us some additional facts about this new line (like why is the "cut out" handle missing from the Mossberg storage ottomans -- they should be present on 2 sides of the item). I do own a Copeland Dana House plant stand and am very happy with it. I also plan to buy a few more pieces from them this year. I would like to hope that high end reproductions remain high end with an integrity that doesn't fool the public into thinking that they are buying a reproduction that is only a "derived design".

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The square table is the only piece that I recognize from the Mossberg or any other Usonian. There were no "sofa tables" in any Wright house that I know of. These pieces may (or may not) be Wrightian, but they are not Frank Lloyd Wright designs -- as is acknowledged, if guardedly, in the passage I quoted above.

Seeing furniture designed for plywood, made instead of solid cherry -- a perfectly fine furniture material though not one ever to my knowledge employed by Mr Wright -- is a bit jarring. Likewise, the black finish (?) would be a novelty in the panoply of Wright's furnishings . . .

SDR

Rood
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Post by Rood »

SDR wrote:Seeing furniture designed for plywood, made instead of solid cherry -- a perfectly fine furniture material though not one ever to my knowledge employed by Mr Wright -- is a bit jarring. Likewise, the black finish (?) would be a novelty in the panoply of Wright's furnishings . . .

SDR
Not exactly true. Mr. Wright designed black-laquered furniture for his Plaza Hotel suite, all or most of which eventually landed at Taliesin in Wisconsin. There were bunches of rather elegant three-legged stools, for instance, which Iovanna used in her Hill Apartment.
Don't know if any of it has ever been published.

Wrightgeek
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Post by Wrightgeek »

My best guess is that the darker color shown in the photos of the Usonian furniture is actually not black, but more likely a color often referred to as "Espresso", which is a very dark, rich shade of brown with overtones of black and/or red. It has become a very popular wood furniture color over the past several years.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Ah -- I had forgotten about "Taliesin East." Thank you. Here are the photos from my file; it's unclear from them if the pieces you mention are included.


Image

Image

Laurie Virr
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Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:32 pm

Post by Laurie Virr »

Stephen:

Taliesin East is in Wisconsin.

The images you have posted could be more accurately described as Podgorica West.

Ugh!

egads
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Location: Long Beach CA

Post by egads »

Laurie, there's a reason "Taliesin East" is in quotation marks, it's a inside joke around here. There is not "Taliesin East" at all. Just an original and a West. In the US, Wisconsin is not in the east. It's the upper mid west. But the Podorica joke is a good one.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I will have to locate the source -- not that far away from Mr Wright, if I am not mistaken -- which referred to Taliesin in Wisconsin as "Taliesin North" (obviously, post-dating the establishment of T West), and the Plaza apartment as "Taliesin East." It may have been something I read in Tafel or Besinger . . .

The opposite of West doesn't necessarily have to be East !

I have found that we generally credit the first source we come upon -- often (though not always) at a tender age -- of any particular fact or idea, and automatically distrust any later source which contradicts what we already "know." Thus, if we hear a cover of a popular song, that cover will have for us the same inevitability that the original has for other listeners -- who heard that original before any later version of the tune . . .

SDR

Laurie Virr
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Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:32 pm

Post by Laurie Virr »

egads:

Thank you for your post.

I really do not need a geography lesson on the U.S.A., having first visited your country in 1963, and since that time traveled in 44 of the 50 States of the Union. Having been a house guest there, and having visited many times, I know where Taliesin is.

Moreover, I am fully aware that 'Taliesin East' is an in joke, as I participated in the last thread devoted to the topic.

Stephen:

As you imply, most of us are creatures of habit, and our first experiences act as the gauge by which we measure those that follow.

I recall Frank Lloyd Wright describing Taliesin as a house for the North in one of his writings.
Perhaps it would be preferable to ignore the Balkanized apartment at The Plaza, New York City, and refer to the original house as Taliesin?

Stephen:

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Yes -- I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing that the Plaza apartment had never added itself to Mr Wright's itinerary -- in the form disclosed in the photos above. One would have hoped for something closer to the San Francisco outpost (Mr Green's office). Perhaps "When in New York . . ." became the operating theory which informed this architectural oddity ?

"Taliesin" is no doubt the original and correct name of the Wisconsin property, and, as you suggest, cleaving to that might keep us out of trouble. In any event, my source is not coming readily to light . . .

SDR

dkottum
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Post by dkottum »

The Plaza Usonian pieces were black with the sawn edges painted red, as I recall. I have seen them but can't remember where, maybe Taliesin or maybe a book.

doug k

John
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Laurie

Post by John »

So, Laurie, where do you live now?
"...having first visited your country in 1963..." :?

Laurie Virr
Posts: 472
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:32 pm

Post by Laurie Virr »

John:

I live in Canberra, the Australian Federal Capital.

Visit my website.

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