Preparing an unbuilt chair design for construction

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peterm
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Post by peterm »

outside in- with all due respect...

Don't you find yourself occasionally in the position of, as you say, "taking on the role of Wright" when restoring, (and often clearly remodeling...) a Wright house?

For example, would you post for all visitors to a Wright house sort of a disclaimer, photographs, drawings and an explanation of an original kitchen, when deciding to update to a contemporary design and make changes? Do you receive approval from the foundation for these changes? At what point is something considered to be an "architectural fantasy"?

Is there a different set of rules for architects than for designers and craftsman?

allwrightythen1
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Post by allwrightythen1 »

While I appreciate the passion expressed in the various opinions, this whole thing seems like much ado about nothing.

It's a chair--a very cool one with some fuzzy questions about its construction--but just a chair.

Having it built and placed in the home will open up opportunities to educate people, inspire new generations to learn more about Wright, and hopefully lead some to design for themselves.

I would trust that Wright in Wisconsin, the designers and craftspeople working on this project are all about furthering the legacy of Wright and are capable of drawing a bright line between fact and fiction in how the chair is presented and discussed.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

The whole idea that anyone can magnify an advertisement with a sketch of a room for another house and blow up part of that sketch to glean information information about a piece of that sketch, a chair, and build it off of that information is silly. This is even more absurd that the Ersatz Frank Lloyd Wright Chair would go into a house museum of all things. If Frank Lloyd Wright believed that this sketch within a sketch of a chair design had any potential whatsoever he would have developed the design, prepared working drawings, reviewed shop drawings and oversaw the construction of the piece for another house. None of that took place with this sketch chair. No one one knows how FLW would have designed this chair. The only thing that is known is that Frank Lloyd Wright chose not to pursue this design further on any project. If Frank Lloyd Wright did not want it built, it makes no sense to build it and ignore his decision on the chair.
Last edited by pharding on Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

outside in
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Post by outside in »

In response to your question, yes, I do regularly consult with the Foundation regarding restoration issues. I ask permission to duplicate furniture and art glass in restoration projects and then clearly mark them as "duplicate" when installed in the house. I have consulted with the Foundation on many occasions to determine means and methods for the restoration of both Taliesins to ensure that Wright's work is preserved in the best way possible. As far as your issue with contemporary kitchens, (and I guess I don't quite understand the issue here) I have on many occasions designed and had constructed kitchens for homes that are occupied by owners, rather than museums, that do not match kitchens designed by Wright. In all cases, the original kitchens had been removed years ago, so its not a matter of 'saving" them, but more a matter of fitting contemporary uses into an historic house that are in keeping with the original design. I believe this is probably the most complex part of any project, as these issues are open to interpretation. However, it is always made clear that these alterations were in no way associated with Wright, a clear distinction is made, which is not the case with this stupid chair!

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Let's imagine this scenario: you are asked to restore an architect designed house for a client. You discover a sketch of the interior of the house which includes a piece of freestanding furniture drawn by the the architect or someone in his firm. This sketch is authenticated. The client becomes excited by this, and asks you to have a version of this piece built. You make it crystal clear to the client that the drawing was not included in the final plans. The client says, "I don't care, it would be so cool to have and would be more interesting and possibly more correct to the original intent of the architecture than any of my reproduction Stickley furniture."

Are you (pharding and outside in) saying that you would both refuse to draw up plans of an interpretation of the sketch in order to have it built, on ethical grounds?

And isn't a piece of movable furniture much less invasive, than say, an addition to the house?
Last edited by peterm on Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

outside in
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Post by outside in »

Ok, I've reached my saturation point. We have now arrived at the point of confrontation, which is not in keeping with the goals of this forum.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Sorry to offend. I am truly trying to understand your position...

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Speaking for Harding Partners, we nurture strong client relationships and work as a team. We have always been able work our clients to arrive appropriate solutions that respect their goals and desires, while developing a solution that respects history and the clients appreciation for it.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

One facet of this kerfuffle that has not been examined is the difference between B1 and A (for which the chair was ostensibly designed). The living room for B is about 12'6"x17', featuring a somewhat over-scaled fireplace dominating one side of the room. The dining set drawn on the floorplan takes up fully half that room, and I bet there is no plan to construct the entire set, is there? It would make the room claustrophobic and hard to shuttle a group of visitors about without banging elbows left and right. Without the table and side chairs, the proposed chair would look more like a lounge chair without the comfort. Someday Cottage A may join the ranks, for which this project might be more appropriate in some manifestation, with table and side chairs included. Historic photos might even show that the proposed dining set was actually constructed for at least one of the Cottages A. Though I would still question the wisdom of constructing a chair that seems unnecessarily complicated and un-Wrightian.

FLW gave little attention to service rooms, especially in the pre-Willey era. Altering a kitchen, bath, closets or laundry to accommodate new technology and different life-styles (servantless, for instance) is not a major affront to his architecture, but the living areas are a completely different matter where every detail is important.

Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »

allwrightythen 1:

The end you seek does not justify the means.

******************************************

Roderick Grant’s most recent post makes a valuable contribution to this discussion, inasmuch as he draws attention to the dimensions of the living room of American System B1.

This house does have a dining area, in which all the furniture is built in. It is small, as befits a two bedroom dwelling of some 850 square feet.

In most of the residences designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the furniture is aligned with the ‘grain’ of the individual spaces. In B1, the dining table and associated benches form the end of the living/dining area, and run parallel to the length of the space, As Roderick Grant notes the area is too narrow to permit a table and chairs to be placed across its width without completely destroying the sense of spaciousness it possesses.

I surmise that in such a comparatively small house, the architect reasoned there was only room for one ‘all purpose’ table, serving for dining, and a host of other activities.

B1 manifests a miracle of planning, and the design is still relevant today, but with its advantages comes its restraints. The table and chair as depicted on the interior perspective may have been suitable for the larger residences, or the duplex, but would be totally out of scale and inappropriate for the B1.

Would the addition of an ersatz dining chair in the living/dining area add to the experience of those touring the house? As I recall from my visit in 2011, there was already sufficient furniture in the principal space - commensurate with its new function as an exhibition house - to convey a sense of occupancy.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Responding to some of the comments that have accrued, two points:

1) Permission to build the chair has already been given by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

2) My initial post stated only that this chair would occupy the Model B1 house owned by Frank Lloyd Wright® in Wisconsin.
I failed to note what I had been told, in an e-mail from Stafford Norris dated Feb 1, 2013, as follows:


Steve,

You are correct, B1 will be furnished with C3 furniture while C3
is being restored; then it will be moved to C3. The cube
chair will be Wisconsin Walnut. Last year I made three lamps from
gumwood for the B1 house. While gumwood is great to work, its hard
to find good gumwood .

Yes, the inside back is a half circle and the inside of the chair
is upholstered...

Stafford

therman7g
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The Frank Lloyd Wright Cups and Saucers

Post by therman7g »

The Challenge

Interpreting his drawings and developing this in a product that can be produced with the current technique is quite a task. The drawings are clear and blurry at the same time, even though they are precise it is hard to see the intention of the designer in the three-dimensional object.:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/454 ... s?ref=city

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