Tracing the designs of 4 basic chairs

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

Ah -- the Wall "speaker hassock." Got it. If we could see the wire, we'd know for sure.

Image

peterm
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Post by peterm »

a beautiful perforation design even if it is not a speaker. i just noticed that it has a recessed handle above the perf.

acousticians? in studio design, it is always good to have angled canted walls. could the taliesin west form be superior to a cube or cuboid for a speaker cabinet in eliminating unwanted "reflections"? this cabinet would aim the sound down and it would then "bounce" off of the concrete floor.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The perforation design is so completely unlike other Wright decorations -- a bit Chinese, perhaps, but more Deco than anything -- and so much like other
speaker grilles I've seen, on radios for instance -- that I can't see it as anything else, myself.

Of course, it could have been a Wrightian perf pattern, and performed the audio function as well. Either Wright wasn't given the option, or it didn't
occur to him, I'd have to surmise.

The color photo of a plain Wall hassock, on the previous page, has the same "finger-grip" handle.

SDR

SDR
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Post by SDR »

In this undated newspaper article

http://www.plymouthpreservation.org/snowflakehouse.html

we are told that "Speakers from the radio and record player were put in all the rooms."

It is said that the Walls were Wright's youngest clients; they were newlyweds just out of college when they commissioned the house. I was hoping to find
out what the "Laboratory," adjacent to the carport, was planned for.


SDR

Palli Davis Holubar
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Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

Peter, sorry, the comment was from DRN about remaining parts of plywood panels being large enough for hassock sides. As a woodworker I am very cavalier about using the word scraps- ask Michael, I save every scrap cutoff.
This upturned pyramid hassock would be heavier to move although grasping through the cut-out parts would be easy. Even the implied meaning of hassocks-mobility- might run afoul of Olgivanna's intent for conversational groupings in the living room.

BTW- Peter- your production run of hassocks looks wonderful, every one perfect. What a grand gift to give your house! soon...
Last edited by Palli Davis Holubar on Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

Palli Davis Holubar
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Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

SDR- yes, strange perfs but there is a cushion on top, the seat relates to the table and the wires would be a mess along the floor...no remote stuff in those days.But Michael agrees with you and says it would be a woofer and the wire could run in the grid groove.
In one of my books there is a detail of the shaped "aquarium" spaces at Wall; a B&W photo...I tentatively identified a section of the hexagon ceiling as perforated not stickwork carpentry...that's what might be somewhat relative. I look for the image.

The effect of the deco-like circle is muted by the hand hole; another reason for me to suspect after thought, probably not under supervision.
Who were the Appentices (drafting & building) for Wall?

Palli Davis Holubar
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Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

SDR- I think you have the gist in my understanding. I don't know if Wright would agree but here's how I finally sorted it out vocabulary and grammar ...FLW's personal & archaic speaking language (and even writing for Wright was one sided-dialogue) confounds me sometimes.

I presupposed the idea of language first:
to FLW language is Organic Architecture which is presented in several bodies of work; each body of work has a developed vocabulary; each individual structure develops its own grammar
in practice this is what I taught:
Organic Architecture Language: physical expressions of shelter; horizontal relationship to the earth; direct relationship of structure to terrain; inside/outside interpenetration; deconstruction of the box; integrity of materials; minimal & integral ornamentation and form is function (the language is the tenets of Organic Architecture)
Usonian Vocabulary: determinate grid on in concrete with radiant heat; two spacial zones with two facades (community-private); footprint with oblique relationship to the street; open plan community zone; clerestory for indirect lighting; gallery; pronounced roof lines elongated to make carport; glass walls & doors; fireplace masonry mass; perforated boards; board & batten walls and masonry (the basic characteristics of Usonian houses)
Weltzheimer House Grammar: L-plan, red brick & redwood...(house specific features)
at least that's how I understand and teach the words
it is sometimes helpful to me to try to define the vocabulary of the each Usonian characteristic also...at least I have worked on perfs that way...and, no surprise, my understanding of the perf vocabulary altered the more I saw.
Would we go so far as to attach dialect to the architecture of the 2 basic climates? laughter

peterm
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Post by peterm »

so wright mentions "usonian vocabulary" but talks about the "grammar" of the individual building. he doesn't say "usonian grammar"?

are these terms accepted in discussing architecture as a whole, or only within the context of wrightian organic architecure? for example: the vocabulary of mies' work, the grammar of the barcelona pavilion?

palli- thanks for the kind words about the lamberson hassocks. i will pass it on to stafford norris 111, who did a fantastic job making them.

next come the occasional tables and origami chairs...

Palli Davis Holubar
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Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

Peter, FLW thought in these terms but architectural historians don't use them particularly, preferring their own poetry or more generic sounding words- features, attributes...I think FLW justly uses the language allusion for his work to give his circle of ideas significance and also the possibility of sharing. While language is infinite, it is something we can learn yet we speak it individually and differently in different situations. To Wright style was frozen and dead but the words language,vocabulary and grammar were alive and changeable.

I'm not sure if I understand what you are asking or if I misled- I used Usonian as an example of a vocabulary with a grammar, different say, than the Prairie School vocabulary which he grew tired of and needed to break from (perhaps because it was being "spoken" by so many.)

Wright says In the Cause of Architecture in 1908 "...the architect must not only learn to think in such terms but to fashion his vocabulary for himself and furnish it in a comprehensive way with useful words..." Later in the essay he uses the term grammar in reference to the expression of a building"...or its grammar may be deduced from some plant form that has appealed to me...but in every case the motif is adhered to throughout and it is not too much to say that each building aesthetically is 'cut from one piece of goods' and consistently hangs together with an integrity impossible otherwise."


Whether Wright used the language term as early as those women's afternoon speaking engagements Catherine Wright arranged for her husband, I don't know for sure. Though I should, I would be more sure in the old days. I'll go to some bios and his autobiography to find the earliest wordings.

The allusion of his approach to building as Language works easily with the all-important belief that he could speak it in a "natural tongue". A language he learned from observation, work and play.

I find language/vocabulary/grammar practical terms to use while thinking in my studio or teaching sculpture. They help establish a commonsense direct line to the idea of making objects communicate.

peterm
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Post by peterm »

i guess what i am asking is this:

is the "vocabulary" general to each type, that is usonians or all prairie style structures, and the "grammar" specific to each individual building: jacobs, rosenbaum, robie, etc. ?

please excuse me for dwelling on this; it has always confused me...

Palli Davis Holubar
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Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

grammar is specific to each building within a certain vocabulary.
For example Lambertson grammar is different than the Weltzheimer House- same year, different sites, different families- so the grammar is different- but they share the same vocabulary- the Usonian vocabulary.

It confused me a lot until I thought literally about the words.
We speak the same language.
We have a common vocabulary- set of words and rules for forming words
We each have a different grammar- a different subject and audience with which to put the form together to make sense and complete a whole thought or paragraph. (If we change tenses or play around with different spellings of the same word the meaning is muddled and the idea is confusing.) I know it sounds odd but it makes sense to me.
This helps with the distinction between vocabulary and grammar: a same vocabulary word can change context (grammar) and gain a new meaning but it hs to stay in clear context for that meaning to contribute to a whole idea.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

There you go -- that's probably as close to it as we can expect to come. Personally I find either term to be fun to use, attractive somehow when
discussing visual form and detail, at all scales. Having them actually mean something seems like a luxury -- but what's the point of using terms
if they don't hold a consistent meaning for all parties ?

Perhaps "dialect" would be the Weltzheimer ball-fringe -- and "regional accent" would be the local brick or stone, or maybe the specific angle and
detail of the roof edge facia ?

Wright spoke of "poetry," so that suggests and supports the use of linguistics. . .

Thanks for working on that, you two.


SDR

peterm
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Post by peterm »

thank you both. a new way in which to help give my scattered thoughts about design, or art in general, more structure...

SDR
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Post by SDR »

It seems I had forgotten that "The Prairie School Tradition" (Whitney; © 1979 by The Prairie Archives of the Milwaukee Art Center) contains
three pages of Wright chairs. First, a H-H "Foursquare" suite, and then a mysterious Sondern pair, one with a unique perf:



Image

Image



Image Note clear depiction of lumber-core plywood


To review, this is what we've seen previously of Sondern:

Image

Image photo c/o Domino's

Image Domino's Collection
Dimensions are given as 28 x 22 x 22 1/4" -- compare to photo above

Note that all versions of this chair shown here have the upholstered parts
held in from the edges of the seat and back panel. . .

Palli Davis Holubar
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Post by Palli Davis Holubar »

Another chair that could or could not have a perf. Sondern, in particular, one of the two houses in the same time period that would seem to prime for clerestory perfs, but are naked...no evidence on any plans I have seen. Then a chair with simple equilateral triangle perfs. (I think I saw Sondern chairs without perfs...but maybe another chair. I'll check)

I did find in Monograph vol.7 a couple of the Hanna perf chair we discussed in the LR of the Walker House, 1948. Ross did 2 computer drawings of the perfs. I'll send them to SDR for posting.

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