Of all of the designers that have existed, few speak to me more than Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright was born on June 8th of 1867 in Richland Center WI. He attended high school in Madison and left before he finished to study engineering at the University of Wisconsin. From there he moved to Chicago. He is responsible for the Prairie Style movement, a design movement that took place in the early 20th century and used horizontal and vertical planes as well as natural materials in an attempt to bridge the gap between humans and nature. Frank Lloyd wright was most famous for his architectural design but also designed furniture and stained glass art (although these were often designed for a specific setting in one of his buildings.
I grew up near Milwaukee where there are a handful of genuine Frank Lloyd Wright homes and dozens of Wright inspired homes. Growing up I always found myself attracted to the simple elegance of the Prairie styled buildings I saw around me. Although I had no knowledge of who Frank Lloyd Wright was, or what the Prairie movement was striving for, I still saw the beauty that these homes possessed. To completely understand what the goal of Prairie style is it is helpful to look at genuine Frank Lloyd designs. Many of his designs are at first glance almost the opposite of natural. With hard geometric lines they stand out appearing all too man made. This is the reason many of the Prairie inspired designs are considered ugly where true Wright designs work in harmony with their surroundings to create a natural feeling from an otherwise human design. A good example of this in effect is Falling Water. This was a home designed to sit atop a water fall surrounded by trees, in this setting it appears elegant and beautiful, however moved anywhere else its entire composition would appear awkward and out of place.
As an aspiring Industrial Designer I can only aspire to accomplish this idea of harmony that Wright was striving for. I feel much of the problem with design in todays world is that design either goes completely unconsidered, or if it is considered it only follows whatever the current trend happens to be and does not aspire to be as moving as it could be. I hope that with my design I am able to create my own kind of harmony between man and nature. I feel that Good design should draw from mans achievements but should also incorporate that which allowed us to achieve what we have. To create beautiful, functional products that speak of the man made world as well as the natural world, that is my goal as a designer.
Meggs, Phillip B., and Alston W. Purvis. Meggs’ History of graphic Design. 4th ed. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006. Print.
“Biography.” Cmgww.com. Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <http://www.cmgww.com/historic/flw/index.html>.
Thorton, Rosemary. “Prairie Style House, 1900-1920, Frank Lloyd Wrights Architectural Revolution.”Oldhouseweb.com. Web. 27 Sept. 2009. <http://www.oldhouseweb.com/architecture-and-design/prairie-style-house-1900- 1920.shtml>