Thursday, July 25, 2013

Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Globes

by Trey Thomas

Last week we featured eleven ships that appeared in Replogle globes. Today we give you another list of eleven: Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired globes.

First, a backgrounder

So much has been written about Frank Lloyd Wright that I find it hard where to begin. He is considered a superstar by those in the architecture and interior design business that there is a considerable body of writing (even film) devoted to him and his work. No wonder why his name has been made into a Replogle globe series, the Frank Lloyd Wright Collection.

Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture is called by many as organic. Not that he made buildings looking like plants and animals (although he took inspiration from nature – like the nautilus and spiderweb inspired Guggenheim Museum ), but that his buildings were built, from the ground up, to consider the effect of, blend with, and grow from the nature of the site and a building's function. As a result, everything, from the foundations to the furnishings, were designed as parts of a whole.

Let the Fawcett Ranch House (on the market in 2009) be an example.

Here then, is the list of globes inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's designs – many of them based on drawings found in Frank Lloyd Wright's archives. Please click on the links to see their full descriptions.

1. Wright Globe

wright globe
Wright Globe 16-inch Frank Lloyd Wright Floor Standing

This 38-inch high floor standing globe (the sphere is 16 inches across) is based on a concept for an unnamed client who commissioned Wright to design a Prairie Style home in the early 1900s. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation archives drawing, on which this globe is based, simply contains Wright's handwritten note: "Something like this."

Perhaps the most famous Prairie Home designed by Wright is the Robie House (1910) at Hyde Park, Chicago. It is designated a National Historic Landmark since 1963.
Robie House, Hyde Park, Chicago by lmgadelha, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  lmgadelha 

Here's the fireplace area. Guess which detail the Wright Globe is inspired by. ;-)

2. Hexhedra Globe

Hexhedra Globe 12-inch
Hexhedra Globe 12-inch Frank Lloyd Wright Tabletop

This 12-inch wide, 17.3-inch tall tabletop globe is said to be based on drawings for a hassock (hard cushion) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Malcolm Wiley House at Minneapolis, Minnesota. This house is considered a transition between Wright's earlier Prairie houses and the later Usonian (see next entry) and is considered his "most significant" design of the Depression years. We have no pictures of that hassock and the house itself is private and undergoing restoration (it was bought in a dilapidated state by the Sikora family in 2002). But, look at the entry for the Usonian (next) and you'll see where the hexagonal influence came from: Wright himself.
WilleyHouse 002
By Elkman (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

3. Usonian Globe

Usonian Globe 12-inch
Usonian Globe Frank Lloyd Wright

The 18-inch tall (sphere is 12 inches wide) Usonian Desk Globe is based on Frank Lloyd Wright's Simplified Prairie Architecture style of the same name. Some say 'Usonia' stands for 'United States of North America', attributed by Frank Lloyd Wright to Samuel Butler:
"Samuel Butler fitted us with a good name. He called us Usonians, and our Nation of combined States, Usonia. Why not use the name?"
He probably misattributed the term, as its earliest published use comes from James Duff Law.

Wright built more than a hundred Usonians, but the furniture designs on which this globe was based did not contain any notes on what home they were assigned to, but here's a sample Usonian home, the Kentuck Knob (Hagan House, built 1953-56), at Dunbar, PA:

Kentuck Knob, Dunbar, PA (entrance)

Kentuck Knob, Dunbar, PA (garden side)

And here are details from the back eaves. Looks like the base of the globe eh?

4. Leerdam Vase Globe

Leerdam Vase Globe 12-inch
Leerdam Vase 12-inch Frank Lloyd Wright Globe
The 12-inch diameter Leerdam Vase Globe, especially its pedestal, draws inspiration from the Leerdam collection.

In 1929, Frank Lloyd Wright received a design commission from P.M. Cochius, then director of the Leerdam Glasfabrik Company of the Netherlands as part of the company's initiative of inviting well-known architects and designers to create contemporary houseware designs based on forms found in nature. Frank Lloyd Wright's design was for a line of glassware, dinnerware, vases and candlesticks. He came up with 33 designs based on hexagonal or octagonal shapes. Unfortunately, his designs (especially for the vases) were so advanced that it was impossible to execute them faithfully with the existing production methods available at the time.

Wright named the dinnerware set Hemerocallis, the Daylily.

Since then, production companies have attempted to interpret the Leerdam designs based on the original drawings, but no one has yet been able to produce the collection in its entirety.

Here are some of interpretations (note Frank Lloyd Wright's seal ):
Leerdam Blue Taliesin Vase
Blue Taliesin Vase
Leerdam Green Pinnacle Vase
Green Pinnacle Vase
Frank Lloyd Wright Leerdam Vase Green
Green Leerdam Vase

5. Four Square I Globe

Four Square Globe 12-inch
Four Square I Globe 12-inch Frank Lloyd Wright Tabletop

The Four Square I is a 20-inch high, 12-inch wide tabletop globe, an adaptation of Wright's 1950s drawings of wooden vases (from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives). "Four Square" is also one of Wright's furniture lines (along with "The Honeycomb," "The Burberry," and the "Taliesin Line") designed for Heritage-Henredon Furniture Industries of Morganton, NC in the mid-1950s .

Wright's Heritage-Henredon vases (1955), while simpler, also show the tendency to narrow down in steps toward the base:
Heritage-Henredon Four Square Vase
Four Square Heritage-Henredon Vase

6. Glencoe Globe

Glencoe Globe 12-inch
Glencoe Globe 12-inch Frank Lloyd Wright Tabletop

Another 20-inch tall, 12-inch wide globe, the Glencoe's pedestal is adapted from Wright's 1911 designs for a large brick pedestal for Booth Park at Glencoe, IL. I didn't find pictures of the actual pedestal at Glencoe, nor of Booth Park itself. However since Illinois, particularly Oak Park, contains "the largest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world" (he spent the first 20 years of his career there), one can see traces of this globe's inspiration in several Oak Park houses, even earlier ones.

Take for example this detail of the Thomas Gail House of 1892:
Thomas Gail House (detail)
Detail from photo by IvoShandor (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

7. Beth Sholom Globe
Beth Sholom Globe 12-inch
Beth Sholom Globe 12-inch Illuminated Frank Lloyd Wright

On its base, the 12-inch wide Beth Sholom illuminated globe stands at 16 inches. It is named after the Beth Sholom Synagogue at Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
Beth Sholom Synagogue (with National Historic marker)
By Peetlesnumber1 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1953, the influence of this synagogue on the Beth Sholom globe is best seen on the side:
Beth Sholom Synagogue (side view)
By Peetlesnumber1 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Like the Beth Sholom Globe, the Beth Sholom (House of Peace) synagogue also shines at night, glowing warmly through its fiberglass upper structure, aptly described by Wright as a "travelling Mount Sinai of Light," although it looks more like Mount Zion, the shining heavenly mountain – the axis mundi or world tree in other cultures, on which so many pagodas, temples, obelisks and pyramids are based.
Beth Sholom Synagogue (Northeast view, night)
from Gavriel D. Rosenfeld's article (photo: Balthazar Korab Ltd)

8. Hexagon Globe

Hexagon Globe 12-inch
Hexagon Globe 12-inch Frank Lloyd Wright Tabletop

This 12-inch wide globe stands 19.8-inches high on its metal base. This design is based on the hexagon-themed line of furniture Wright drew to go with his Price Tower for the H.C. Price Company in Bartlesville Oklahoma.
Price Tower (Frank Lloyd Wright design)
Uploaded by Emersonbiggins85 [CC-BY-SA-3.0, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

9. San Marcos Globe

San Marcos Globe 12-inch
San Marcos Globe 12-inch Frank Lloyd Wright Tabletop

This 12-inch wide sphere stands at 22 inches on its base. This is based on the designs for a small accent table done by Wright for the Dining Pavilion of the unrealized San Marcos in the Desert Project at Chandler, Arizona (1928-1929).
San Marcos in the Desert (Dining Pavilion inside perspective drawing)
From San Marcos in the Desert page, Library of Congress

The small planter (middle right) of this picture (no higher resolution) looks similar to the San Marcos Globe's base.
San Marcos in the Desert (Dining Pavilion inside section drawing)
From San Marcos in the Desert page, Library of Congress

10. Barrel Globe

Barrel Globe 16-inch
Barrel Globe Frank Lloyd Wright

Take Frank Lloyd Wright's famous 1904 Barrel Chair, remove the seat, and change the back-rest to accommodate an antique globe and you get the Barrel Globe. This floor globe is 16 inches wide and 39 inches tall.
Barrel Chair Frank Lloyd Wright 1904
from the Frank Lloyd Wright Blog

Here's a 1937 reworking of the Barrel Chair. The flaring and other subtle changes in form have been reduced and simplified so that it's closer to the Barrel Globe in its lines:
Barrel Chair Frank Lloyd Wright 1937
from Chairs by Famous Architects

11. Obelisk Globe

Obelisk Globe 16-inch
Obelisk Globe 16-inch Frank Lloyd Wright Floor Standing

Along with the Leerdam Vase Globe, the Obelisk Floor Globe is inspired by the 1929 Leerdam Glassfabrik commissioned designs. It is 16 inches across and 38 inches high.

There you go. If you have own a Frank Lloyd Wright globe, know that what you have is inspired by one of the last century's greatest architectural minds.

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