Frank Lloyd Wright: Control Freak or Design Genius?

Frank Lloyd Wright is arguably one of the most famous architects in US history.  Not only are his homes and commercial spaces still visited regularly by tourists, but his style has inspired home designs in neighborhoods around the country.  From Taliesin to Fallingwater to the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Frank Lloyd Wright has his fingerprints imbedded in some of the most recognizable buildings in America.

As an interior designer, I had always heard that Wright had no use for anyone in my profession.  While I knew that he designed much of his own furniture, stained glass and other decorative items for the interiors of the homes he designed, I never realized the extent to which he took his design perfectionism.

Frank Lloyd Wrights "Fallingwater"

"Fallingwater" photo courtesy the Library of Congress website

The Minneapolis Star Tribune featured an interesting article in today’s edition, coinciding with the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Taliesin (Wright’s architecture school located in Spring Green, WI).  The article includes details about the design contracts Wright required his clients to sign – and those contracts are shocking!

Not only does the contract require that all the furnishings, accessories and furniture be designed by Wright, but it also requires the homeowners to make no changes to the property without the express consent of the architect!  They could not move in any other item into the home without permission.  Wright also required that they agree to surprise inspections, so he could ensure that his rules were being followed for years to come.  In his mind, evidently, there was no one who could design a space as well as he could.  All this from a man who could not design a comfortable chair.

So, how about it?  If a famed architect agreed to take on your home design project, would you agree to such terms?  Does such a contract prove that he was a design genius or does it indicate he was a few cans short of a sixpack – perfectionistic and egomaniacal to the extreme?  Leave a comment here – I would love to know what you think about Wright and his attitude toward design!



Filed under Interior Design News

2 responses to “Frank Lloyd Wright: Control Freak or Design Genius?

  1. I would not buy a house with those restrictions and think the man was quite strange to make such requirements. Definately a control freak and not one with which I would want to sign a contract.

  2. Having everything you need, and only that, in a gracious space is energy efficient and sustainable. Lack of clutter is good for your mental health, uncomfortable chairs encourage movement which creates physical well-being. Frank Lloyd Wright was a genius

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