FROM CHAIRS to stained-glass windows, estate-authorized reproductions of Frank Lloyd Wright furnishings are a booming business. One recent addition to that series--F. Schumacher & Co.'s collection of Wright wall coverings, fabrics and borders--has a Los Angeles hook. In 1917, Wright came to Los Angeles at the invitation of oil millionairess Aline Barnsdall. For her, he designed a house, completed in 1920, with a monumentality and high mansard roof that suggest some ancient Mayan hill temple. Also Mayan in inspiration are stylized cast-stone hollyhocks ringing the cornice, resembling temple carvings.
During the next few years, Wright’s Los Angeles-area houses took the Mayan theme further with an ingenious structural system of precast hollow concrete block, strung through with steel rods and reinforced with poured concrete. Here the wall presents not a barrier to the outside but a link to it. The blocks, with their Mayan-like patterned surface, march along exterior and interior surfaces alike, including beams and ceilings as well as walls. It not only makes for a cumulative effect of primitive exoticism but also has great meaning within Wright’s aesthetic philosophy. All the 72 years of his career, Wright sought to emulate the harmony of nature in his architecture; the Los Angeles block wall meets that challenge.
Schumacher fabrics and wall coverings reproduce Wright’s drawings for the Ennis and Storer houses, in a variety of colors. Ironically, today the labyrinthine Ennis motif evokes a schematic diagram for a computer chip as much as Mayan carvings. No matter: Now your home can boast the genius of America’s greatest architect at the height of his Los Angeles phase.
Available exclusively through interior designers. For more information on the collection (which includes other patterns as well), telephone (800) 423-5881.