In 1955, at the behest of House Beautiful editor Elizabeth Gordon, Frank Lloyd Wright produced his first and only textile patterns for the fabric manufacturer F. Schumacher & Co. In 2017, on the occasion of the famed architect’s 150th birthday, Schumacher is reproducing the short-lived line—a collection of vibrant modernist geometric forms and patterns—to a modern audience.
Originally part of a collection called Taliesin Line, after Wright’s estate, the fabrics joined a collection of furniture made by Heritage-Henredon, and a paint color collection produced by Martin-Senour paints, all marketed toward a middle-class market. The idea was that people who could not afford a Frank Lloyd Wright house could at least enjoy something designed by Wright, on an affordable and mass-manufactured scale. Wright designed the textile patterns along with a team at Schumacher, and oversaw the creation of the rest. In typical Wright fashion, the disagreeable architect took issue with the way the exhibition that accompanied the launch displayed the wares in ordinary, middle-class lounge rooms. Incensed by the banality of the spaces, Wright demanded his collection be pulled from the exhibition, prompting the director of Schumacher’s to not talk to him for a week.
When the current creative director of Schumacher’s, Dara Caponigro, came across the designs in the company archives three years ago, she ran into no such problems bringing them back to life. Schumacher’s worked with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to resurrect the decades-old patterns for a line of midcentury modernist fabrics—a style with an impressive staying power. They remain just as accessible a piece of Frank Lloyd Wright design as they were over half a century ago. “Anyone who loves design will appreciate their integrity and originality,” says Caponigro in a press release. “They have Mr. Wright’s indelible signature all over them and marry substance and style in a thoroughly unique way.”MM