1

1

 

1

7

 

0

8

 

D

E

S

I

G

N

 

1

1

 

1

7

 

0

8

 

D

E

S

I

G

N

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

   
       
 

Frankly speaking...

   
 

Pattern is Everything

   

 

  

 

Pattern is everywhere - it lies beneath the surface of things and even in chaos it emerges. The art is often in the discernment of the underlying motif. 

A little over two weeks ago, on October 30th, the Guggenheim celebrated the restoration of the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece.

Commissioned in the 1940s to design a museum to display the modern art of painters like Klee and Mondrian, Wright was asked to come up with something unlike any other museum in the world.  What he did, and brilliantly, was to take the rigid lines of Modernism and mold it into something organic - overlapping geometric pattern with patterns from nature.  The floor plan owes everything to Euclidean geometry, but the very form of the spiral building is influenced by the nautilus shell and like a snail's shell the museum's interior is one large space with a ramp that winds around the sides.  And looking down at it all is the spider's web that marks the skylight of the roof. 

The nature photography of Karl Blossfeldt influenced many architects and designers of the time and perhaps had some influence on Wright.  Blossfeldt's photographs of plants revealed the beauty and intricacy of patterns in nature and he used them in his classes at a Berlin college to study the relationship between nature and architecture - pattern in nature as a basis in the creation of the motif and as a design element.  His photographs are in simple gray tones - the focus is on structure and pattern - and nature is reduced to abstraction.

Wright's Guggenheim is a study in circles, arcs and triangles that echo each other throughout the design of the building in the smallest detail and also become a part of the spiral and the spider's web.  The layering of pattern from geometry and pattern from nature is not only an overlap but the harmonious melding of both. 

Now, there is a different type of pattern overlapping these two patterns - a site-specific installation of illuminated text by Jenny Holzer on the façade to commemorate the completion of a three-year restoration.  Her text, a pattern of its own, streams down the façade in bold white letters incorporating the poetry of Polish Nobel-prize winner Wislawa Szymborska and political epigrams.  On view from sunset until 11 p.m. on Friday evenings through the end of the year, with a special show on New Year's Eve.  

Frankly speaking, pattern is everything!

 

Disover: Blossfeldt, Tashchen 

Read: Loving Frank, a novel, Nancy Horan

Read: Frank Lloyd Wright in New York, Hession, Pickrel

 

Tags: new york buildings  photography  architecture   design  pattern

 

Share:    

 

 

 


 Maidenhair fern, young unfurling fronds,
Karl Blossfeldt

 

 

 

       
 

 
       
     

Subscribe About Us Editorial Policy Privacy Policy Contact Us Unsubscribe  

Press Archives Search  

 

 

©2009 eCognoscente