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Designtex Partners with Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

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NEW YORK—Designtex, a leading company in the development, design and manufacturing of applied materials for the built environment, announces the launch of Elemental Wright, a new collection of textiles, wallcoverings and custom materials that are rooted in the iconic teachings and philosophies of Frank Lloyd Wright. The collection draws inspiration from Wright’s pioneering approach of incorporating nature within the built environment for improved well-being.

Elemental Wright expands on some of Wright’s most pioneering principles, such as looking to nature to learn from its essential geometric systems and color palettes, making beautiful design accessible through his Usonian philosophy and encouraging his students to interpret his teachings. To prove that the design legacy’s reach extends well beyond the man, the Elemental Wright collection invites today’s designers to do the same.

“Frank Lloyd Wright’s design principles predate concepts that are ubiquitous in wellness discussions today, like biophilic design, human-centered design, and evidence-based design—the emphasis on our innate human tendency to seek connections within nature,” says Sara Balderi, Design Director for Designtex. “By seamlessly integrating his buildings with their natural surroundings, his designs promote a sense of harmony between the built environment and nature. These principles couldn’t be more important as commercial environments, and the people who work in them, undergo some of the biggest shifts we’ve seen in recent decades and crave connection to nature.”

“Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy is one of constant learning, experimentation and innovation,” said Stuart Graff, President of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. “We’re thrilled to see that legacy play out in this partnership with Designtex, whose team shares these values and has expressed them so faithfully in the Elemental Wright collection.”

Design Details

The collection introduces three woven upholstery textiles—one based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s original design, the other two based on artworks by Vern Swaback and Eugene Masselink, members of the Taliesin Fellowship—as well as two digitally printed wallcovering designs, a series of Digital Studio patterns, and a fully customizable digital asset that reissues Wright’s Design for Hillside Theatre Curtain to evoke their sense of proportion, ornamentation, material texture and consideration of biophilic principles for greater well-being.

Textiles: Geometry of Nature

Distilling the geometries of nature was one of Wright’s deepest philosophies. Each of these textile designs celebrates a separate foundational element—the circle, the triangle and the pentagon—that Wright and his apprentices sought to honor in their “organic architecture” designs and artwork. The Designtex creative team was drawn to Wright’s love of the kindergarten experience, with bold colors and focus on geometry, to build the textile elements of this collection.

  • Pentimento: A systematic floral pattern that expresses the inherent geometry in nature. Through the linework of the design, the underlying geometric structure lays a visible groundwork for a playful floral. This type of organized structure is a fundamental component of the teachings of Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Circulate: This graphic pattern captures the infinite quality of the circle, a shape revered by Wright. Organized in a grid, it playfully experiments with a variety of textures, weaves and tones that bring tactility and reflect just how integral nature’s foundational structures and principles were to Wright’s core philosophies.
  • Vertex: This dynamic triangle-based pattern presents an abstraction of natural forms on a triangular grid. The fractals nod to the repeated geometries found in our natural environment, also the basis of Wright’s pioneering belief in creating ‘an organic architecture’ well before the formalized notions of biophilic design.

Wallcoverings: Celebrating the Grid

These wallcovering designs build on the balance between order, pattern, and color to convey the openness and movement in nature, while also serving as a creative prompt for designers to unify ornamentation with purpose.

  • Fellowship: Fellowship is a digitally printed wallcovering pattern which celebrates the underlying grids that ground much of Wright’s work. The lines are created with a pencil texture to add depth and recall the weight of the lines in the original drawing. The simple interplay of lines can bring both rhythmic energy and quiet moments into a space.
  • Parquet: Parquet is a digitally printed wallcovering guided by Wright’s thinking that architecture consists of grammar, a vocabulary of pattern and form. The gridded design is interspersed with selective voids of space, to leave the eye wondering and wandering for more.

Digital Studio Designs: Modularity and Unity

Inspired by the forms and configurations of Wright’s stacking concrete blocks and the use of vertical structure, Designtex created a grouping of four patterns, Square Grid, Trellis Grid, Block Grid and Window Grid, available through the Designtex Digital Studio tool, allowing the designs to be custom colored and scaled for a multitude of possibilities. The patterns can be applied to substrates for both walls and textiles as well as mixed and matched. This offering plays into Wright’s desire to give all individuals the opportunity to live with customized design that complements their lives.

  • Square Grid: A simple linear grid of squares, inspired by Wright’s use of the grid as an organizing system throughout his work.
  • Trellis Grid: A slender, trellis-like grid also reminiscent of the concrete framed window blocks that allow light to filter into Wright’s spaces.
  • Block Grid: A rhythmic pattern that distills the way Wright approached ornamentation, such as clerestories, screens and concrete “textile blocks”.
  • Window Grid: An abstract pattern that emulates the horizontally oriented facades of Wright’s architecture and geometric window designs that added touches of color.

Hillside Theater

The original scale drawing for Frank Lloyd Wright’s epic Hillside Theater Curtain is the jumping off point for custom murals, textiles, and glass film. Thanks to the capabilities of digital printing, Designtex can convey the fidelity of Wright’s pioneering vision into a custom-made product. The design can either be produced in its original scale or by enlarging specific sections to complement a site and is easily translated across a range of materials and scales for custom-engineered textiles, wallcoverings, and glass films.

Available in its original Spring Green colorway and a more neutral Limestone color palette, the design can also be realized in custom colorways to truly create something one-of-a-kind.

Designtex joins a legacy of partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. In 1939, Designtex’s parent company Steelcase produced the original office furniture for Wright’s

SC Johnson Administration Building in Racine, Wis. That partnership continued through the 1980s with Steelcase’s ongoing stewardship of Wright’s Meyer May House in Grand Rapids, Mich. and again in 2023, when Steelcase launched its Frank Lloyd Wright furniture collection.

To view the Elemental Wright collection and learn more, visit designtex.com.

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