Iron Ceiling Part 1 – I love Frank Lloyd Wright

Now back to the renovation at hand and tackle the lighting issue in the West gallery. It is a vaulted ceiling that’s nearly 16′ high, so getting retail lighting in this space without having a jumble of track lights plastered to the ceiling was a problem.

I have always been a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright and find a lot of inspiration in many of his iconic buildings. Although I’ll never have the big budget to create something that would do his architectural skills justice, I did use two of his designs to incorporate into the iron ceiling design.

Clooney_Play_House_WindowsFirst is the Avery Coonley  playhouse built in 1912 in Chicago. It was a building constructed for Mrs. Coonley to teach kindergarten. The windows were designed to look like confetti and balloons. The original windows were sold at auction many years ago – but in 1988 the owners had the windows recreated.

Midway-GardensI also incorporated a frieze detail from the Midway Gardens that opened in Chicago June 27, 1914 and was sadly demolished on October 10, 1929. I loved the angled geometric designs used thought-out the structure. And those Garden Sprites – love them Sprites.

Wright ceiling arm detailHere is my original concept to the iron fabricators. I wanted the circular elements to have some of the same design passages that the Coonley House offered, and I used the angle design elements from the Midway Gardens. My original design has small stained glass roundels added.

Wright ceiling arm completeThe completed arm for the ceiling supports. The angled arms follow the slope of the gallery ceiling. These arms span nearly 12′.

Ceiling side view final copyThis is the side view of the installation. There are four of the arms attached to the ceiling with the two central arms acting as an attachment point for the light carriage below.

ceiling top detailLooking up – this is the design that spans the length of the room. The scale is a little deceiving, as this element is 24′ long. The center long thin rectangle was to cover the ceiling joints to hide the irregular seam.  I added two recessed lights for the red elements that are lit with LEDs. The original ceiling light location was converted to a fan.

I know the iron fabricators thought I was crazy – but a job is a job.  I have no fancy drafting tools, so all was done in an old version of MS Publisher, a tape measure and ambition. I suppose we’re off on an interesting journey.

We’ll see how it works out – stay tuned.


9 thoughts on “Iron Ceiling Part 1 – I love Frank Lloyd Wright

  1. OMG, you are a man after my own heart!! I am a big Wright fan. In fact, my husband and I were just looking a an FLW gift catalog minutes ago! The Coonley design is probably my favorite. Last summer we visited Taliesin and Oak Park (kind of a religious experience). While there, I bought a Coonley stencil, which I’m thinking of using in our breakfast room. Can’t wait to see how your design turned out!

    • Thanks D’Arcy! When we got married, we spent our mini honeymoon in Oak Park – unfortunately not in a FLW house and we didn’t get to visit any of his homes in Chicago because we spent our time there at an art auction. This was quite the project, hanging a contraption larger than a car from the ceiling.

  2. I love the playhouse windows. I had the incredible good fortune of having my talented uncle create a playhouse inspired stain glass panel for us. It hangs over our dining room window, which faces east. Eating breakfast each morning and admiring the bright colours and the varied shapes is a great way to start the day.

  3. Really neat! I read the Nov 8 post first (I’m a little behind) but I’m glad that I did, it really helped me visualize what you had intended with the drawings. I must say, I’m glad you didn’t add color to the ironwork. Looks stunning as is.

    We have a house in our neighborhood designed by one of FLW’s students. I should post a photo some time. If you ever get out to the East Coast, check out Falling Water and Kentuck Knob (if you haven’t already) in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. Pretty cool.

    • Thanks Janet! I know the iron workers didn’t know what to think of my design either. If I’m out on the East Coast, I’ll check out those houses. I’m sure I’ll need to drive to Pennsylvania to pick up something for the house.

    • Thanks, Ian! It is an odd project and like everything I do, people just look at me and scratch their heads – but I hope there is a method to my madness.

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