02 October 2009

The Wright way to live is the right way to give

New York always inspires me. My trip to the Guggenheim in August was no exception. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, there was an exhibit of Frank Lloyd Wright's work. Since my favorite period of Los Angeles history is the 1920s, you can imagine how excited I was to learn that the Mr. Doheny commissioned Wright in 1923 to develop his ranch into a residential neighborhood. If only it had been built! I would be enjoying concrete block homes nestled into the hillside. Now, we sadly have Trousdale estates.

Another find was displayed in a large room of the circular ramp. It wasn't the sketches of various homes and landscapes. It was a dissected model of a Usonian home suspended on wires so you could see how each layer was designed and constructed.

It struck me that society has lost sight of what really matters. It's not about living bigger. It's about living better. If you are smart about design. Understand your needs and how it's supposed to function. Living well, to Wright, was a privilege of the masses, not the classes. Coming out of the Great Depression, Wright knew that if society enjoyed where they lived that they would be happy and more productive. He designed a home that met peoples' needs- economical and functional.

Value. Quality. Pride.

It made me think about American designers today. How they interpret a need and fabricate their ideas. How their designs meet our needs today.

When I buy something for my home or store, I want something beautiful, something that starts conversation, something fun. The bonus for me is not having to spend a lot of money.

There is great design out there that is affordable. That's what I think is going to make the best gifts this year- either to yourself or to friends. Lo-cost. Hi-value.

Here are some examples of the innovative thinking on the market today:

Bamboo dry erase caddy

Camera tripod- attaches to any water bottle

Stickr sets in vibrant pink and neutral gray

Tyvek luggage tags

Tyvek wallets