“It’s Hip to Be Square”

-Huey Lewis and the News

Frank Lloyd Wright houses often feature a geometric theme.  The Goetsch-Winckler is based on a 4’ square grid scored into the concrete floor and reiterated by the 4’ square sheets of plywood in the ceiling.

Studio Ceiling View

The rooms, windows, doors, and built-ins line up on the 4’ grid, and the dining chairs and ottomans have square upholstered sections.


Dining Table Section with Chairs

Whoever built the wine rack/shelf insert in the kitchen was inspired by both the square motif and the cantilevered planes.

Wine Rack Insert

I’ve begun to research the symbolic meaning of the square in art, architecture and world cultures. Because the square can mean SO many things to so many people, Frank Lloyd Wright included,  I believe it is up to me to find meaning in this geometric form as I inhabit the house.  Currently it gives me a sense of stability and order, recalls the seasons and directions, and inspires me to continue researching its meaning in various Eastern cultures.

I remain aware of the square motif when choosing decorative items (daybed pillows, the pattern on the master bedroom duvet) but without mindlessly defaulting to it, e.g. although Fiestaware is now offered in a square pattern I chose the original round.

Duvet Cover

In many elements of the house, the square is hidden within the  rectangular shapes of boards, walls, windows, doors and furniture.  I hope my architect readers will direct us all to scholarly works on this theme in the Comments section.

One particular item with hidden squares is the end table FLW designed for the house.  We have three of these, each a slightly different size by fractions of an inch.  We use them in the bedrooms.  They were included in the purchase of the home, and follow the original blueprint, but I am not aware of when they were constructed.

End Table

While searching for inspiration to design a logo for the house my gaze settled on the end table. Initially one sees the single square and rectangles formed by the shelf but on closer observation the nine square grid so prevalent in Eastern culture can be overlaid on the table.

End Table Square Overlay

After endless reworking (graphic design is not my occupation, it’s my preoccupation) I came up with a nine square inspired design that incorporated our Fiestaware colors. Of course, Frank Lloyd Wright’s name had to be featured in his signature red square!