Frank Lloyd Wright: The Master and Motawi

We like to think that if Frank Lloyd Wright were still designing, he'd be using Motawi tile. It's a nice thought.

Our Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation ® collection grew out of an encounter at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. It was during an Arts & Crafts convention, and our founder, Nawal Motawi, was approached by a representative from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. He thought that Motawi tiles would be a good fit for Wright’s designs. Nawal Motawi naturally thought so, too.

She began to peruse the Wright archives in search of potential tile designs. After a good deal of digging, she came across Wright's graphic cover designs for Liberty magazine.

Wright had designed for Liberty during a particularly lean spell. Some of his proposed covers were considered too "out," but several were published. Above, he illustrates "March Balloons," which Motawi would turn into a tile of the same name.


“I really like selecting fragments and discrete parts of his graphic work for Motawi tile," claims Nawal. "The trick is to keep the essence of his design while rendering it in our technique. No matter your source you’re still interpreting. You want to have a respectful rendering. There’s something about Wright’s balance. He’s special—unique. Wright’s design sensibility is inimitable.” 

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural l & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York) All rights reserved.

Our most recent Frank Lloyd Wright tile design comes from a wood door grille in a Wright-designed home in Oak Park, Illinois—The Nathan Moore House. The circular and abstract oak leaf motif were commonly used by Wright at the time.



©/®/™2016 The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. All rights reserved.