The Robie house furniture is what I would approach as a blend of Prairie Style and Mission/Craftsman Style. For Mission or Craftsman style… I pull in Frank Lloyd Wright. Even though the Robie house was a prarie style house I feel the major influence on his furniture was closer to the Mission Style. The furniture he produced have so many of the memorable features of these styles and help solidify it in my mind. The solid forms with integrated features like the spindles are at first glance not overly fancy or ornate, however, the spindles are necessarily structural as they would be in a Shaker piece. The wood is typically darker and not necessarily from the region the piece was produced. The specification and peculiar nature of Frank Lloyd Wright is manifested in the beautiful quarter sawn pieces of wood and the simplicity of form. Mission often has a padded seat but is not necessary. Styles like this are hard to pigeon hole as design periods are fluid and change throughout their span. It would be like trying to show someone a plate of food that was cooked in the “French” style… no two plates would look the same but their roots and the intention of each would be the same.
During this Year’s Furniture Market in High Point NC I had the opportunity to visit the Copeland Furniture Showroom. They have been approved to reproduce the Furniture of Frank Lloyd Wright and sell it publicly. When I looked at their furniture I saw differences between their work and the works I have seen at the Robie House in Chicago and Falling water in Pennsylvania. They explained they were allowed to make slight changes such as the angle of the back. Wright had produced a vertical back to the dining room chair set which is not marketable. The change shown here has a slight angle to the back to make them more comfortable.
Please visit Copeland’s website and enjoy their products. The craftsmanship is truly wonderful.