There is a rather strong intersection between architecture and culture. Architecture serves as a medium through which a society expresses part of their culture. The design of spaces is done in a manner that not only satisfies the needs of their way of living but also accents some qualities of this manner of life making the spaces more fulfilling for users. Besides architectural form, interior design of spaces plays a gargantuan role in portraying and reflecting culture. The goal of interior design is to enhance the quality and feel of interior spaces to make them livable for the users. Incorporating culture into interior design is thus a common strategy in making users associate with a space and feel comfortable in it. This paper will analyze the prairie style of interior design and how it reflects the culture of North Americans.
The prairie style was perfected and popularized by renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright particularly in his designs of the falling water and the Taliensin. The prairie style reflects the culture and life within the prairie grasslands of North America. This region is marked with scenes of flowing plains with dense grasses. The feeling of nature and openness is exemplified in this region. Prairie interior design seeks to integrate this interconnection with open, flowing nature into design of interior spaces (Amitykett, 2020). It is a style based on a philosophy of organic architecture which seeks to unify architecture and nature such that they co-exist in harmony. As such, the prairie style of interior design seeks to incorporate the exterior within interior spaces as one seamless interconnection. The goal is to make the spaces feel connected to nature as much as possible rather than in conflict or different from nature.
In prairie interior design various strategies are employed to integrate exteriors and nature into interior spaces. This includes making rooms and spaces feel open and flowing into each other through use of light and minimal partitions (Amitykett, 2020). The use of natural elements from the immediate environment such as stone and wood is also common. More so the color and texture quality of these materials is taken into consideration. Particularly, the prairie style of interior design associates with a rustic feel of spaces whereby elements are left rugged as would be in the landscape rather than polished (Amitykett, 2020). As such, rough-hewn beams, stacked logs, unpolished stone surfaces are common features creating a rustic feeling that embodies the quality of immediate environments. In regards to color quality, prairie interior design seeks to limit use of colors to those identifiable with surroundings such as green for vegetation, brown and red ochre for soil and shades of gray and beige to mimic surrounding rock quality. As such, bright colors such as blue, yellow and pink are normally absent within interior spaces.
Prairie Interior Design (note the emphasis on ruggedness and minimalist colors)
Modifying Prairie Interior Design
The prairie style of interior design is a kind of purist concept in attaining the feel of spaces. The use of bright colors is rejected in favor of dull colors that identify with surroundings while surfaces are left rugged as they would appear in nature. However, the prairie style also heavily features the use of geometric shapes and straight lines (Amitykett, 2020). This character of the prairie style is a contradiction in its emphasis for harmony with nature. In nature, objects rarely appear in geometric shapes but rather take various irregular shapes and forms. The design of elements and furniture in prairie interiors should reflect this absolute truth. Biomimicry should be incorporated in the design to vive varied forms that would feel more natural within these spaces. Geometric forms are obtrusive to the purist character of prairie architecture and arguably adulterate the style. To achieve a perfect harmony with nature, prairie design should accommodate the use of irregular forms and shapes as found in nature.
Amitykett. (2020, September 17). Defining the Prairie School Style and It’s Midwestern American Origins. Retrieved from amitykett.com: https://amitykett.com/defining-prairie-school-interior-design-and-architecture/