Phoenix AZ, Flagstaff, AZ and Denver, CO, April 3, 2020 – The American-made, modern kids’ furniture brand, Mod Mom Furniture, and leading toddler furniture maker, Little Colorado, are honored and excited to collaborate with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to create a line of modern children’s furniture. Some pieces will be inspired by Wright’s furniture designs, while others will be replicas of Wright furniture scaled down for children.
Because Frank Lloyd Wright is widely considered America’s greatest architect, finding domestic designs and manufacturing opportunities were critical components of the selection of Mod Mom Furniture and Little Colorado. Also of importance was Little Colorado’s willingness to abide by the guidelines of the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC), of which the Foundation is a member, extending Wright’s legacy of building in harmony with the land. The SFC is a coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers dedicated to raising awareness and expanding the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices across the home furnishings industry. Their mission is to help companies reduce their environmental footprints as they grow, and to help consumers find healthy furnishings. The industrial design, product development and manufacturing of Frank Lloyd Wright’s PlayHouse program will all occur in the United States: Mod Mom is based in Flagstaff, Arizona, the Foundation is based in Scottsdale, Arizona and all components of the manufacturing will happen at Little Colorado’s 27,000 square foot plant in Denver, Colorado.
The Foundation approached Mod Mom Furniture after hearing Mod Mom Furniture founder and designer, Kiersten Hathcock, speak at an interior design conference. The licensing agreement came together quickly because all three parties saw great potential in the idea, and the first product was prototyped within weeks. The origin of the brand name, PlayHouse, was a drawing of the word “playhouse” found in a drawing Wright created for a client project.
“The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation inspires the world through an understanding and experience of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ideas, architecture, and design. Developing a new line of children’s furniture that incorporates Wright’s design principles is a fantastic way to show new generations a beautiful and inspired way of living,” said Stuart Graff, president & CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
The first product to hit the market will be a play table and chair set. A prototype was on display during Modernism Week in Palm Springs; both consumers and design industry professionals were highly interested in the collection, with several requesting to purchase the prototype on the spot. Feedback throughout and after the event was so positive that the launch of the brand was moved up to April from August. Currently, three products are planned for 2020 launch, and eight products are in development for 2021 launch.
The design of Frank Lloyd Wright’s PlayHouse table and chairs take cues from the plywood furniture Wright designed for his Usonian homes. The first Usonian was built after the Great Depression at the request of a prospective client to create a home for his family for $5,000. Wright responded that he had been waiting his entire career for someone to ask him this, and went on to create sixty Usonian homes. The first Usonian home is included in the portfolio of eight Wright buildings that were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2019. Wright is the first modern American architect to receive the prestigious designation. “The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright,” as the committee designates the group, is one of only 24 American sites among the 1,000 on the World Heritage List.
The play table is designed to accommodate two children, ages 2-6; it can be ordered as a set of two chairs and a play table for $525, or as individual pieces: $290 for two chairs, and $290 for the play table. In addition to being inspired by Wright’s furniture designs – the first chairs in the program are small versions of original Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian chairs -- five different Frank Lloyd Wright graphics designs can be printed directly on the tabletop, or the tabletop can be left in its natural finish. Children enjoy the colorful tabletops and finding ways to incorporate the designs into their play. Parents and grandparents appreciate how the modern aesthetic of the pieces make them intuitive additions to current home furnishings.
The next piece scheduled for 2020 release is a child-sized scaled replica of Wright’s Origami Chair (also known as the Taliesin West chair), which is among his best-known furniture pieces. The original chair was designed by Wright and the Taliesin Fellows in 1949 for the Garden Room (Wright’s living room) at Taliesin West, and was the result of an exercise in the most efficient use of one piece of plywood to design one piece of furniture. Adult-sized replicas of the chair are available through Cassina for $3,500 - $5,000; the PlayHouse version of the chair will retail under $1,000. Brilliant in its simplicity, the PlayHouse Origami Chair creates the perfect place for kids to curl up with a good book. Prototypes are currently in development, and production is planned for May 2020.
Also in development are wooden play house kits; the designs are inspired by several of Wright’s buildings and are scheduled for Fall 2020 launch.
The products are available for preorder now at modmomfurniture.com and littlecolorado.com.
A portion of the proceeds from these products will support the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s mission to preserve Taliesin and Taliesin West for future generations, and inspire society through an understanding and experience of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ideas, architecture, and design.
Hare elaborated, “We plan to expand retail distribution to upscale independent brick and mortar stores throughout North America, and we anticipate that museum stores, as well as architecture and interior design professionals, will be interested as well. Not only do we see great sales potential for these unique products, but we’re excited to be associated with the Frank Lloyd Wright name as well. All of us at Little Colorado are delighted, and we would like to thank the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation for their confidence in us and applaud their support of small businesses and American manufacturing.”
About Mod Mom Furniture
Mod Mom Furniture was born in a Los Angeles garage in 2007, the product of self-taught designer and carpenter, Kiersten Hathcock. Her unique, eco-friendly, child-proven toy boxes have been sold throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. Hathcock’s storage pieces have been featured in the New York Times, Dwell Magazine, Elle Décor, Los Angeles Times and Better Homes and Gardens as well as in episodes of ABC’s Shark Tank and the Nate Berkus Show. For more information, visit ModMomFurniture.com.
After appearing on ABC’s hit TV show Shark Tank, Mod Mom founder and CEO Kiersten Hathcock continues to grow her garage-built furniture line in the US and abroad. Partnering with Little Colorado—a family-owned, highly-respected children’s furniture company established in 1986—provides the opportunity to expand production and distribution of existing and new, heirloom-quality “Mod Mom” designs throughout the United States and Canada.
“As a mom of two and self-taught carpenter, I put my heart and soul into designing and producing safe, well-made kids’ furniture right here in America,” Hathcock said. “I was thrilled to learn Little Colorado feels the same way I do and has successfully made it their mission to do just that for three decades.”
About Little Colorado
Grounded in a commitment to American manufacturing, Little Colorado was founded in Golden, Colorado in 1986. Since 2016 and under Bill Hare and Noelle Baker’s leadership, the company aims to lead the US-made, wooden toddler furniture market, with a focus on innovative, heirloom-quality designs. Forty-one unique products—from toy boxes, play tables and other creative play pieces, to toddler beds and bedroom furniture—are built by hand in their 27,000-square-foot plant in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Denver. For more information, visit littlecolorado.com.
About the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, established by Wright in 1940, is dedicated to preserving Taliesin and Taliesin West for future generations, and inspiring society through an understanding and experience of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ideas, architecture and design. Wright’s legacy, reflected in contemporary work around sustainable and affordable architecture and excellence in design, is of even greater importance today than in his own time. The Foundation is forward-looking, but rooted in the history of the Taliesin communities. Please visit FrankLloydWright.orgfor more information on tour schedules, cultural and educational experiences and events.