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Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates. Grandmother, 1983. Pigment on cotton sateen. 56 inches (142.24 cm) (width). Photo credit: Will Brown. Steve Izenour, of Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates. Flowers pattern appliqué decorating a stairwell, 1998. Sintra board and wall paint. Installation at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1315 Cherry Street, Philadelphia (former location). Dimensions variable. Photo credit: Will Brown. Steve Izenour, of Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates. Steve Izenour (installation view), 2001. Courtesy of Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates. Photo credit: Julie Marquart.
Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates. Grandmother, 1983. Pigment on cotton sateen. 56 inches (142.24 cm) (width). Photo credit: Will Brown.
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Steve Izenour, of Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates. Flowers pattern appliqué decorating a stairwell, 1998. Sintra board and wall paint. Installation at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1315 Cherry Street, Philadelphia (former location). Dimensions variable. Photo credit: Will Brown.
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Steve Izenour, of Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates. Steve Izenour (installation view), 2001. Courtesy of Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates. Photo credit: Julie Marquart.
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Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown & Associates

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown worked collaboratively with the FWM from 1980 to 1982 to create several new fabric designs. Their longtime associate, Steve Izenour—a principal with Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates from 1969 until his death in 2001—returned in 1993, first to design a floor plan for the FWM’s new home at 1315 Cherry Street, and later to create a graphics and signage program to direct visitors to exhibition galleries and other public areas.

The design inspiration for Grandmother (1983) came from an old tablecloth belonging to the grandmother of an associate of Venturi and Scott Brown. They modified the tablecloth’s floral print and added an overlay pattern of dashes. Venturi has described the initial design idea: “We wanted a pattern . . . that was explicitly pretty in its soft, curvy configurations and sweet combinations of colors, and represented as well something with nice associations, those of flowers. By juxtaposing the two patterns, the dashes and the grandmother-tablecloth, we achieved design involving dramatic contrasts of scale, rhythm, color, and association, and one that is usable in many ways.” In 1998, Steve Izenour updated the firm’s 1982 prototype for Flowers fabric, which was originally developed from the facade design for Best Products. Izenour modified the abstracted floral design—changing the colors and scale, and fabricating them from a rigid plastic material called Sintra board—and arranged the resulting large-scale, free-floating flowers on a sea of mint green for the stairway connecting the FWM’s fifth and sixth floors.

Bio
Robert Venturi, American, born 1925, lives in Philadelphia
Denise Scott Brown, American, born Zambia 1931, lives in Philadelphia
Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown have been practicing architecture, writing critical architectural theory and teaching together since the mid-1960s. Their award-winning work has influenced new generations of architects and designers, and includes building projects such as the Seattle Art Museum, a new wing for the National Gallery, London, Gordon Wu Hall at Princeton University, as well as Venturi’s early works: Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia, his mother’s residence, and the facade for Best Products in Oxford Valley, Pennsylvania. Venturi’s theoretical writing has been critical to the development and understanding of postmodern theory in architecture, from Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, to Learning from Las Vegas, written with Denise Scott Brown and their colleague Steven Izenour. Their four decades of architectural and design work was the subject of Out of the Ordinary: Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates, a 2001 exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and The Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.