Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown worked collaboratively with 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 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” (VSBA Archives, project statement, July 19, 1990).
In 1998, Steve Izenour updated the firm’s 1982 prototype for Flowers fabric, which was originally developed from the façade 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.