Fröbel House, 2008
Research and Development
thread, tetra-paks; 10 x 12 inches
This is one of many projects based on the ideas of Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852), the German educator who designed, implemented and named the first kindergarten program. Fröbel’s program fashioned itself around a philosophy of unity, leading children to manipulate materials through various exercises (called “Gifts” and “Occupations”) to address forms of Nature, Knowledge and Beauty. Key modernist architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, passed through the program in its heyday, and some writers have made the case that it provided the seed-pearl of modernism.
Through an intimate exploration and reinvention of Fröbel’s exercises, Clark Espinal’s contemporary manifestations highlight the parallels between Fröbel’s concepts and modernist ideals. Fröbel House uses the second Occupation (Sewing-Out) to illustrate the program’s block design for a house that could be easily mistaken for a Frank Lloyd Wright design. Sewn on tetra-pak material, it shifts the imagery to a contemporary context, creating points of connection across time.