While working on his last major project—the Guggenheim—Frank Lloyd Wright stayed at the Plaza. His impressive 4,000-square-foot corner suite there was his home from 1954 to 1959, the last six years of his life.
The architect had been traveling to New York for business and pleasure for decades but was not shy in expressing his less-than-favorable opinion of the Big Apple. He disliked its skyscrapers, its sporadic growth, and its urban disconnect from nature.
But he loved the Plaza. He singled it out as “the only beautiful hotel” in New York and stayed there every time he visited since 1909. When required to stay in New York to work on the Guggenheim, Wright would regard the Plaza as the only place in the City that he could call home. His massive luxury suite at the Plaza overlooking Central Park served as both his living space as well as his office. He completely remodeled the suite according to his design principles, outfitting it with black lacquer furniture custom-built by his apprentices.
Frank Lloyd Wright wasn’t the first famous personality to occupy the suite. It once belonged to Diamond Jim Brady, a famous gilded age personality notorious for his legendary gluttony. Speaking of the rich and famous, Frank Lloyd Wright held all of his business meetings with current and perspective clients in the suite. Meetings with Solomon Guggenheim and his mistress the Baroness Hilla von Rebay (the co-founder and first curator of the Guggenheim Museum) during the construction of the Guggenheim Museum were held at the Plaza. The most famous of his prospective clients who came to the suite to discuss building a home was Marilyn Monroe. Ms. Monroe was at times even accompanied by her playwright husband Arthur Miller. Mr. Wright designed a beautiful home for the couple, but it was never built.
Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most important architects of the 20th century, was known for designing his own houses. He called his home in Wisconsin Taliesin, meaning “shining-brow” in Welsh. Later in life he moved to Arizona and built a second Taliesin, which he called Taliesin West. It’s a testament to the Plaza that despite his negative feelings towards New York, the famed architect bestowed upon his suite the honor of being called his third Taliesin—Taliesin East.