International Decorative Art

Chair from the SC Johnson Wax Building

Chair from the SC Johnson Wax Building

Design Date 1937

Designer Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959, American)

Manufacturer Steelcase Furniture Company, Grand Rapids, MI

Media enameled aluminum with cloth upholstery

Dimensions 34 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 22 inches

Frank Lloyd Wright is known for designing all aspects of a building, from the architecture to the furnishings, as a total work of art. From 1936 to 1939 Wright designed the SC Johnson & Son Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin, manufacturer of household cleaning products, notably wood paste wax. He also created over 40 pieces of furniture for the building, including this office chair. The building includes an expansive Great Workroom with huge columns—commonly called “lily pads”—with round tops that support the ceiling and taper as they near the floor. The circular design of the columns is echoed in the chairs and desks Wright designed for the space. The first iteration of this office chair had three legs, which Wright argued encouraged good posture and would be stable if sat in correctly, if not you would tip over. Wright later approved a design for a four-legged chair, like this one, likely to acknowledge concerns that first-time visitors to the building were likely to fall. We believe the bottom of the legs of this chair have been slightly shortened or otherwise modified by a previous owner.

ON VIEW in Promenade Gallery 2

Markings unmarked

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2011.0177