Frank Lloyd Wright for Cassina Midway 2 and 3 Enameled Steel Dining Set Gray For Sale
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Frank Lloyd Wright for Cassina Midway 2 and 3 Enameled Steel Dining Set Gray

About

Wright designed midway chair 1 (wood) and midway chair 2 (steel) in 1914 for the indoor and outdoor spaces of midway, respectively. (The original FLW sketch for midway 2 is included as Image 2.) Unfortunately the project ran out of funds by the time it came to furniture production and so FLW's designs were not realized at the time. In 1986, the FLW foundation and Cassina worked together to produce the midway 2 chair in a limited edition. Enameled steel rod, available in either white, orange-red, dark grey (available here) and blue. It was available without or without the gadded back and featured simple cream white fabric upholstery. The matching tables were sold with round or square crystal glass tops. Each numbered and stamped by manufacturer and FLW foundation. Here we have a set of four midway 2 Chairs, in charcoal grey, original finish and fabric, original round glass top, padded back, signed and numbered with original tags (!). Single owner set and sold as set here. Extremely rare to come across a full set in original condition including table and glass. Table base dimensions: Height: 26.5 inches, width: 20.5 inches Glass top is approximately 47 inches in diameter and 0.5 inches thick More info about Midway Gardens: Location: Chicago Built: 1914 Demolished: 1929 A true renaissance architect, Wright designed buildings of all shapes and sizes during his long career: homes, hotels, office buildings, museums, schools, churches, chapels and synagogues and even a doghouse. In 1913-1914, he was commissioned by his friend Edward C. Wallar to design a German-style beer hall and entertainment center known as Midway Gardens in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Midway Gardens and the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo were FLW's largest commissions up to that point (1913-1914) and were designed in this particularly fruitful 24 month period. Opened to a huge amount of fanfare on the site of the former Sans Souci amusement park with a performance from the National Symphony Orchestra, Midway Gardens was an upscale, indoor-outdoor complex built in the popular-at-the-time Prairie School style. It served as a venue for concerts, dance performances, fine dining and, of course, heavy drinking. Midway was a complicated structure - or series of structures, indoor and outdoor spaces that is difficult to summarize. I would suggest Paul Kurty’s “Frank Lloyd Wright and Midway Gardens” 1998, as an essential resource for understanding this elaborate work of art. There are also great video resources online that help bring Midway to life (Unfortunately I cannot link to those videos here). Midway was comprised of a music pavilion and stage, arcades on either side of the terraced summer gardens, an indoor lobby, club, tavern, two belvederes, promenades, cigar concession stands, two sunken gardens and pools, dance floors, cantilevered balconies, terraces, gardens and courtyards. Not only did Wright design the building itself, but he also oversaw the creation of the furniture, interior fixtures, artwork and even the dishes and napkin holders. Wright also co-designed a series of concrete sculptures named “sprites” with Italian-born sculptor Alfonso Ianelli (a collaboration that, true to Wright style, ended in a squabble over artistic ownership). In keeping with Wright's style, the building also featured rows of art glass and hidden entries. In his 1932 autobiography, FLW states that "in the Midway Gardens, painting and sculpture recovered their original position in architecture." In 1916, Midway Gardens changed hands and became Edelweiss Gardens. Under new ownership, the complex was less highbrow with a new emphasis placed on vaudeville and cabaret acts. After (barely) surviving Prohibition, the former Midway Gardens changed hands yet again in 1921 and was renamed Midway Dancing Gardens by its new owner, E. C. Dietrich Midway Automobile Tire and Supply Company. Finally, after 15 years of financial struggle, Midway Gardens was razed and bulldozed into Lake Michigan as a breakwater. It’s rumoured that the building was so solidly constructed from bricks and concrete blocks that the demolition sent two wrecking companies out of business and a third into bankruptcy.

Details

  • Condition Details
    Good vintage condition. Retains original finish, fabric & glass. Textile shows age appropriate wear (see photos). We are leaving it up to their new owner(s) to decide whether or if to recover/ repair aged areas of textile. We'd be happy to help
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions
    H 34.65 in. x W 16 in. x D 18.12 in.H 88.02 cm x W 40.64 cm x D 46.03 cm
  • Seller Location
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Sold As
    Set of 5
  • Reference Number
    LU4190315292541
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About Frank Lloyd Wright (Designer)

Without question the greatest architect the United States has ever produced, Frank Lloyd Wright and his philosophy of “organic architecture” — of buildings that exist in harmony with their natural surroundings — had a profound influence on the shape of modern life. Wright gave us some of the most elegant and iconic structures in America: residences such as “Fallingwater,” in rural Pennsylvania, the Robie House in Chicago, and “Taliesin,” Wright’s own home; and masterful institutional structures that include the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois, the Johnson Wax headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

     Whenever possible, Wright designed the furniture for his projects, to ensure an affinity between a building’s exterior and interior. Wright’s wooden chairs and tables for his “Prairie Houses” of the early 1900s have sleek, attenuated forms, influenced by both the simplicity of traditional Japanese design and the work of Gustav Stickley and other designers of the Arts and Crafts movement. For Taliesin and several residential projects, Wright designed severely geometric chairs that are marvels of reductivist design. He revisited many of these forms in the 1950s in furniture licensed to the firm Henredon, adding a decorative frieze-like element to the edges of tables and stools.

     The works on these pages also show how happily Wright embraced new forms and materials. His desks and chairs for Johnson Wax have a streamlined look and use tubular steel to the same effect as designer Warren McArthur, who collaborated with Wright in the interiors of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. For the Price Tower (1956) in Oklahoma, Wright designed angular wooden desks as well as upholstered pedestal chairs made of chromed steel — audacious furniture for his tallest completed building project. The beauty of Frank Lloyd Wright’s furniture designs is that while many of us wish we could live in one of houses, his chairs, tables, and sofas connect us directly to his architecture, and to the history he made.

Read more about Frank Lloyd Wright in Introspective Magazine

About the Seller

5 / 5
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1stdibs seller since 2018
Located in Brooklyn, NY
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