The Midway Gardens were one of the largest works up to that point of Frank Lloyd Wright’s carrier. They were built between 1913 and 1914, in the same period as the Prairie Houses. This leisure centre consisted of a wide central courtyard, with a beer garden, a dance floor and a concert stage, surrounded by three-story buildings. In this project, all the applied arts such as furniture, mural painting, sculpture, tableware, lighting or textile works are integrated in the design of the building.
The outdoor furniture shares the lightness and happiness that characterises the building. Tables and chairs are made of extremely thin steel rods painted in bright orange that support a glass table top. The oval back and seat of the chairs are alike the ones used a few years later in the Johnson Wax Building.
Indoors, the Midway Gardens dining chairs are the first use of a hexagonal shape in Wright’s work. A hexagonal-shaped back is also the main feature of the chairs for Wrigt’s Imperial Hotel, built in Tokyo in 1921 and famous because it resisted the Great Kantô Earthquake in 1923. In the Imperial Hotel’s chairs, Wright rotated the hexagonal back so its angles pointed up and down, introducing a dynamic element but also mirroring the exposed triangle-shaped beams of the hotel’s pitched ceiling. The dynamism was also enhanced by the diagonals of the slanted back and the X-shaped frame of the chairs.