Johnson Wax Headquarters is the world headquarters and administration building of S. C. Johnson & Son in Racine, Wisconsin. Designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright for the company’s president, Herbert F. “Hib” Johnson, the building was constructed from 1936 to 1939. Its distinctive “lily pad” columns and other innovations revived Wright’s career at a point when he was losing influence. Also known as the Johnson Wax Administration Building, it and the nearby 14-story Johnson Wax Research Tower (built 1944–1950) were designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976 as Administration Building and Research Tower, S.C. Johnson and Son.
The Johnson Wax Headquarters were set in an industrial zone and Wright decided to create a sealed environment lit from above, as he had done with the Larkin Administration Building. The building features Wright’s interpretation of the streamlined Art Moderne style popular in the 1930s. In a break with Wright’s earlier Prairie School structures, the building features many curvilinear forms and subsequently required over 200 different curved “Cherokee red” bricks to create the sweeping curves of the interior and exterior. The mortar between the bricks is raked in traditional Wright-style to accentuate the horizontality of the building. The warm, reddish hue of the bricks was used in the polished concrete floor slab as well; the white stone trim and white dendriform columns create a subtle yet striking contrast. All of the furniture, manufactured by Steelcase, was designed for the building by Wright and it mirrored many of the building’s unique design features.