SC Johnson Opens 2016 Tour Season with Frank Lloyd Wright Rare Artifacts, Furniture and Art Inspired by His Designs

Company Celebrates Its Iconic Research Tower and Wingspread Buildings as Stops on Wisconsin’s New Frank Lloyd Wright Trail

SC Johnson opens its 2016 tour season with a new exhibit beginning May 6.
New exhibit showcases rare Frank Lloyd Wright artifacts and furniture.

RACINE, Wis., (May 5, 2016) – SC Johnson announced today that it will open its tour season beginning May 6 with a new exhibit, “Building Relationships: Wright, Johnson and the SC Johnson Campus,” showcasing rare Frank Lloyd Wright artifacts and furniture, and art inspired by his designs. The exhibit explores how Wright’s work influenced other famous architects and features models of local landmarks. One of the featured Wright designs is the famed chair with three legs that has been “exploded” to show the design. The chair was specially designed for SC Johnson, and Wright lobbied hard to gain acceptance of the three-legged chair, arguing that if a person had proper posture the chair functioned correctly. Wright eventually approved the SC Johnson chair design with four legs.

“This new exhibit on SC Johnson’s campus headquarters in Racine exemplifies the rich heritage of the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and our company’s third-generation leader, H.F. Johnson Jr., which greatly advanced the field of business architecture,” said Kelly Semrau, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability. “We are thrilled to continue our tradition of sharing Wright’s important legacy in our state with the world by being a part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail, with stops at the SC Johnson campus and Wingspread.”

In 1936, SC Johnson leader, H.F. Johnson Jr. sought the expertise of Wright, and a legendary partnership began. Wright went on to design the company’s Administration Building, which opened in 1939 and the Research Tower which opened its doors in 1950. With Wright’s signature organic design that was heavily influenced by natural elements, these spaces provided an innovative atmosphere that inspired SC Johnson employees to develop new approaches, methods and products. This new direction eventually changed the company’s trajectory, diversifying SC Johnson beyond its famed wax products to become one of the world’s most trusted consumer product goods companies.

Experience Frank Lloyd Wright on SC Johnson’s Campus

Along with visiting the newly curated exhibit in the SC Johnson Gallery, located inside the Lord Norman Foster-designed, 7,000 sq. ft. Fortaleza Hall, guests will be able to explore several Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces. This includes H.F. Johnson Jr.’s refurbished 1940s penthouse office* in the Administration Building. Opened in 1939, the office has been expertly restored to its original state and features original Wright-designed desk and chairs, as well as memorabilia that provide a deeper look into SC Johnson’s rich history and family legacy.

The tour continues in the Administration Building’s famed Great Workroom, featuring its signature lily pad-like columns, and then moves on to the Research Tower, the space that served as the hub of creativity where some of the world’s most beloved household products were developed, including Raid®, Glade®, OFF! ® and Pledge®.  Both the Administration Building and the Research Tower are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

  • The SC Johnson Campus Tour – This guided tour is designed for guests who want a comprehensive look at SC Johnson’s Wright-inspired architecture. The tour includes the Wright-designed Administration Building, including H.F. Johnson Jr.’s office and the Great Workroom, as well as the Research Tower. Visitors will also be able to see the Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall, designed by Wright-enthusiast Lord Norman Foster, The Lily Pad, a gift shop that features exclusive SC Johnson memorabilia and Wright-inspired items, and The SC Johnson Gallery, featuring the new “Building Relationships: Wright, Johnson and the SC Johnson Campus” exhibit. In addition to the famous three-legged chair that has been “exploded”, the exhibit features original drawings of the Research Tower and a scale model of the interior of the Great Workroom.
  • Wingspread Tour – Located about five miles north of SC Johnson’s main campus, the guided tour of Wingspread brings guests into the home Frank Lloyd Wright designed for H.F. Johnson Jr. and his family. At 14,000 square feet, the Prairie-style house is the largest in Wright’s portfolio and has remarkable features, such as the disappearing dining table, a teepee-inspired clerestory ceiling in the great room, and the cantilevered “Romeo and Juliet” balcony bedroom.

All tours begin at the company’s Golden Rondelle Theater, which was designed for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair and redesigned for the SC Johnson campus by Taliesin Associated Architects, the architectural business formed by Wright's apprentices after his death. The theater is currently presenting two films:

  • Carnaúba: A Son’s Memoir is a one-hour film that depicts fourth-generation leader Sam Johnson’s 1998 recreation of his father's 1935 expedition from Racine, Wis., to Fortaleza, Brazil in search of natural resources for the company’s wax products. At its core, the film depicts a journey about family, reconnecting with memories to reinvigorate SC Johnson’s spirit of adventure.
  • To Be Alive! is an Academy Award-winning 20-minute film commissioned by SC Johnson for the 1964-1965 World's Fair that celebrates the similarity of cultures around the world.

The 2016 tour season opens on May 6 with eight tours available Thursday – Sunday. There is a morning tour at 10 a.m. and a 2 p.m. tour each day. Tours are free for all visitors. To receive more information about visiting SC Johnson’s campus or to schedule a free tour, please use the online scheduling tool at www.scjohnson.com/visit.

The New Frank Lloyd Wright Trail

On March 21, 2016, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed legislation that established the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail, connecting many of Wright’s architectural sites across Wisconsin to make it easier for tourists from around the globe to experience and enjoy Wright’s legacy in his home state. The Trail includes five stops between Racine and Spring Green, Wis.

1.    Standing 153 feet high and located in the heart of SC Johnson’s global headquarters at 1525 Howe Street in Racine, the Research Tower is an inspiring example of cantilever construction featuring more than 7000 Pyrex glass tubes used to construct the Tower’s windows. Visitors are taken back in time to experience how the Tower operated in its heyday with a full mock-up of a 1950s laboratory. To receive more information about visiting SC Johnson’s campus or to schedule a free tour, please use the online scheduling tool at www.scjohnson.com/visit.

2.    A short five miles north of the Research Tower along Lake Michigan, visitors can tour SC Johnson’s Wingspread, a dedicated National Historic Landmark that is the last and largest of Wright’s iconic Prairie homes located at 33 East 4 Mile Road in Racine. To receive more information about visiting Wingspread or to schedule a free tour, please use the online scheduling tool at www.scjohnson.com/visit.

3.    Traveling northwest to 1 John Nolen Drive in Madison, stop at Monona Terrace to experience Frank Lloyd Wright’s “dream civic center” designed in 1938, a curvilinear community and convention that links the shore of Lake Monona to the Wisconsin State Capitol that incorporates modern technology with organic design. Parties of fewer than 10 do not require reservations, but groups of 10 or more should schedule a reservation. To learn more about reservations and ticket pricing, please visit https://www.mononaterrace.com/guided-tours.

4.    Stay in Madison and head to the First Unitarian Society Meeting House located at 900 University Bay Drive to see one of the most innovative examples of church architecture, designed in 1946, and designated as both an American Institute of Architecture example of Wright’s contributions to American culture and a National Historic Landmark. Guests are encouraged to visit the Unitarian Society’s website to learn about tour schedules so as not to conflict with church functions. For more information on tours or to book a group tour, please visit https://www.fusmadison.org/tour.

5.    Last, but certainly not least, head to 5481 County Road C in Spring Green to visit Taliesin, Wright’s winter home completed in 1911. Discover the physical embodiment of Wright’s commitment to the creation of exceptional environments that harmonize architecture, art, culture and the land by touring the space that stimulated his creativity. Guests are encouraged to book tours and purchase tickets in advance as tours often sell out. For more information on visiting Taliesin: go to http://www.taliesinpreservation.org/visit/tours-tickets.

*H.F. Johnson Jr.’s office is only available on weekend tours. **The Research Tower is accessible only via stairs. If you have a special need, please contact the reservation office at 262-260-2154 or email Rondelle@scj.com prior to your visit.

About SC Johnson

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE®, and RIDSECT®. The 130-year-old company, that generates $10 billion in sales, employs nearly 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world. www.scjohnson.com