Frank Lloyd Wright, ‘Standing desk’, 1906, Oscar Graf

Is this the first standing desk? Probably not, but it looks good. In keeping with his philosophy of the all-American Prairie Style, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) endowed Standing Desk with the qualities of craftsmanship and stolid horizontality for which his furniture and architecture became well known in the early 20th century. Manufactured by John W. Ayers, the Chicago-based company that manufactured many of Wright’s furniture designs, the desk was rumored to have been designed for the Frank L. Smith Bank (1905) located in Dwight, Illinois, although the attribution is debatable. Regardless, this desk was likely well-integrated into its architectural surrounding, and probably used by a clerk or other office worker. Wright was onto something—early adopters of standing desks included Winston Churchill, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Ben Franklin, and Leonardo da Vinci, among others.

Manufacturer: John Ayers

About Frank Lloyd Wright

During his 70-year career, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright championed a personal belief that architecture should address the physical, social, and spiritual needs of the inhabitant while remaining in harmony with the landscape. Wright, who punctuated nature with a capital “N”, placed great importance on the unity of man and nature and strived to compose environments where the architecture and land formed a unified whole, as in Fallingwater (1935), the house he built atop a waterfall. Throughout his career, Wright continually embraced the social and technological advancements of the 20th century and successfully aligned new opportunities with his values. In 1991, the American Institute of Architects named Wright “the greatest American architect of all time,” and in the same year, his Fallingwater home was voted “the best all time work of American architecture.”

American , 1867-1959, Richland Center, Wisconsin, based in Chicago, Illinois