Skyscraper Chair, 1927<img alt="" src="/sites/GovernorsMansion/Exhibitions/PublishingImages/Art-of-Illinois/Faidy-Skyscraper-Chair.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Skyscraper Chair, 1927<div class="ExternalClass30CBBEE93E244490A55A460485604FBC"><p>​Few works capture the essence of the Jazz Age and America's premier urban image—the skyscraper—better than the chairs designed by Chicago architect-designer Abel M. Faidy in 1927. Constructed of figured maple and satinwood veneer, and banded with black, the ziggurat shape of the burgundy leather-upholstered chair back echoes the setback shape of the familiar 1920s skyscraper, which was designed to allow more sunlight to the street below.</p><p>The chair is part of a 14-piece suite that once filled the combined living-dining space of Charles and Ruth Singletary's small penthouse apartment in Chicago. Designed for compact urban living, each case piece was multi-functional: the bases of the dining and side tables were fitted with cabinets and drawers; a low-backed chair merged into the back of the cabinet telephone stand; a cabinet, sectioned and grooved to hold sheet music, hung on the wall. The suite was said to have been made in the custom furniture workshop of Marshall Field & Company in Chicago.</p><p>The furniture's dramatic design echoes the unconventional personalities of the couple who commissioned the suite. Chicago entrepreneur Charles Emory Singletary, founder of a subscription book distributorship, and his wife Clara Ruth Palmer, a voice teacher and pianist, were both prominent in Chicago's literary and musical circles from the 1920s through the 1960s.</p><p>Abel M. Faidy was a Swiss-born architect who studied in England and Germany before immigrating to California in 1914. Four years later he moved to Chicago, where he designed commercial interiors. In the 1920s, having developed a reputation for creativity and originality in furniture and interior design, he worked as a freelance architectural designer. He designed stark, sleek interiors for showrooms, offices, and stores, as well as for private patrons, and supplied furniture designs to the city's major furniture manufacturers. He also taught at the Chicago Academy of Design for several years.</p><p>Charles and Ruth Singletary moved the "skyscraper" suite from penthouse to penthouse until Ruth's death in 1965. It was then purchased by one of her music students, from whom it was acquired by the Chicago History Museum in 1977.</p></div>GP0|#7dc4d679-a883-49e7-9c9d-64a0790c8588;L0|#07dc4d679-a883-49e7-9c9d-64a0790c8588|Abel Marius Faidy;GTSet|#6a9f5109-021d-478a-ae73-864102492159;GPP|#b8008031-8d86-41bf-8c8c-657f66f046d4;GPP|#be65f490-4890-487c-bb16-c396d99511f7Furniture;#TemporaryFurniture;#Wood;#Chicago, IllinoisMaple, satinwood, leather, 55½ × 215⁄8 × 22 inches. Marshall Field & Company Workshop, Chicago, Illinois, maker. Collection of Chicago History Museum