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George Nakashima Benches

George Nakashima (USA, 1905–90)
George Nakashima (USA, 1905–90)

A master woodworker and M.I.T.-trained architect, George Nakashima was the leading light of the American Studio furniture movement. Along with Wharton Esherick, Sam Maloof and Wendell Castle, Nakashima was an artisan who disdained industrial methods and materials in favor of a personal, craft-based approach to the design. What sets Nakashima apart is the poetic style of his work, his reverence for wood and the belief that his furniture could evince — as he put it in the title of his 1981 memoir — The Soul of a Tree.

Born in Spokane, Washington, to Japanese immigrants, Nakashima traveled widely after college, working and studying in Paris, Japan and India, and at every stop he absorbed both modernist and traditional design influences. The turning point in Nakashima’s career development came in the United States in 1942, when he was placed in an internment camp for Asian-Americans in Idaho. There, Nakashima met a master woodcarver who tutored him in Japanese crafting techniques. A former employer won Nakashima’s release and brought him to bucolic New Hope, Pennsylvania, where Nakashima set up a studio and worked for the rest of his life.

Nakashima’s singular aesthetic is best captured in his custom-made tables and benches — pieces that show off the grain, burls and whorls in a plank of wood. He left the “free edge,” or natural contour, of the slab un-planed, and reinforced fissures in the wood with “butterfly” joints. Almost all Nakashima seating pieces have smooth, milled edges. Nakashima also contracted with large-scale manufacturers to produce carefully supervised editions of his designs. Knoll has offered his Straight chair — a modern take on the spindle-backed Windsor chair — since 1946; the now-defunct firm Widdicomb-Mueller issued the Shaker-inspired Origins collection in the 1950s.

Nelson Rockefeller in 1973 gave Nakashima his single largest commission: a 200-piece suite for his suburban New York estate. Today, Nakashima furniture is collected by both the staid and the fashionable: his work sits in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as in the homes of Stephen Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Diane von Furstenberg and the late Steve Jobs.

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George Nakashima Custom Daybed, 1950s
By George Nakashima
Located in New York, NY
Custom size, extra long daybed by New Hope studio artist George Nakashima, circa 1950s. Frame is in Black American walnut, retaining its original webbing, with newly made cushion in...
Category

1950s American American Craftsman Vintage George Nakashima Benches

Materials

Upholstery, Walnut

George Nakashima Conoid Bench, 1983
By George Nakashima
Located in Dallas, TX
Solid plank of black walnut seat signed George Nakashima and date plus client name original owner inquired direct from the original owner collection professor John Fairey, Original ...
Category

1980s American American Craftsman Vintage George Nakashima Benches

Materials

Walnut

George Nakashima 'Conoid' Bench
By George Nakashima
Located in Los Angeles, CA
George Nakashima Conoid bench, New Hope, PA, 1983 (bench comes with copy of original purchase invoice).  
Category

1980s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nakashima Benches

Materials

Hickory, Walnut

Early Free Edge Walnut Bench by American Woodworker George Nakashima
By George Nakashima
Located in Atlanta, GA
One of the iconic design by American woodworker George Nakashima, this bench was custom-made for a client in 1960 using walnut slab with spindle back and free front edge. The front e...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nakashima Benches

Materials

Hickory, Walnut

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Previously Available Items
Mira Nakashima, Conoid Bench, circa 1992
By George Nakashima, Mira Nakashima
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Beautiful Mira Nakashima Conoid bench with back, new hope, Pennsylvania, circa 1992 American black walnut, hickory, laurel Signed and dated: "Mira Nakashima April 14, 1992" with st...
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20th Century American Mid-Century Modern George Nakashima Benches

  • Mira Nakashima, Conoid Bench, circa 1992
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H 32.5 in. W 71.5 in. D 35 in.
Walnut armless settee sofa with cushions George Nakashima
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An early walnut sofa studio crafted by George Nakashima circa 1963. Simplistic armless form with squared spindled back and legs. The construction of the front legs were slightly unus...
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1960s Vintage George Nakashima Benches

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Outstanding George Nakashima Conoid Bench
By George Nakashima
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1980s American Vintage George Nakashima Benches

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A fine and exciting example of George Nakashima's iconic Conoid bench in highly figured black walnut, having a dramatic seat fashioned from a single slab with a rosewood butterfly an...
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1960s Brown Walnut Veneer Coffee Table by George Nakashima
By George Nakashima, Paul Evans, Widdicomb Furniture Co.
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Coffee table, walnut veneer, George Nakashima, USA, 1960. The handcrafted coffee table comes with a walnut veneer top and is supported by four tapered dowel legs. The table is des...
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Superb Conoid Bench by George Nakashima
By George Nakashima
Located in Sagaponack, NY
An impeccable studio-made Conoid bench having a highly expressive free edged single slab black walnut seat with hand hewn hickory spindles supporting a sculpted walnut top rail, the...
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  • Superb Conoid Bench by George Nakashima
  • Superb Conoid Bench by George Nakashima
  • Superb Conoid Bench by George Nakashima
  • Superb Conoid Bench by George Nakashima
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Long Bench by George Nakashima
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A magnificent studio-made low table or bench crafted from a single dramatic twelve-foot long slab of beautifully figured and toned live-edge walnut which floats on six staggered dowe...
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By George Nakashima
Located in Wargrave, Berkshire
George Nakashima , Studio made Conoid bench , English Walnut with Hickory spindles . Fine example with two Rosewood Butteflies .
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nakashima Benches

  • George Nakashima Conoid Bench
  • George Nakashima Conoid Bench
  • George Nakashima Conoid Bench
  • George Nakashima Conoid Bench
H 31.5 in. W 72.84 in. D 27.56 in.
George Nakashima Walnut Bench
By George Nakashima
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
An early example of this form by George Nakashima.    
Category

1960s American Vintage George Nakashima Benches

Materials

Hickory, Walnut

  • George Nakashima Walnut Bench
  • George Nakashima Walnut Bench
  • George Nakashima Walnut Bench
  • George Nakashima Walnut Bench
H 32.5 in. W 62 in. D 18.5 in.
Bench by George Nakashima
By George Nakashima
Located in Los Angeles, CA
When St. Martin of Tours Church in New Hope, Pennsylvania, needed renovating in the early 1960s, a distinguished member of the congregation, George Nakashima, volunteered his service...
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1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nakashima Benches

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Walnut

  • Bench by George Nakashima
  • Bench by George Nakashima
  • Bench by George Nakashima
  • Bench by George Nakashima
H 20 in. W 114 in. D 12.25 in.