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George Nelson

American, 1908-1986

Architect, designer, and writer George Nelson was a central figure in the mid-century American modernist design movement; and his thoughts influenced not only the furniture we live with, but also how we live.

Nelson came to design via journalism and literature. Upon receiving his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Yale in 1931, he won the Prix de Rome fellowship, and spent his time in Europe writing magazine articles that helped bring stateside recognition to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Gio Ponti, Le Corbusier and other canonical modernist architects.

In the 1940s, Nelson wrote texts that suggested such now-commonplace ideas as open-plan houses, storage walls and family rooms. D.J. De Pree, the owner of the furniture maker Herman Miller, was so impressed by Nelson that in 1944 — following the sudden death of Gilbert Rohde, who had introduced the firm to modern design in the 1930s — he invited Nelson to join the company as its design director. There Nelson’s curatorial design talents came to the fore.

To Herman Miller he brought such eminent creators as Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, and the textile and furniture designer Alexander Girard. Thanks to a clever contract, at the same time as he directed Herman Miller he formed a New York design company, George Nelson & Associates, that sold furniture designs to the Michigan firm. Nelson's studio also sold designs for clocks to the Howard Miller Clock Company, a manufacturer that was initially part of Herman Miller before it became an offshoot that was helmed by Howard Miller, D.J. De Pree's brother-in-law.

Nelson’s New York team of designers (who were rarely individually credited) would create such iconic pieces as the Marshmallow sofa, the Coconut chair, the Ball clock, the Bubble lamp series and the many cabinets and beds that comprise the sleek Thin-Edge line.

For dedicated collectors, as well as for interior designers who look beyond “the look,” there is a “cool factor” inherent to vintage pieces from George Nelson and others. Nelson was in on it from the start, and it’s valuable to have a piece that was there with him.

But still, as is evident from the offerings from dealers on 1stDibs, in any of the designs, in any iteration whose manufacture Nelson oversaw and encouraged, there are shining elements of lightness, elegance, sophistication — and a little bit of swagger. George Nelson felt confident in his ideas about design and didn’t mind letting the world know.

Average Sold Price
$2,891
Styles
Materials
Related Creators
Iconic Designs from George Nelson
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Thin Edge Group
Thin Edge Group
Coconut Lounge Chair
Coconut Lounge Chair
George Nelson Nelson Daybed
George Nelson Nelson Daybed
George Nelson Pedestal Table
George Nelson Pedestal Table
George Nelson Custom Hanging Walnut Cabinet from a National Historical Building
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
A two door Nelson walnut hanging cabinet with woven cane fronts and brass hardware, having a beveled bottom edge to the doors for ease of opening and folding to the top. Inside the b...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern George Nelson

Materials

Cane, Walnut

huge and rare 251cm george nelson bench from the modular group
By George Nelson
Located in Munich, DE
ultra rare an most possible made on special order very big george nelson bench. we also have a smaller bench available.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson

Materials

Metal

Problems of Design by George Nelson
By George Nelson
Located in New York, NY
First edition of George Nelson's Problems of Design, published by Whitney Publications in 1957. An important consideration of the topic by one of America's most significant and influ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson

Materials

Paper

Problems of Design by George Nelson
Problems of Design by George Nelson
H 8.75 in W 8.75 in D 0.75 in
George Nelson for Hermann Miller Modular 3-Seater Sofa, 1960s
By George Nelson, Herman Miller
Located in Naples, IT
Modular 3-seater sofa designed by George Miller in 1956. The sofa incorporates a system of modules that allows you to choose the seating arrangement, the coffee table and chest of dr...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson

Materials

Leather, Wood

Brazilian Modern Marshmallow” Sofa by George Nelson, 1956
By George Nelson
Located in New York, NY
Available today, with domestic shipping in NYC metro area included, This Brazilian Modern Marshmallow” Sofa by George Nelson is nothing less than gorgeous! The Marshmallow Sofa, d...
Category

Mid-20th Century Brazilian Mid-Century Modern George Nelson

Materials

Metal

Chest of Drawers by George Nelson for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in New York, NY
Chest of drawers by George Nelson for Herman Miller in walnut ash with wooden cupcake pulls on metal legs.
Category

Mid-20th Century North American Mid-Century Modern George Nelson

Materials

Ash, Walnut

Mid Century Modern George Nelson Herman Miller Hairpin Leg Daybed Sofa
By George Nelson, Herman Miller
Located in Dayton, OH
Mid century modern George Nelson for Herman Miller Case Study daybed / sofa / couch / chaise lounge featuring iron hairpin legs with pine back suppor...
Category

Mid-20th Century Mid-Century Modern George Nelson

Materials

Metal

Midcentury George Nelson for Herman Miller Bookcases ( 4 available )
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in BROOKLYN, NY
Rare smaller bookcase with great dimensions in walnut on chrome base. Designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller. We have had many Nelson case pieces and never have come across this...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern George Nelson

Materials

Chrome

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Creators Similar to George Nelson

More George Nelson Designs
Thin Edge Group
Thin Edge Group
Average Price
$9,858
Number Available
21
Thin Edge Group
By George Nelson
Materials
Wood, Metal, Aluminum, Rosewood
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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Coconut Lounge Chair
Coconut Lounge Chair
Average Price
$4,121
Number Available
9
Coconut Lounge Chair
By George Nelson
Materials
Metal, Animal Skin, Fiberglass, Leather, Plastic, Steel
Styles
Mid Century Modern
George Nelson (1908–86) attributed many of his design breakthroughs to creative “zaps.” He described such moments as “when the solitary individual finds he is connected with a reality he never dreamed of.” The Coconut lounge chair can certainly be traced back to one such “zap.”The inspiration for the piece — which evolved from an idea presented by George Mulhauser, a designer who worked at Nelson’s Manhattan studio, George Nelson Associates, Inc., and is now credited with the concept — was as...
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George Nelson Nelson Daybed
George Nelson Nelson Daybed
Average Price
$6,049
Number Available
7
George Nelson Nelson Daybed
By George Nelson
Materials
Fabric, Metal, Steel, Wood
Styles
Mid Century Modern
Like many modernists, George Nelson (1908–86) relished design that solved a problem. And there’s probably no more common design problem than not having enough space. A daybed, the Connecticut-born writer, architect and furniture maker reasoned, is “ideal for the bedroom that has to double as a sitting room.” Nelson’s versatile design — particularly with its slim profile and unassuming legs — fits neatly into a compact space, both in its small square footage and its quiet presence.Nelson conce...
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George Nelson Pedestal Table
George Nelson Pedestal Table
Average Price
$1,031
Number Available
6
George Nelson Pedestal Table
By George Nelson
Materials
Metal, Aluminum, Laminate, Wood
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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George Nelson furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

George Nelson furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of metal and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of George Nelson furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by George Nelson were created in the mid-century modern style in north america during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Drexel, Widdicomb Furniture Co., and John Widdicomb. Prices for George Nelson furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $155 and can go as high as $48,500, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $4,411.
Questions About George Nelson
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    George Nelson was a furniture designer central to the mid-century modern design movement. His best-known creations are the marshmallow sofa, coconut chair, ball clock and bubble lamp series. His style included sleek, thin-edge lines on a variety of furniture still available today. Shop a range of George Nelson furniture designs on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    George Nelson was an American designer, and for a time the lead designer for the famed Herman Miller furniture company. Nelson is often referred to as the founder of American modernist design and often associated with his more inspired pieces such as the Coconut Chair, Marshmallow Sofa and the Ball Clock. Shop a collection of George Nelson furniture designs from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Modern George Nelson clocks are made in Poland. The company Vitra Designs manufactures the timepieces based on the original designs of the American designer who lived from 1908 to 1986. On 1stDibs, you can shop a selection of George Nelson clocks.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    George Nelson Bubble Lamps are made of steel wires, which form a durable framework for the lamp. A plastic polymer material spread over the wires forms the shade which is translucent to give the lamp a soft glow. Inspired by Swedish lamps, these mid-century modern light fixtures are still made by the legendary furniture manufacturer Herman Miller today. Shop a range of George Nelson Bubble Lamps on 1stDibs.

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