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George Nelson Furniture

George Nelson (USA, 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. Depree, the owner of the furniture maker Herman Miller Inc., 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, as well as its competitor, the Howard Miller Clock Company. 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 these pages, 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.

Read more about George Nelson in Introspective Magazine

Iconic Designs from George Nelson
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Coconut Lounge Chair
Coconut Lounge Chair
Ball Clock
Ball Clock
Thin Edge Group
Thin Edge Group
Platform Bench
Platform Bench
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George Nelson Pair of Lucite /Polished Aluminum Nimbus Pendants Nessen Studio
By George Nelson, Nessen Studio
Located in Miami, FL
Space Age modern pair of model NS808 nimbus or beehive pendants for Nessen Studio. Designed by Farid Iskander for George Nelson and Associates in 1969 and looking more like UFOs, the...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Furniture

Materials

Aluminum

George Nelson Low Profile Credenza Sideboard for Herman Miller
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Miami, FL
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Furniture

Materials

Wood

1950s George Nelson Dresser Credenza for the Herman Miller Collection
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Miami, FL
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Furniture

Materials

Walnut

George Nelson Dresser Credenza for the Herman Miller Collection, 1950s
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Miami, FL
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Furniture

Materials

Walnut

1950s George Nelson Credenza Buffet Sideboard for the Herman Miller Collection
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Miami, FL
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Furniture

Materials

Walnut

George Nelson Primavera Headboard for Herman Miller
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Miami, FL
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Furniture

Materials

Wood

Classic Early George Nelson Walnut Dining Table
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Miami, FL
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Furniture

Materials

Walnut

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