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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
Platform Bench
Platform Bench
Thin Edge Group
Thin Edge Group
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Pair George Nelson Rosewood Thin Edge Prototype Chest Dresser Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in St. Louis, MO
Designer: George Nelson Manufacture: Herman Miller Period/style: Mid-Century Modern Country: USA Date: 1950s We were told from the original owner these chests are prototypes...
Category

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

Materials

Rosewood

Large George Nelson Slat Bench for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in St. Louis, MO
Category

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

George Nelson Low Profile Credenza Sideboard for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in St. Louis, MO
Category

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

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Abra Mobler Swedish Teak Slim Credenza
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Florence Knoll for Knoll Rosewood End Tables
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1950s North American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Furniture

Materials

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Pair of Saarinen Style Lounge Chairs
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Materials

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Pair of Architectural Frederick Weinberg Modern Floor Lamps with Shelves
Located in St. Louis, MO
Category

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

Materials

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Large Five-Arm Candleholder by Erik Hoglund, Sweden
By Erik Hoglund
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Reupholstered Long and Low Midcentury Sofa
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