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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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Creator:George Nelson
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Rare Early George Nelson Bench / Coffee Table for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
A early and rare Nelson coffee table / bench with white rectangle Laminate top having black legs typical of the Nelson slat bench coffee table. This table was not produced in large n...
Category

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

Materials

Wood

Early George Nelson Pretzel Side Chair for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Plywood

Early George Nelson Slat Bench / Coffee Table for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
A satin black longer slat bench / coffee table retaining the early designers foil tag to the underside. Manufactured by the Herman Miller Furniture company an iconic piece that is we...
Category

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

Materials

Wood

Early Smaller George Nelson Credenza / Console / Bookcase for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

George Nelson Steel Frame Sofa for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Steel

George Nelson Steel Frame Sofa with Side Table for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Steel

Rare George Nelson Steel Frame Single Seat Chair for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Steel

George Nelson Special Order Steel Frame Drink Side Table for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Metal

George Nelson Steel Frame Sofa / Loveseat for Herman Miller '2'
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Metal

George Nelson Steel Frame Sofa - Loveseat by Herman Miller ( 1 )
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Steel

George Nelson 3-Piece Vanity Chest for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Oak

George Nelson Prototype DAF Chair for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Fiberglass

George Nelson Desk and Work Station Set from a National Historic Landmark
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
A two-piece desk and work station set designed by George Nelson for the Irwin Union Bank by Eero Saarinen in the town of Columbus Indiana noted for its concentration of world famous ...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

George Nelson Desk from a National Historic Landmark Eero Saarinen Building
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
A walnut four drawer desk with aluminum J pulls, chromed steel legs, woven privacy panel and topped in white Laminate was designed and fitted for a Bank building. The National Histo...
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Related Items
George Nelson Special Order Steel Frame Drink Side Table for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
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Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern George Nelson Furniture

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Early George Nelson Pretzel Side Chair for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
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Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern George Nelson Furniture

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Plywood

Early Smaller George Nelson Credenza / Console / Bookcase for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
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Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern George Nelson Furniture

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Walnut

George Nelson 3-Piece Vanity Chest for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
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Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern George Nelson Furniture

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Oak

George Nelson Prototype DAF Chair for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
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Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern George Nelson Furniture

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Fiberglass

Rare George Nelson Steel Frame Single Seat Chair for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Steel

George Nelson Steel Frame Sofa for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Steel

George Nelson Steel Frame Sofa / Loveseat for Herman Miller '2'
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Metal

George Nelson Steel Frame Sofa with Side Table for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Steel

George Nelson Steel Frame Sofa - Loveseat by Herman Miller ( 1 )
By George Nelson
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Steel

Eames Early Shell Chair Lounge Height for Herman Miller
By Charles and Ray Eames
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Fiberglass

Knoll T Angled Framed Walnut Low Coffee Table / Bench
By Florence Knoll
Located in Cincinnati, OH
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

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