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

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Dimensions: H 14 in. W 47 in. D 18 in.
Dealer Location: Brooklyn, NY
Mid-Century George Nelson Slat Bench for Herman Mi...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Vintage slat bench with maple top and painted black sled legs. Designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller. Perfect for use as bench or coffee table. (Please confirm item location N...
Dimensions: H 19 in. W 4 ft. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: South Bend, IN
George Nelson for Herman Miller Platform Bench
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Early platform bench with cushion designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller. The bench has been professionally restored to its original black lacquer finish. The foam on the seat cush...
George Nelson 48 Inch Slat Bench
Dimensions: H 13.5 in. W 4 ft. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Hudson, NY
Materials & Techniques: Wood, Lacquer
George Nelson 48 Inch Slat Bench
George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Wood, Lacquer
Restored surface and black lacquer on leg supports. This bench has a great vintage appearance with some dark marks under the new surface.
Dimensions: H 16 in. W 5 ft. 1 in. D 20.5 in.
Dealer Location: Stamford, CT
Materials & Techniques: Fabric, Metal, Stainless Steel
George Nelson Steel Frame Bench for Herman Miller,...
George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Fabric, Metal, Stainless Steel
George Nelson bench with stainless steel planter box, brand new tangerine linen upholstery. Gorgeous!
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 4 ft. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Cincinnati, OH
Very Early Production George Nelson Small Bench or...
George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Benches
A very early production smaller sized Nelson platform bench or coffee table with natural maple slat wood top and satin black wooden legs. The legs have a slight rounded edge typical of ...
Dimensions: H 15 in. W 4 ft. D 18.75 in.
Dealer Location: Chicago, IL
Materials & Techniques: Walnut
Rare Herman Miller Bench by George Nelson
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Walnut
Herman Miller bench by George Nelson. Extremely rare black frame slat edition only produced from 1961-1963. Signed with metal Herman Miller tag on the underside. Original unrestored con...
George Nelson Slat Bench
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 4 ft. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: New York, NY
George Nelson Slat Bench
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Black painted slat bench with sled base. Early foil label.
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 6 ft. 0.3 in. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Phoenix, AZ
George Nelson Herman Miller Slat Bench, Early 1950...
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
George Nelson Herman Miller 6' slat bench, circa early 1950s. This all original example has a beautiful broken in ebonized finish over maple and was purchased from a former Herman Mille...
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 7 ft. 8.3 in. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Middlesex, NJ
Early Long George Nelson for Herman Miller Platfor...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Early long George Nelson for Herman Miller platform bench. Original early label affixed.
Dimensions: H 14.25 in. W 4 ft. 8.5 in. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Houston, TX
George Nelson for Herman Miller Modern Black Platf...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Iconic George Nelson platform, slat bench for Herman Miller with an aged black lacquered finish.
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 4 ft. 8.4 in. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Stamford, CT
Materials & Techniques: Wood
George Nelson Ebonized Platform Bench for Herman M...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Wood
George Nelson platform bench (No. 4692) was made by the Herman Miller Furniture Company Inc., circa 1950s. It was designed primarily for high and low storage cases. But it was also used...
 George Nelson Bench for Herman Miller
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 6 ft. 0.3 in. D 18.25 in.
Dealer Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Materials & Techniques: Maple, Wood
George Nelson Bench for Herman Miller
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Maple, Wood
Vintage bench designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller.
Mid-Century George Nelson for Herman Miller Cabinet or Credenza on Slat Bench
Dimensions: H 38.5 in. W 4 ft. 8.3 in. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: BROOKLYN, NY
Materials & Techniques: Metal, Wood
Mid-Century George Nelson for Herman Miller Cabine...
George Nelson, George Nelson & Associates
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Metal, Wood
Wonderful example of the Herman Miller modular system designed by George Nelson. This piece features the rare sliding door cabinet with adjustable shelves. In original unrestored condit...
George Nelson Platform Bench
Dimensions: H 14.5 in. W 5 ft. D 18.75 in.
Dealer Location: Los Angeles, CA
Materials & Techniques: Maple, Wood
George Nelson Platform Bench
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Early 2000s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Maple, Wood
Designed by Nelson in 1946 and continuously produced by Herman Miller, this bench has a seat of solid maple slats on two open frame legs of ebonized wood. The pieces glides easily on fo...
George Nelson Bench in White Lacquer
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 6 ft. 0.3 in. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Atlanta, GA
Materials & Techniques: Wood
George Nelson Bench in White Lacquer
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Wood
White lacquered modern bench, designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller, American, circa 1950s. It has been completely restored in a white lacquer finish.
Dimensions: H 18 in. W 5 ft. 10.5 in. D 19 in.
Dealer Location: SAINT LOUIS, MO
Materials & Techniques: Cowhide, Wood
Model 4692 Platform Bench, George Nelson & Associa...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century Mid-Century Modern Benches
Cowhide, Wood
A modern bench with beautiful lines! The model 4692 platform bench is a landmark of modern design. The rectilinear lines of the surface reflect designer George Nelson's architectura...
George Nelson Bench by Herman Miller
Dimensions: H 15.25 in. W 5 ft. 11.5 in. D 24.5 in.
Dealer Location: Cincinnati, OH
George Nelson Bench by Herman Miller
George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Benches
A double cushion Nelson bench with center table in white formica from the steel frame series of furniture by the Herman Miller furniture company. Naugahyde upholstery in a medium purple...
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 6 ft. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: New York, NY
Materials & Techniques: Wood
George Nelson Ebonized Platform Bench by Herman Mi...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Wood
George Nelson platform bench (No. 4692) was made by the Herman Miller Furniture Company Inc. circa 1950s. It was designed primarily for high and low storage cases. But it was also used ...
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 4 ft. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Pasadena, TX
Materials & Techniques: Maple
George Nelson for Herman Miller Ebonized Bench
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Benches
Maple
A Mid-Century Modern bench designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller. Ebonized maple slats and legs 48" in length.
Dimensions: H 16.5 in. W 4 ft. D 17 in.
Dealer Location: San Jose, CA
Materials & Techniques: Steel, Teak
Vintage George Nelson Teak Coffee Table
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Steel, Teak
Mid-Century coffee table by George Nelson for Herman Miller model no. 5150. This piece has a teak tabletop with a contrasting white coated enameled steel base.           
George Nelson Sectional Sofa, Bench and Side Table...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
A 1960s sectional living room set by designer George Nelson for Herman Miller, which includes a four seat sofa and two seat bench, upholstered in blue vinyl cushions, against a white en...
Dimensions: H 38 in. W 4 ft. D 19 in.
Dealer Location: Brooklyn, NY
George Nelson for Herman Miller Modular Cabinet an...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s Mid-Century Modern Benches
Mid-Century Modern storage cabinet set on a refinished black slat bench. Cabinet can be removed or re-positioned on bench, adjustable shelf, metal door pulls. (Please confirm item lo...
Dimensions: H 38 in. W 4 ft. 8 in. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Los Angeles, CA
Materials & Techniques: Walnut, Wood
George Nelson Slat Bench with Storage Unit for Her...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Walnut, Wood
Wonderful all original walnut basic storage unit designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller in 1946. This unit features four drawers and includes a two-door section with the original a...
Dimensions: H 38 in. W 4 ft. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Los Angeles, CA
Materials & Techniques: Glass, Walnut, Wood
George Nelson Slat Bench W/ Storage Display Unit f...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Glass, Walnut, Wood
All original and in great original condition. This unit is 34" long and sits on it's original 48" long x 14" tall slat bench.
Extra Long Classic 1948 Bench by George Nelson for Herman Miller
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 7 ft. 8.5 in. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: Los Angeles, CA
Extra Long Classic 1948 Bench by George Nelson for...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
This is the second longest size that the Classic Nelson bench was made in. It is completely original with a great patina and barely any wear from age. It is strong and sturdy and extrem...
"Steel Frame" Bench by George Nelson
Dimensions: H 15.75 in. W 6 ft. D 24 in.
Dealer Location: Los Angeles, CA
Materials & Techniques: Steel, Laminate, PVC
"Steel Frame" Bench by George Nelson
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s North American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Steel, Laminate, PVC
A modular two-place bench, with an integrated coffee table, from George Nelson's "Steel Frame" collection, made by Herman Miller. The three modules can be reconfigured to suit one's nee...
Dimensions: H 13.5 in. W 41.25 in. D 18.75 in.
Dealer Location: Cincinnati, OH
Rare Prototype George Nelson Herman Miller Coffee ...
George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Benches
A rare George Nelson designed prototype coffee table or bench with black satin slat bench styled wood legs and white laminate top, the top is typical of the size, thickness and make up ...
Dimensions: H 12 in. W 40 in. D 15.75 in.
Dealer Location: Brooklyn, NY
Materials & Techniques: Lacquer
Mid-Century Modern Miniature George Nelson Slat Be...
George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Lacquer
This mid century slat bench by George Nelson features a compact size and ebonized finish which offer a bold modern accent to any home or office space. Please confirm item location ...
Dimensions: H 15.5 in. W 5 ft. 5 in. D 17.25 in.
Dealer Location: Los Angeles, CA
Materials & Techniques: Maple
Early George Nelson Slat Bench / Coffee Table by H...
George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Benches
Maple
An early production George Nelson slatted bench/coffee table made by Herman Miller. It is in its original condition and has not be refinished. Top has a wonderful aged patina.
Early George Nelson Bench
Dimensions: H 14 in. W 4 ft. D 18.5 in.
Dealer Location: San Diego, CA
Materials & Techniques: Wood
Early George Nelson Bench
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Wood
A nice and early example of this iconic Nelson design for Herman Miller with an aged original black lacquered finish.
George Nelson Bench Steelframe Series
Dimensions: H 16 in. W 6 ft. 1 in. D 24 in.
Dealer Location: San Francisco, CA
Materials & Techniques: Formica, Steel, Upholstery, Wood
George Nelson Bench Steelframe Series
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Formica, Steel, Upholstery, Wood
Upholstered bench designed by George Nelson in original Alexander Girard inspired fabric for Herman Miller. The late 1950s design Steelframe series is designed so the cushions and tabl...
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