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George Nelson Shelves

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, 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.

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Creator: George Nelson
George Nelson for Herman Miller Wall Unit in Walnut
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Waalwijk, NL
George Nelson for Herman Miller, 'Comprehensive Storage System (CSS)' wall unit, steel, aluminum, walnut, United States, 1960s This storage system is designed by Nelson in the 196...
Category

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

Materials

Aluminum, Steel

George Nelson for Herman Miller Wall Unit Mid-Century Modern
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Toledo, OH
George Nelson for Herman Miller Omni wall unit 98" wide. George Nelson designed, Omni Systems wall unit in great condition. There are nine shelves, 1 book holder, 2 walnut case piece...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Walnut

Comprehensive Storage System by George Nelson for Herman Miller
By George Nelson
Located in Dallas, TX
Comprehensive Storage System designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller, 1959. This system is in very good original condition and consists of six wall mount uprights, three can ligh...
Category

Mid-20th Century George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Steel

George Nelson CSS for Herman Miller
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Philadelphia, PA
George Nelson Comprehensive Storage System CSS for Herman Miller Furniture. Such a useful and Great Design! All the weight hangs from the front poles so always an amazing sturdy Unit...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Aluminum

Action Office 1 'AO1' Storage Unit No. 64915 by George Nelson for Herman Miller
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Munster, NRW
Action office 1 (ao1) storage unit no. 64915, george nelson for herman miller. freestanding shelf, which is composed of several components: the base with the self-leveling glides, a ...
Category

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

Materials

Metal, Aluminum

Mid-Century Modern George Nelson Herman Miller CSS Unit
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Lake Worth, FL
Vintage George Nelson Herman Miller CSS unit. This piece is designed to be used as a room divider or placed anywhere in the room. Unit includes 3 black tension poles, ten 32" shelves...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Aluminum

George Nelson Omni System, 1 Bay
By George Nelson
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Geoge Nelson omni system cabinet and shelves with aluminum frame. Very nice scale and size for a living or dining room. Two adjustable shelves and cabinet set into the frame. The cab...
Category

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

Materials

Aluminum

George Nelson CSS Shelving Unit by Herman Miller
By George Nelson, Herman Miller
Located in Highland, IN
This CSS shelving unit is an excellent example. The beautiful design is comprised of four tension-mounted uprights which support nine teak shelves, a angled magazine shelf, a desktop...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Aluminum

Related Items
George Nelson for Herman Miller Living Room Set
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Waalwijk, NL
George Nelson for Herman Miller living room set, United States, 1960s. Very fine living room set by George Nelson for Herman Miller. This sofa has a metal frame with square chrome-p...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Steel

  • George Nelson for Herman Miller Living Room Set
  • George Nelson for Herman Miller Living Room Set
  • George Nelson for Herman Miller Living Room Set
  • George Nelson for Herman Miller Living Room Set
H 27.17 in. W 90.56 in. D 29.93 in.
George Nelson for Herman Miller Sofa in Off-White Upholstery
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Waalwijk, NL
George Nelson for Herman Miller, sofa, chrome-plated metal, fabric, United States, 1960s This fine sofa is designed by the renowned American furniture designer George Nelson. This s...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Metal, Chrome

George Nelson for H. Miller '4658' Desk in Walnut, Leather and Steel
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Waalwijk, NL
George Nelson for Herman Miller, desk model '4658', walnut, steel, leather, United States, 1946 A stunning and practical desk by the American designer. With this desk George Nelson ...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Steel

George Nelson for Herman Miller Modular Set of Sofas and Side Table
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Waalwijk, NL
George Nelson for Herman Miller, sofa model ‘5671’, side table, fabric, metal, designed in 1955 and produced in 1956-78. This wonderful set is designed by the renowned American f...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Metal

Alberto Rosselli for Saporiti Modular Wall-Unit in Red
By Alberto Rosselli Saporiti
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Alberto Rosselli for Saporiti, wall-unit ‘Speedy’, red plastic, chromed metal, Italy, 1970s This funky wall-unit was designed by Alberto Rosselli, circa 1970. The red color of the...
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Metal

Osvaldo Borsani for Tecno White Wall Unit
By Osvaldo Borsani, Tecno
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Osvaldo Borsani for Tecno, wall-mounted wall unit, metal, white laminated wood, Italy, 1950s  This wall-mounted shelf is three compartments large. This shelving system was develop...
Category

1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Metal

  • Osvaldo Borsani for Tecno White Wall Unit
  • Osvaldo Borsani for Tecno White Wall Unit
  • Osvaldo Borsani for Tecno White Wall Unit
  • Osvaldo Borsani for Tecno White Wall Unit
H 103.15 in. W 84.26 in. D 15.16 in.
Roberto Monsani for Acerbis Illuminated Wall Unit
By Roberto Monsani, Acerbis
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Roberto Monsani for Acerbis, wall unit, wood and glass, Italy, 1970s Stunning wall-mounted shelf by Italian designer Roberto Monsani for Acerbis. Six closed cabinets feature shelv...
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Glass, Wood

  • Roberto Monsani for Acerbis Illuminated Wall Unit
  • Roberto Monsani for Acerbis Illuminated Wall Unit
  • Roberto Monsani for Acerbis Illuminated Wall Unit
  • Roberto Monsani for Acerbis Illuminated Wall Unit
H 87.41 in. W 110.24 in. D 23.63 in.
Finn Juhl for Bovirke Large Wall Unit in Teak and Brass
By Finn Juhl
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Finn Juhl for Bovirke, wall unit, model 'BO71', teak, pine, brass, Denmark, 1950s This eccentric library unit designed by the renowned designer Finn Juhl is based on an elongated c...
Category

1950s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Brass

Large Finn Juhl for Bovirke Wall Unit in Teak and Brass
By Finn Juhl, Bovirke
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Finn Juhl for Bovirke, wall unit, model 'BO71', teak, pine, white lacquered wood, brass, Denmark, 1950s Large open wall unit designed by Finn Juhl for Bovirke. This model 'BO 71' is...
Category

1950s Danish Scandinavian Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Brass

Feal Italian Wall Unit in Anodized Aluminum and Mahogany
By Feal
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Feal (Fonderie Elettriche Alluminio e Lega), model ‘S2’ wall unit, teak, anodized aluminum, Italy, 1950s Both aesthetics and functionality comes into play in this eloquent bookcase...
Category

1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Aluminum

Guglielmo Pecorini Wall Shelve in Walnut
By Guglielmo Pecorini
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Guglielmo Pecorini, wall shelve, walnut, Italy, 1950s. Adjustable unit consisting of a wall construction and two shelves. This piece is designed by Italian designer Guglielmo Peco...
Category

1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Walnut

  • Guglielmo Pecorini Wall Shelve in Walnut
  • Guglielmo Pecorini Wall Shelve in Walnut
  • Guglielmo Pecorini Wall Shelve in Walnut
  • Guglielmo Pecorini Wall Shelve in Walnut
H 36.23 in. W 36.5 in. D 12.41 in.
Large Studio BBPR ‘Spazio’ Wall-Unit or Room-Divider in Metal
By Olivetti, Studio BBPR
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Studio BBPR for Olivetti, 'Spazio' shelving system, metal, plastic, Italy, 1960 This open shelf is part of Studio BBPR's 'Spazio' series and consists of many columns in different w...
Category

1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage George Nelson Shelves

Materials

Metal

George Nelson shelves for sale on 1stDibs

George Nelson shelves are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. In our collection of George Nelson shelves there are many options to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In-stock we have 5 vintage editions of these items, while there is also 0 modern edition to choose from. Many of the original shelves by George Nelson were created in the Mid-20th Century in the United States. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider shelves by Herman Miller, Paul Evans and Paul McCobb. Prices for George Nelson shelves can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $8,441 and tops out at $16,073, while pieces like these can sell for $9,450 on average.
Questions About George Nelson Shelves
  • 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 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 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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