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Coconut Lounge Chair
Iconic Designs

Coconut Lounge Chair

About the Design

George Nelson (1908–86) attributed many of his design breakthroughs to creative “zaps.” He described such moments as “when the solitary individual finds he is connected with a reality he never dreamed of.” The Coconut lounge chair can certainly be traced back to one such “zap.”

The inspiration for the piece — which evolved from an idea presented by George Mulhauser, a designer who worked at Nelson’s Manhattan studio, George Nelson Associates, Inc., and is now credited with the concept — was as simple as the name suggests: a curved slice of coconut. In addition to the tropical fruit, the sleek chair nods to architect Eero Saarinen’s swerving Kresge Auditorium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, built in 1953.

Minimal in appearance, the Coconut lounge chair comprises only a few materials: a molded plastic shell, a single leather cushion and a trio of chrome legs. The chair was created in 1955 for Herman Miller, where Nelson served as director of design until 1972. In his studio, Nelson and his designers produced a wealth of hits, including benches, pendant lights and more for Herman Miller and other clients. In his director role, Nelson also supervised a team of now-legendary mid-century modern designers, such as Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard and others.

Herman Miller founder D.J. De Pree hired Nelson in 1945 after having read about a modular storage system that he conceived with architect Henry Wright — it was featured in a joint editorial project from Life and Architectural Forum. Nelson continued to operate his design studio while at Herman Miller, and today, several of the pieces designed at George Nelson Associates, Inc. are in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection, including the Coconut lounge chair.

Coconut Lounge Chair

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Iconic George Nelson ‘Coconut’ Lounge Chair
By Vitra, George Nelson
Located in Waalwijk, NL
George Nelson, ‘Coconut’ lounge chair, fiberglass, leather upholstery, steel, United States, designed 1955, recent production The ‘Coconut’ lounge chair is one of George Nelson’s ic...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel

Vitra Coconut Chair by George Nelson in Brown Leather
By Vitra, George Nelson
Located in Echt, NL
Brown leather coconut chair in very good condition. Design: George Nelson. Manufacturer: Vitra. Upholstery: Dark brown leather. Base: Chrome. Shell: White fiberglass. ...
Category

20th Century German Mid-Century Modern Armchairs

Materials

Chrome

1950s Coconut Lounge Chair by George Nelson for Herman Miller
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Sagaponack, NY
An excellent example of Nelson's iconic coconut lounge chair, with its original brick-red leather upholstery on splayed, chromed steel legs.
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel

George Nelson Coconut Chair in Alexander Girard Minicheck
By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Iconic coconut chair designed by George Nelson. A low-slung lounge profile with spacious seat for superior comfort. Triangular fiberglass shell rests on architectural brushed-steel t...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Fiberglass

Rare Pair of 1. Edition Metal Shell Coconuts
By George Nelson
Located in Munich, DE
designed by george nelson in 1955 and made by herman miller.
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Metal

Early George Nelson by Herman Miller Green Leather Classic Coconut Lounge Chairs
By George Nelson, Herman Miller
Located in National City, CA
For your consideration: Early George Nelson for Herman Miller green leather original coconut lounge chairs. Featuring new Leather upholstery in rich Forest Green. Mid-Century Modern...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Metal, Chrome

Early Coconut Chair and Ottoman by George Nelson 1955 Brown Suede
By George Nelson
Located in Dallas, TX
An Icon of Modern Design, Early Production Coconut chair & Ottoman by George Nelson for Herman Miller 1955. Chair has the original paint to the shell with new foam and suede leather ...
Category

Early 20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Sheet Metal

George Nelson Coconut Chair and Ottoman
By George Nelson
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Leather chair and ottoman with metal base.
Category

Vintage 1950s Lounge Chairs