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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.

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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.
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Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

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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, design 1955, later production The ‘Coconut’ lounge chair is one of George Nelson’s iconi...
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Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

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Steel

George Nelson For Herman Miller First Generation Coconut Chair and Ottoman
By George Nelson
Located in Seattle, WA
The Coconut chair was designed in 1955 by the American architect, industrial designer, author, editor and teacher George Nelson. Unlike the later editions, the first generation has a...
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Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

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Metal

Coconut Chair by George Nelson for Vitra, 1950s
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Introducing the Coconut Chair by George Nelson for Vitra, an iconic piece of modern design that combines comfort, elegance, an...
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Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Armchairs

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Chrome

Original George Nelson Coconut Chair, Vitra, Black Leather, White Shell, Chrome
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Original George Nelson Coconut Chair, Vitra, Black Leather, White Shell, Chrome Coconut lounge chair designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller, manufactured by Vitra. Black leather...
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George Nelson Coconut Lounge Chair in Maharam Mode Goldenrod Fabrics
By George Nelson
Located in Seattle, WA
This is a late 2010s production of the Coconut Chair, Designed by George Nelson's design studio. Introduced in 1956, the Coconut Lounge Chair is one artifact of the burst of crea...
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2010s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

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George Nelson "Coconut" Lounge Chair for Vitra
By George Nelson
Located in Edmonton, AB
This iconic midcentury modern lounge chair was designed by George Nelson in 1956. This chair is a recent production.
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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...
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Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

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George Nelson Coconut Chair and Ottoman
By George Nelson
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Leather chair and ottoman with metal base.
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Vintage 1950s Lounge Chairs

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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...
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