Posted on February 10, 2009 - by

George Nelson

George Nelson
George Nelson
(1908–1986)

Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, USA

Following his time studying architecture at Yale University, George Nelson took a fellowship from 1932-34, continuing his studies at the American Academy in Rome. His time in Europe afforded him the chance to be surrounded by some of the most significant, modernist architectural works of the period.

In 1935 he became a member of the editorial team at the Architectural Forum, a position he stayed in until 1944 when his reputation brought him a new challenge. D.J. DePree, head of the furniture company Herman Miller, read an article penned by Nelson on furniture design and residential building, published in the Architectural Forum. Alerted to Nelson’s talent, DePree offered him a position as Director of Design. He worked at Herman Miller until 1972, where he built a legacy in American design and became highly influential on his contemporaries. During his time in the company, Nelson brought several significant talents into the Herman Miller fold, including Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard and Isamu Noguchi.

From the mid 1940s onwards, Nelson also ran his own design office, and in 1957 he began working with the furniture company Vitra, with whom he built a significant portfolio. This prolific work ethic produced many iconic designs of mid-century American modernism. To this today Vitra still owns the license to produce the Nelson furniture and accessories range including the Nelson Coconut chair and his range of wall and desk clocks. So if it isn’t made by Vitra, it’s a copy.

In 1986, George Nelson died in New York.

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