The total design consists essentially in the put in relation with the whole.
George Nelson was born on 29 may 1908 in Connecticut (USA) and, together with Charles & Ray Eames, was one of the founding fathers of what is called “american modernism”.
After a first degree in architecture and later in fine arts, is not only active in the field of planning and design but is also a writer, curator, and publicist. Still a student chooses to travel around Europe and interview leading modern architects, and a few years later, with the publication of his articles, makes known to the design community in north america, the european avant-garde and its personalities, such as Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Gio Ponti.
The name and work of Nelson remains inextricably linked with that of the company by Herman Miller, one of the leading u.s. manufacturers of modern design, which draws the pieces that are recognized around the world and, especially, care, the catalogue of 1941, which marks the launch of the company. Since 1947, becoming its artistic director , and opens the way to the management of a coordinated image of the company clear, that goes from the design of the furniture to the communication to the set-up. It is precisely under his leadership that the range of products by Herman Miller grows to include some of the furnishings for the house’s most iconic twentieth century designers such as Eames, Harry Bertoia and Isamu Noguchi.
Catalogues Hermann Miller under the artistic direction of Nelson, in the years ’50
Among the products designed by George Nelson, the highly avant-garde for the time, there is the Basic Cabinet Series, the first storage system modular and precursor of systems furniture configurable. The wall of storage is presented for the first time in 1945 with a dramatic impact on the entire furniture industry. Defined by the designer himself as a designer model “classic”, or “a work of excellent long-lasting” is a perfect example of clean design, functional and versatile still in production.
Basic Cabinet Series, 1945, the Herman Miller credits hivemodern.com
Basic Cabinet Series, 1945, Herman Miller, credits Devon Banks
During his 25-year collaboration with Herman Miller has designed a series of objects to decorate the home and office that embody the style of modern design: simplicity, imagination, and intuition. A typical example is the Coconut Chair. Form decided, sitting in large comfortable and relaxing, where the inspiration comes from a coconut and cut with inverted colors compared to the tropical fruit: a white plastic shell exterior, while the interior upholstery is available in various colors. Developed and produced in 1955 by Herman Miller, the chair is produced by Vitra since 1988 until today.
Coconut Chair, 1955 for Herman Miller, produced today by Vitra
George Nelson is also known for its production of wall clocks of the ’50s; it plans to nearly 300, many of which are now produced by Vitra. This wide range of small objects of daily use, which also includes lamps and other home accessories, was the expression of a desire to bring the design of the “modern” inside of american homes as a sign of progress and growth of economic prosperity in the post-war period. One of the most recognizable timepieces of the clock to the Atomic 1947: fun, unusual and colorful, its design is inspired by the molecular structure of the atom.
Watches various designed by George Nelson, anni ‘50, Vitra
Clock Atomic, 1947, Vitra
In 1956, a draw maybe the object of the most iconic, the sofa Marshmallow that with its shape and construction is not conventional, anticipating the taste and style of the Pop. The round colored balls held together in a molecular structure is linked to the previous design of the watch is Atomic.
Sofa Marshmallow, 1956, the Herman Miller credits Herman Miller
Sofa Marshmallow, 1956, the Herman Miller credits Vitra
The design of the chair Swag in 1958, is elegant and contemporary, although I have more than 50 years. The welcoming seat, which is supported by two sculptural legs in chromed steel, is composed of a single body, like a shell, characterized by two armrests. For the backrest from the sculptural form that fits and flexes with the body, Nelson got permission from Charles and Ray Eames to use the patented process they developed for molding plastic.
Chair Swag, 1958, the Herman Miller credits Herman Miller
In addition to the interest for the architecture and domestic interiors, Nelson has pursued with attention to the theme of the office furniture. In addition to designing the first desk L-shaped, for Herman Miller develops the Herman Miller’s Action Office, and in 1970 set up a system of their own for the office: the Nelson Workspaces. Similar to the home furnishings and experimental architecture, this system was based on a series of modular elements that could be freely combined.
Herman Miller’s Action Office, 1965, Herman Miller, credits Herman Miller
Herman Miller’s Action Office, 1965, Herman Miller, credits panomo.it
In 1946 she opened her own studio in New York city and brings together many of the best designers of the era, including Ettore Sottsass and Michael Graves, signing projects for Herman Miller with label George Nelson. With his studio, Nelson has released new practices for the involvement of design in all aspects of the company, a pioneer in the practice of the management of corporate image, graphic programs and signage.
“The designer must always be aware of the consequences of their actions on people and society,” by declaring that “the total design basically consists in putting in relation all with all“. On the basis of this he adds that rather than specializing, designers must cultivate a broad base of knowledge and understanding. During his career, Nelson has produced designs for furniture, constructions, and graphics, as well as almost a dozen books and many articles for magazines. He died in New York in 1986 at the age of 77 years.
In the cover image, a portrait of George Nelson, credits Vitra