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George Nelson

Biographies
George Nelson

*  1907 Hartford
† 1986 New York


Born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1908, George Nelson was a prolific industrial designer, architect, and journalist. Between 1928 and 1931 Nelson studied at Yale University and then from 1932 until 1934 at the American Academy in Rome. From 1944-1949 George Nelson co-edited "Architectural Forum". Through his extensive journalistic activities, which included a stint with "Pencil Point" magazine, George Nelson made an American readership aware of the European avant-garde. From 1946 until 1972 George Nelson was design director at Herman Miller. George Nelson succeeded in introducing important innovations in office-furniture design while at Herman Miller. Of George Nelson's own designs, the 1958 "Swagged Leg Group", which includes the "DAF" and "MAA" chairs, is particularly remarkable. The back of the "MAA" can be tilted backwards at a 90 degree angle, a flexibility of adjustment made possible by joints consisting of steel ball bearings mounted in rubber. In 1946 George Nelseon designed "Platform", simple and functional seat furniture, for Herman Miller. While working for Herman Miller, George Nelson also opened a New York practice in 1947, which was renamed George Nelson & Associates in 1953 when Gordon Chadwick became a partner. The best known George Nelson designs are the 1955 "Coconut Chair", featuring a triangular seat inspired by a piece of coconut, and the 1956 "Marshmallow" sofa, with a seat and back made up of individual round cushions. In the 1940s and 1950s, George Nelson designed numerous wall clocks for the Howard Miller Clock Company, including the 1947 "Ball" wall clock with the hours marked by simple, wooden balls.