George Nelson

American, 1908 - 1986
George Nelson, who was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1908, is widely considered one of the pioneers of American Modernism. After studying architecture at Yale University,  Nelson won the Rome Prize, and spent the years between 1932 and 1934 living and studying in Italy. During this time, Nelson interviewed some of the most influential architects of the twentieth century, including Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, and Gio Ponti.
 
After stints as an associate editor at Architecture Forum and Fortune, Nelson founded his own architectural practice in New York with William Hamby, which closed at the beginning of World War II. Nelson took a teaching job at Columbia University and in 1945, was invited to design a collection for Herman Miller. In 1947, Nelson was appointed design director of the company. During his time at the helm of Herman Miller, Nelson transformed the company’s aesthetic, designed an array of iconic pieces, and recruited such luminaries as Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, and Isamu Noguchi. Aside from his work with Herman Miller, Nelson operated his own New York studio. George Nelson designer furniture include the Marshmallow Sofa, the Coconut Chair, and the Ball Clock. George Nelson died in New York in 1986.
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