George Nelson (1908-1986) was, together with Charles & Ray Eames, one of the founding fathers of American modernism. We like to think of George Nelson as "The Creator of Beautiful and Practical Things".
George Nelson was part of a generation of architects that found too few projects and turned successfully toward product, graphic and interior design. In 1945 De Pree asked him to become Herman Miller's design director, an appointment that became the start of a long series of successful collaborations with Ray and Charles Eames, Harry Bertoia, Richard Schultz, Donald Knorr and Isamu Noguchi.
George Nelson's catalogue design and exhibition designs for Herman Miller close a long list of involvements designed to make design to the most important driving force in the company. From his start in the mid-forties to the mid-eighties his office worked for and with the best of his times. At one point Ettore Sottsass worked at his office. He was without any doubt the most articulate and one of the most eloquent voices on design and architecture in the U.S.A. of the 20th century. He was a teacher and he did write extensively, organized conferences like the legendary Aspen gatherings and published several books. Among the best known designs are his marshmallow sofa, the coconut chair, the Catenary group, his clocks and many other products that became milestones in the history of a profession that he helped to shape.
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