George Nelson was an architect who lived between 1908 and 1986 and is considered one of the founders of American Modernism. While he was trained as an architect he is best known for his industrial design and his work in furniture, lighting and other household items. He also was a talented writer, graphic designer and teacher of design. Nelson was the first to coin the phrase “family room” and perhaps invent the “storage wall” introducing the idea of storage between or within walls in residential and office settings.
Nelson was the Director of Design for Herman Miller furniture from 1947-1972, reigning as an iconic influencer in Modernism. He simultaneously ran his own design studio on the side and continued his voracious writing on modernism, legitimizing industrial design and the world of Modernism in both the residential and professional settings.
I most often think of lighting when I think of George Nelson. Some of his fixtures have become design icons and are considered today just as beautiful and cutting edge as they were when he designed them in the 1950’s. Nelson is also known for his clocks and furniture. Many are still available today through DWR and Herman Miller.