Friday, March 2, 2012

George Nakashima and George Nelson: consummate designers

While on Sabbatical, this semester, working at Thirst (3st) in Chicago during the day “beautiful and practical things” surround me. Pictured here are just a couple of examples. Pictured above: George Nakashima’s (1905-1990) “Conoid Table” with a “‘New’ Chair” and below is the “Home Office Desk” designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller.

According to the George Nakashima website, “The sculptural lines of the conoid base suit a more free-form tabletop….” In this example, the tabletop is one piece of beautifully figured wood. Along with the table is a single “New” Chair made of American cherry with hickory spindles, 1955-1984, 18.5" w x 17.5" d x 35" h.

Here’s a brief Nakashima biography taken from his website:
George Nakashima (1905-1990) was born in Spokane, Washington in 1905 and grew up in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in architecture at the University of Washington and a Master’s from MIT in 1930, as well as the Prix Fontainebleau from L’Ecole Americaine des Beaux Arts in France in 1928. After spending some time in Paris, he traveled around the world and secured a job at the Antonin Raymond office in Tokyo which sent him to Pondicherry, India, where he was the onsite architect for the first reinforced concrete building in that country and became one of the first disciples of Sri Aurobindo. 
“There are no formulas, no guidelines, but only experience, instinct and a contact with the divine.” — George Nakashima

George Nelson (1908-1986) was one of the founders of American modernism. In addition to being a very fine designer he was also an exceptional writer about design and published several books and numerous articles.

Pictured above is the “Home Office Desk” for Herman Miller designed in c.1946. The materials list for the piece is walnut, leather, chrome-plated steel, perforated aluminum and the dimensions are, 54.5" w x 28" d x 40.75" h. The desk features two drawers, two doors concealing two drawers and five shelves and one flip-top compartment.

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