about George Nelson

GEORGE NELSON (1908 – 1986)

George Nelson was born in Hartford, Connecticut, USA in 1908. In 1924 he started to study architecture at the University of Yale and graduated there in 1928. Four years later George Nelson received a scholarship for the “American Academy in Rome”. There are only 30 such scholarships awarded to outstanding talents every year.  

As an associate editor George Nelson supported the magazine Architectural Forum and so attracted attention in the years after his studies and developed into one of the most influential American design theoreticians of the 20th  century. Shortly after the Second World War George Nelson started to work as a design director for the American furniture manufacturer „Herman Miller“ and stayed there for nearly 30 years.

Under the management of George Nelson they were also able to bind Charles Eames to the company Herman Miller for quite a long time. This partnership for example gave rise to Charles Eames’ legendary Lounge Chair.



George Nelson himself mainly designed office furniture – groundbreaking office furniture. Nelson’s wall- and table clocks are as unparalleled as George Nelson’s Coconut Chair or the absolutely unique Marshmallow Sofa.

Besides his own designs, George Nelson published innumerable essays, photo documentaries and worked as a lecturer. That was how he helped to shape the working conditions, tasks and targets of the new job profile of a designer in the 20th century.

“To make a lot more out of a lot less. To achieve everything with nothing.” that was George Nelson’s idea of design. And he stuck to this idea: to clearly categorize a design of Nelson will always be difficult; his thoughts were just too free and surprisingly playful, so he just couldn’t cling to one line. He was admirably creative for a theoretician.

George Nelson died in New York City in 1986.