Mid Century Modern

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George Nelson

Nelson Ball Clock - photo by m.bibelot

Nelson Ball Clock - photo by m.bibelot

Unlike many other mid century modern designers, George Nelson (1904 – 1986) started out his career as a writer. After studying architecture at Yale University, Nelson spent a few years in Europe to learn about modern European architecture. He interviewed many leading European architects and brought his knowledge home to write about his experience. Nelson successfully introduced the concept of modern European architecture into the American design community. He also introduced many innovative design ideas in his articles while he was an editor at “Architectural Forum.”


By 1940, Nelson’s innovative design ideas began to draw attention from the design community. One of those ideas, the first modular storage system called “Storagewall” caught the attention of D.J. DePree, President of Herman Miller, Inc. In 1945, Nelson accepted a position of director of design at Herman Miller and held this position until 1972. While at Herman Miller, Inc., Nelson was involved in furniture design and communication for the company, such as marketing and signage. He also recruited other designers like Charles Eames and Isamu Noguchi. Nelson also created his own products such as the first L-shaped desk, the Marshmallow sofa, the platform bench, the Coconut chair, a series of wall and desk clocks, and a series of bubble lamps.

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  1. […] you think of mid century modern clocks, what comes to your mind? George Nelson clocks? I am a big fan of George Nelson clocks – they are unique, colorful, and aesthetic. […]

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