Eloquent, Articulate George Nelson; the Architect with a Story



Post WWII was characterized by a belief in progress, anything was possible and everybody wanted to be modern.  Enter George Nelson, one of the fathers of the industrial design movement known as American Modernism. 

Nelson studied at Yale in 1924; he said he had no idea what he wanted to be.  During a rainstorm he entered the architecture building for shelter which was clearly fated. He graduated with a degree in architecture and went on to become a great writer and designer. 

Nelson’s Ball Clock became an iconic part of the 1950’s atomic era.  This whimsical clock symbolizes mid-century modernism with its forward-looking design, a refreshing change from the traditional styles of the time.  The ball and stick design is reminiscent of the models used in chemistry, Nelson was influenced by scientific knowledge and technical advancements. 

The “Marshmellow Sofa” made entirely out of identically shaped circles exemplifies decomposition of large forms into smaller parts.  Supported by a minimalist steel frame it reaches the heights of pop playfulness, one of Nelson’s iconic pieces.

Part of the permanent collection at MOMA, NY, NY, the Nelson Bubble Lamp is constructed of plastic membranes over wire-forms.   Ever popular still, they adorn many a commercial set and can be found for sale online.

The designs he wrought from the English language could be his greatest designs of all.  With his eloquent style of writing and sense of humor, George Nelson brought a wonderfully bearable lightness of being.

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