Nelson 6-Drawer Miniature Chest
Before it was Herman Miller, it was Michigan Star Furniture Company and D.J. De Pree had been working there for 4 years as a clerk, after its opening in 1905. In an effort to aid his son-in-law to buy the company, West Michigan businessman, Herman Miller bought Michigan Star Furniture Company in 1923. Subsequently, the company was renamed Herman Miller and within due time the Herman Miller brand name became synonymous with "modern" furniture as the company grew and employed well known designers such as: George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames; under who the company would produce pieces that would become some of the world's most iconic and well known designs.
Since the company's re-branding, collaborations with designers like Isamu Noguchi, Alexander Girard, Robert Propst, Bill Stumpf, Don Chadwick, Ayse Birsel, Studio 7.5, Yves Behar, Doug Ball, and etc have aided with the company's growth; turning Herman Miller into one of the most influential brands in today's design market. Herman Miller furniture is well recognized around the world for elevating the design of any commercial or residential setting. As a leading brand that boasts modern and mid-century modern designs, Herman Miller has effectively put itself on the map as a key and notable brand that continues to stay at the forefront of producing great designs that will not only maintain relevance but quality as well. From pioneering ergonomic office furniture to stewarding environmental leadership in business strategy and manufacturing processes, Herman Miller's commitment to quality and the world around us continues to be a factor in driving their design solutions for the modern home and workspace. And with proven, all-around reputable pieces, it is without a doubt that any authentic Herman Miller furniture will guarantee lasting excellence throughout the decades to come.
When writing about the course of his remarkable 50-year career, George Nelson described a series of creative "zaps" moments of out-of-the-blue inspiration "when the solitary individual finds he is connected with a reality he never dreamed of."
An early zap came in the 1930s, when he was an architectural student in Rome. Before returning home, an idea struck him: He would travel Europe and interview leading modern architects, hoping to get the articles published in the U.S. He succeeded, and in the process introduced the U.S. design community to the European avant-garde. This set in motion a sequence of what he called "lucky" career breaks that were really the inevitable outcomes of his brilliance as a designer, teacher, and author.
The first break was being named an editor of Architectural Forum magazine. Working on a story there in 1942, he was looking at aerial photos of blighted cities when--zap!--he developed the concept of the downtown pedestrian mall, which was unveiled in the Saturday Evening Post.
Soon after, another zap led to the Storagewall, the first modular storage system and a forerunner of systems furniture. The Storagewall was showcased in a 1945 Life magazine article, causing a sensation in the furniture industry. Herman Miller founder D.J. DePree saw the article and was so impressed that he paid a visit to Nelson in New York and convinced him to be his director of design, which spurred Nelson to found his design firm, George Nelson & Associates. The warm personal and professional relationship between Nelson and DePree yielded a stunning range of products, from the playful Marshmallow Sofa to the first L-shaped desk, a precursor of today's workstation.
Nelson once wrote that Herman Miller "is not playing follow-the-leader." That's one reason why George Nelson & Associates worked with Herman Miller for over 25 years as they shepherded design into the modern era.
During this same period, George Nelson & Associates also created many landmark designs of products, showrooms, and exhibitions for a variety of companies and organizations.
Nelson said that for a designer to deal creatively with human needs, "he must first make a radical, conscious break with all values he identifies as antihuman." Designers also must constantly be aware of the consequences of their actions on people and society. In fact, he declared that "total design is nothing more or less than a process of relating everything to everything." So he said that rather than specializing, designers must cultivate a broad base of knowledge and understanding.
Prix de Rome for architecture, 1932
Best Office of the Year, New York Times, 1953
Gold Medal, Art Directors Club of New York, 1953
Good Design Award, Museum of Modern Art, 1954
Trailblazer Award, National Home Furnishings League, 1954
Chairman, International Design Conference in Aspen, 1965, 1982
Scholar in Residence, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Design, 1984
Lifetime Achievement Award, American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1991
Permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Nelson did so as few are able, and, with the help of well-timed zaps, he helped define modern, humane design.
- from HermanMiller.comView other products by George Nelson