George Nelson: Icon of American Modernism

Marshmallow Sofa_VitraGeorge Nelson was one of the most influential figures in American design during the second half of the twentieth century.

This comprehensive retrospective explores the visionary work of Nelson who was not only a leading designer and notable architect, but also a prominent author, editor, lecturer, exhibition designer, and a passionate photographer.

In his many essays on design, Nelson was one of the most prominent voices among his peers in reflecting on the working conditions, duties and objectives of his profession at a time when the field and its image were still in the formative years.

As design director of Herman Miller, Nelson had a major influence on the product line and public image of the company for over two decades and collaborated with many of the iconic designers of the era from Charles and Ray Eames to Alexander Girard.

Nelson created classics of modern furniture and interior design such as the Coconut Chair (1956), the Marshmallow Sofa (1956), the Ball Clock (1947), Bubble Lamps (starting in 1952) and Action Office (1964).

As an architect, designer and writer, Nelson was deeply interested in the topics of domestic living and interior furnishings. He was a pioneering planner and designer of the modern single family home during the 1940s and ’50s.

His work included Sherman Fairchild House (New York, 1941), The House of Tomorrow (bestselling book on modern housing, 1944), the Holiday House (model vacation home for Holiday Magazine, 1950), and Experimental House (design of a modular prefabricated house, 1952-57).

Nelson was also an accomplished author, editor, and one of the most important thinkers and visionaries in the realm of twentieth-century design. Through many films and presentations, Nelson addressed the topics of urban planning, consumerism, and aesthetic perception in Western society.

George Nelson: Icon of American Modernism
Powerhouse Museum – Harris Street, Ultimo (Sydney)
Exhibition: 3 August 2013 – January 2014
Free with Museum entry

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Image: Marshmallow Sofa, 1956. Photo: Vitra Design Museum