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George Nelson (American, 1908–1986)
LOT ID: 52050
An Early Marshmallow Sofa, ie. circa 1960

Seating, vinyl, metal
31 х 50 х 30 in. (78.74 x 127 x 76.2 cm.)
Unsigned
Foundry/Publisher Herman Miller
Lot description
An example of the Marshmallow Sofa is in the permanent collection of the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany.

This 1956 design employed new production techniques for injection plastic in combination with a simple yet powerful form of 18 cushion-discs arranged on a steel frame. It signifies the advances achieved by modern design in the mid-20th century. As the Herman Miller catalogue noted after it was introduced, “Despite its astonishing appearance, this piece is very comfortable.”

Condition: Minor marks and scratches consistent with age a use, rust on metal on the back

American designer George Nelson (1908-1986) is considered one of the founders of American Modernism. Nelson studied architecture at Yale and in 1932 won the Rome Prize for the competition in architecture, allowing him to continue his architectural studies in Rome for a year. He wrote for multiple architecture and design magazines including Pencil Points and Architecture Forum. He also wrote a book, co-authored by Henry Wright, called “Tomorrow’s House”, in which the ideas for a “family room” and the “storage wall” were introduced. In the mid-1940s Nelson become Director of Design for the Herman Miller Furniture company, which until that point had been a predominantly wood based design house. In collaboration with leading designers such as Ray and Charles Eames, Harry Bertoia, and Ettore Sottsass, Nelson produced catalogs and exhibitions that made design the most important driving force at Herman Miller.

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