In 1946 D. J. De Pree, director of the furniture company Herman Miller, hired George Nelson (1908–1986) as a furniture designer, and a year later he created the position of design director especially for Nelson. Later on, Nelson liked to remark that he took on his first assignment as a complete beginner, having never actually designed furniture before. Yet, by the end of the 1940s, Nelson was a leading American designer, shaping products for home and office and accepting commissions for architecture, graphic design, corporate communications, exhibitions, and interiors.

To mark the one hundredth anniversary of Nelson’s birth, the Vitra Design Museum, which acquired the archives of Nelson’s office from his estate, created the traveling exhibition George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher. The exhibit presented Nelson, whose life and career have received relatively little attention in comparison with other postwar designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, as a...

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