Sunday, March 9, 2008

Designer Posters


These are some beautiful well-designed posters. Blue Art Studio has two new posters — each displaying the work of four modern design giants. These posters have been all over the web, but I thought they belonged here on the Roundup page.

While you are looking at these two new posters, also check out the Alphabet of Design Classics poster — its every bit as great.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Nelson Marshmallow Sofa


Designed in 1956 by George Nelson and Irving Harper, the Marshmallow Sofa is wholly unique. The Marshmallow Sofa is constructed of 18 urethane foam cushions floating on a brushed tubular steel frame. This design was originally intended for high traffic public areas. The cushions are easily removable to facilitate easy cleaning and allow for rotation to distribute wear evenly. You can also create new looks if you have a multiple color version. This sofa was only produced until 1965 so vintage pieces are rare. Herman Miller again started producing the Marshmallow Sofa in 1999 after a 34-year hiatus.

The 1956 Herman Miller catalogue stated, “Despite its astonishing appearance, this piece is very comfortable.”

The list price of the sofa starts at $2,899 for the crepe or vinyl version, with a leather version available for $3,699. Remember, the vintage 1956 – 1965 versions are quite rare. They were however designed for public use and therefore do survive quite well.

Nelson Ball Clock


George Nelson designed the Ball Clock in 1949. The clock was part of a series of timepieces called The Chronopak. These clocks were designed for the Howard Miller Clock Company. The shape of the clock is borrowed from science; it is reminiscent of the shape of an atom. These are indeed clocks for the atomic age.

Interestingly enough, George Nelson admits to not designing the clock. As the story goes, Nelson had been working on some clock designs. One night Nelson was hanging out with other Mid-Century heavy hitters along with Bucky Fuller, Isamu Noguchi and others. While enjoying drinks, they all “contributed” by sketching their personal variations of clocks on some drafting paper. The next day, while looking at the drafting paper, Nelson found this design. Whoever designed it, the clock succeeded in selling and in becoming an iconic piece of the 50’s.

The clocks are still produced by Herman Miller and list for $315. They are also available second hand. They were produced in significant numbers and are still fairly easy to find.

Nelson Swag Leg Desk


Nelson designed the Swag Leg Desk in 1958. The desk is part of the Herman Miller swag leg group. The sides and back of this desk are solid walnut; the writing surface is white laminate. There are five cubbies separated by four colored dividers — two orange, one blue and one chartreuse. The legs are machine tapered and curved with a process called swaging.

The desk was out of production for a number of years, but is again being produces by Herman Miller. The desk’s newfound popularity is dew in part to the popularity of laptops. The design is as current and relevant as it was in 1958.

The desk lists for $1,799. There are occasional vintages pieces available on Ebay, but I have seen them sell at prices near that of the new production.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hans Olsen Round Table


This post was carried over from the home page. Although it’s a great piece for Small Space Living it also is a prime piece of Mid-Century Modern Design.

Dining sets are one of the largest pieces of furniture, next to your bed, in most homes. Fitting a table with chairs large enough to entertain — but small enough to live with — is a delicate balance. I have seen several good space saving designs, but none as functional and stylish as Hans Olsen’s round tables.

These tables were designed in 1953. The design is as revenant now as it was then with no modern peer. These pieces are readily available on Ebay and from other Mid-century Modern furniture brokers. The asking price has been ever increasing in recent months due to the new found popularity of these sets.

The table is a simple, elegant round design with cutouts in the table skirt to accept the chair backs. The table and four chairs fit perfectly together to form one integrated piece when not in use. The chairs are three-legged triangular shaped pieces. This shape is required so the four pieces can fit together under the table like slices of pie. The design is simple and functional with an elegance that beguiles it diminutive size.

There is also a larger sized version that is essentially identical except for the chairs, which have four legs. This table was recently seen in the in the apartment of the winner of Apartment Therapy’s 2007 Smallest Coolest Apartment see the post here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Meet Designer George Nelson

Photo Credit Herman Miller Company

George Nelson is considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of American Modernism.

George Nelson was born in Hartford Connecticut in 1908. He studied architecture at Yale University where he graduated in 1928. He also received a degree in fine arts in 1931.

Nelson had a career that spanned 50 years. His big break came when he was named the first associate editor of Architectural Forum Magazine He held that position from 1935 – 1943. He continued to working for the magazine as a consulting editor from 1944 – 1949.

Nelson’s accomplishments continued to firmly place him at the front of the Modern movement. In his book, Tomorrow’s House, he introduced the concept of the “family room”.

In 1945, he became the director of design at Herman Miller. He worked for Herman miller for 25 years along with some of the most famous pioneers of the Modern movement. Some of his most famous designs were the Marshmallow Sofa, The Nelson Ball Clock and the Nelson Swag Leg Group.

Nelson died in New York in 1986.