In search of a new Director of Design, Herman Miller's founder D.J. De Pree spotted a 1945 Life magazine article about the “Storagewall,” a novel design concept for widening the walls of post-war homes to accommodate storage. The idea belonged to George Nelson, who was an architecturally trained editor at Fortune magazine. Although inexperienced in furniture design, De Pree selected him for the position, and in 1946, Nelson presented his first collection for Herman Miller—the genesis of a relationship that would continue for almost four decades.
What Nelson may have then lacked in experience he made up for in vision. He brought on designers like Isamu Noguchi, Charles and Ray Eames, and Alexander Girard and
established a program and philosophy for "the continuing creation of a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirements for modern living." As an architect he was able to see furniture within a broader context. He wrote in the introduction to the 1952 Collection catalog, "there is this to be said for the architectural approach to any design problem, and particularly that of furniture: the problem is never seen in isolation. The design process is always related on the one hand to the houses or other structures in which the furniture is used, and on the other to the people who will use it." Nelson's take on humanistic, innovative, modern furniture that pleases and problem-solves has influenced generations of designers, and continues to inspire today.