Nelson took his role of provocateur very seriously and spent his long career asking, challenging, and commenting on design, architectural, business and society at large. He could be cantankerous and opinionated, but he was also brilliant. Much of his writing, and design work feels as contemporary today as it did the day it was created.
Herman Miller owes much to Nelson, whose birthday is May 29. Under his guidance the company pioneered modern design, discovered Charles and Ray Eames, and conceived the first office system. But most of all, Herman Miller owes George Nelson for instilling the company with his design philosophy, the belief that good design is honest, an integral part of business, and that a market exists for it –a philosophy that lives on today.
One would hope that George would feel a sense of satisfaction in products like Aeron, Setu, SAYL, and Compass; proud that the seeds he sowed are still growing today.
If you’re in the San Antonio, Texas area, the McNay museum will be exhibiting George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher beginning June 8.
Photo: “Junkyard” observations from “George Nelson: The Deisgn of Modern Design“