Finding space to keep your things is just as much a problem today as it was in the 1940s, when George Nelson and fellow architect Henry Wright devised the Storagewall. It was designed to take the place of the traditional walls between the rooms in a home, and offered storage tailored to the function of the room.
Their concept for the multi-functional wall was presented in the 1945 Life article, “Storage Wall”—the first in a series of articles on the unique design challenges of what would soon be the postwar American home. Life built it’s own version of the Storagewall, and installed it in a New Jersey home. The article documented the many ways Storagewall could be used to provide structure, space delineation, and storage for any room—a clever solution for a culture enamored of the ephemera of the home.
It’s a solution that’s also timeless. The Storagewall concept could easily apply to current design challenges, like the increasing overlap between our work and personal lives. And the influence of Storagewall on contemporary storage designs is clear. Consider Herman Miller’s Meridian Storage, designed to offer more than just a place to keep files, paperclips, and rubber bands. The modular pieces function as seating, collaboration spaces, and power sources—a versatility reminiscent of Nelson and Wright’s pioneering design.
You can see Storagewall and other Nelson designs on display at the Yale School of Architecture Gallery until January 26, 2013, in an exhibit titled “George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher.”