George Nelson began with the legs, insisting that they be made of metal, machine formed and pre-finished. And beautiful. He wanted that graceful curve. He also wanted them to be easy for the consumer to assemble, so the desk and tables could be shipped flat to save on costs.
Swaging — using pressure to taper and curve a metal tube — proved to be the best way to produce the legs, which are 16-gauge steel and have adjustable glides. Nelson added solid walnut stretchers that bolt to the legs for a stable, durable base that is shared by the desk and tables.
Once he got started, Nelson didn’t stop at desks. He made a work table that lets you spread out papers and tools. He made two dining tables — one round, one rectangular — with the walnut base stretchers in an X formation to make room for your legs. It’s all about the legs.