Designed by George Nelson

Nelson Swag Leg Armchair

White Nelson Swag Leg Armchair, viewed from the front.

Designed for modern living

White Nelson Swag Leg Armchair, viewed from a 45-degree angle.

Nelson Swag Leg Armchair

This armchair is part of a collection that was born of George Nelson’s desire to create furniture with a sculpted leg, and he had very specific ideas about how that leg would take its form. He wanted the base to be gracefully curved, crafted from metal, machine formed and prefinished, as well as easily assembled and disassembled so it could be shipped conveniently and made more affordable. Swaging, the use of pressure to taper and bend metal tubes, proved to be the smartest method for producing these legs, and it is this process that lends its name to Nelson’s distinctive design.

For the chair’s seat shell, Nelson combined separate seat and back pieces to form a sculptural shape that fits and flexes with the body. A slit between the seat and back helps prevent heat build-up. Wide, flat arms provide a comfortable place to rest forearms. Placed at a desk or situated around tables in dining areas or conference rooms, this timeless, distinctive chair fits today’s needs as it did when it was first introduced in 1958.

Design Story

George Nelson began with the legs, insisting that they be made of metal, machine formed, prefinished, and beautiful. 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 designed an entire group around this idea, including a desk, work table, and dining tables.

The shell echoes another familiar form. Nelson borrowed (with permission) the patented process for molding plastic that Charles and Ray Eames had developed. But he added a twist. He created separate seat and back shells and then glued them together. The result is a sculptural shape that fits the body and provides a bit of give.

Placed at a desk or work table or around tables in dining areas or conference rooms, this chair fits today’s needs just as it did when it was first introduced, in 1958.

Profile view of a white Nelson Swag Leg Armchair, showing the molded plastic shell and curved steel legs.

“Total design is nothing more or less than a process of relating everything to everything.”

More about George Nelson

Product Designer George Nelson