George Nelson (1908-1986) was an extremely influential industrial designer, writer, and thinker whose designs are as popular today as perhaps they’ve ever been. Educated in architecture at Yale University in the 1920s, Nelson was a prolific writer on design. He wrote for Architectural Forum and Interiors and published the top-drawer books Tomorrow’s House, How to See: A Guide to Reading Our Man-Made Environment, and Building a New Europe: Portraits of Modern Architects. More important than his writing, however, was his work as an industrial designer. He had a close relationship with the Herman Miller furniture company, for which he served as creative director, which produced his famous works such as the bubble lamp, marshmallow sofa, swag leg desk and dozens of clocks. In 1959 he worked on the exhibition design of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, home of the famous “Kitchen Debate” between then US Vice President Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev. Nelson’s legacy lives on now and he has come to define mid-century American design like few others.
George Nakashima (1905-1990) was born in Spokane, Washington and grew up in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula. A leader in woodworking and sculpture, he received a Bachelor's Degree in architecture at the University of Washington and a Master's from MIT in 1930, as well as the Prix Fontainebleau from L'Ecole Americaine des Beaux Arts in France in 1928.
After spending some time in Paris, he traveled around the world and secured a job at the Antonin Raymond office in Tokyo which sent him to Pondicherry, India, where he was the onsite architect for the first reinforced concrete building in that country and became one of the first disciples of Sri Aurobindo.
When the war broke out, he returned to the U.S. via Tokyo where he met Marion, married in 1941 and was sent to the camps in Minidoka, Idaho, in 1942 with his infant daughter, Mira, who now operates Nakashima Studio.
Among many awards from the AIA and other prestigious institutions, Nakashima received the Third Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor and Government of Japan in 1983 in recognition of the cultural exchange generated by the shows he produced in Japan from 1968-1988. His last show in the U.S., the retrospective "Full Circle" which opened at the American Craft Museum in New York. This show returned to New Hope shortly before Nakashima's receiving his final award, Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus, from the University of Washington one week prior to his death in June 1990.
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George is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and art collector. As the son of an interior designer he is an avid follower of design trends and innovations. He is extremely interested in the ways entrepreneurship, Silicon Valley, and contemporary art have affected design.