An extremely self depreciating designer Nelson himself often spoke about his career as a serious of lucky breaks however we would beg to differ believing him to be an exceptionally talented interpreter of the world around him.
His first great insight was whilst travelling in the 1930s as an architecture student exposed for the first time to the exciting work coming out of Europe. He realised that he could study and interview the leaders of European avante garde design and then introduce them to the design fraternity back home, this he did earning himself a few dollars along the way as a journalist and ultimately the position of editor for US based Architectural Forum magazine.
The downtown pedestrian mall was a consequent idea of his that he first hit upon whilst working on the magazine in 1942, a concept that determined the urban re-generation plans of many US cities for decades to come and that can still be seen in city plans today.
Once he began specifically turning his hand to the design of furniture he created many design greats, the first of which (and one that we particularly love him for) is the modular storage system. The 'Storagewall' was showcased in 1945 in Life magazine and became an instant success, defining his position as a key figure in the design of contemporary furniture.
Nelson went on to become a prolific furniture designer, sometimes working alone and sometimes in collaboration, his designs not only caught the eye with their stunning aesthetics but also changed the way that homes were used and viewed, sparking a real change in how people lived.
No surprise then that he viewed design as part of a holistic process and believed that designers themselves should consciously ensure they had a broad based understanding of the world that they lived in: "total design is nothing more or less than a process of relating everything to everything."
Nelson's Marshmallow Sofa is not for all tastes but those that love it really love it and it gains converts every day. Surprisingly comfortable and a real conversation starter it demonstrates many of the aspects of Nelson's work that set him apart as an intelligent, ground breaking designer of contemporary furniture.