George Nelson (1908-1986), was an influential American architect and furniture designer. Along with his contemporaries Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia and Arne Jacobsen, Nelson was instrumental in bringing mid century modern furniture into the public eye and consequently solidifying it’s place in art and design history.
Nelson, who you may know through his bubble lamps or playful clocks, has an impressive roster of classics to his name. One of my favourites, though perhaps the most ubiquitous and understated of the bunch, is the Platform Bench which he designed for Herman Miller in 1946.
A highly versatile, modular, and multi-functional piece of furniture, the Platform Bench is a synthesis of George Nelson‘s vision of “honest design” — a design that makes an honest visual statement about it’s purpose as an object. You may not have previously noticed just how prolific these benches are, but if you begin to look around in the waiting rooms, hallways, and lobbies of tastefully designed public buildings throughout the world you will likely see just how ever-present they have become. Then, for George‘s sake, forget you noticed them and go back to letting them blend in beautifully and effortlessly into their surroundings.