Holy cow!!! This is such an icon of mid-century modern design I can hardly contain my excitement in offering it to you. So here goes……! It is a sideboard or credenza cabinet from the BCS, or Basic Cabinet Series designed by George Nelson in 1946 for Herman Miller. This one is in the walnut finish with double full-height doors on the left and a stack of four drawers on the right. It is a stand-alone unit with one-inch brushed chrome cylindrical legs and aluminum “J” handles. It retains its original George Nelson/Herman Miller label in the top drawer dating it to 1946-1958. This piece has been restored; however, it was used afterward so may have a little evidence of that use. It is a fantastic find and we are so in love with it here at the shop.
George Nelson, designer, architect and author, was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1908. He studied at Yale earning a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in 1928 and 1931 respectively. He also studied at the Catholic University in Washington DC where he won the Rome Prize which may have been the turning point in his life. While there he met and interviewed 12 leading architects of the time including Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Gio Ponti, and Walter Gropius. These interviews were published in the magazine Pencil Points. Then as associate editor of Architecture Forum and Fortune magazines Nelson’s writing drew the attention of D. J. DePree, president of Herman Miller, resulting in Nelson creating his first design for Herman Miller in 1945 and subsequently becoming their Design Director in 1947. While at Herman Miller Nelson was involved in the design of hundreds of furniture pieces and recruited iconic design talents including Isamu Noguchi and Charles and Ray Eames. George Nelson also launched a studio in New York to design furniture, architecture, graphics, and exhibitions for clients the likes of General Electric, Olivetti, Abbott, and more. The studio went by various names, but it always included incredible designers such as George Tscherny, Gordon Chadwick, Ettore Sottsass, Michael Graves, and Arthur Drexler, to name a few. Many landmark designs came from this man and his studio. George Nelson passed away in New York in 1986 at the age of 77.
Herman Miller started life as Star furniture Co. in Zeeland, Michigan in 1905 a producer of high-quality furniture. Becoming Michigan Star Furniture Co in 1919, and then in 1923, when long time employee Dirk Jan De Pree and his father-in-law purchased 51% of the company stock, it was renamed Herman Miller Furniture Company. And remained so until the 1960s when it became Herman Miller, Inc. Until the 1930s they produced only traditional wood furniture, but the Great Depression caused a need for change and they hired modernist Gilbert Rohde who took the company in a new successful direction. Upon Rohde’s death in 1944 he was replaced by none other than the renowned George Nelson. Working with the likes of not only Charles and Ray Eames but Isamu Noguchi, Alexander Girard, and Robert Propst, to name just a few, Nelson lead Herman Miller to became one of the finest names in furniture and design.
This is one of the pieces in my top 10 most important pieces of mid-century modern design. You need to make it yours!