Coconut Chair George Nelson Inspiration Interior Design

April 22, 2019 5:49 am by admin
George nelson coconut lounge chair
Herman miller nelson coconut chair
Coconut Chair George Nelson Inspiration Interior Design

Contemporary residences are quickly adopting a design scheme that is based on sleek and well defined lines. While this works out beautifully most of the times, too many cubic surfaces and square designs can quickly bring in a sense of blandness. The exclusive and exceptional form of the Coconut Chair adds geometric intrigue to any modern setting. Just the mere sight of the chair draws plenty of attention as it quickly turns into a conversation starter for your guests! Colorful versions of the chair help further highlight and create a focal point in the room. It also seems like a wonderful way to bring in vibrant accent colors into a neutral space.

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George Nelson was a multi-talented figure – a designer, architect, editor and writer – and he became one of the key players in American modernist design. Nelson trained as an architect but, in 1947, he jumped ship and became director of design for the Herman Miller furniture company.

He held the position until 1972 and, during that time, the likes of Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia and Isamu Noguchi all worked under his supervision. A great number of classic pieces were created during this exceptionally fertile period and, both through Herman Miller and his own studio, Nelson was involved in the design of much of the 20th century’s most iconic modernist furniture.

Introduced in 1955, the Coconut lounge chair is one of Nelson’s best-loved designs. Instead of creating a traditional shape that follows the human body, he designed the chair along totally new lines, as a deliberately easy-going type of seating.

Wonderfully simple, surprisingly comfortable and still looking current today, the Coconut chair is now an icon of American modernist design.

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Starting outBorn in 1908, Nelson studied architecture at Yale and graduated in 1928. He later went on to study in Europe, and introduced the work of many European modernists, including Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, to the USA through his articles in the architecture journal Pencil Points.

The designer of this innovative lounge chair turned to the inverted shell of a coconut for inspiration and made it comfortable, too

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A domestic hitThanks to its equal emphasis on comfort and good looks, the Coconut chair is also a firm favourite in homes and offices around the world. The chair is produced today by Herman Miller in the USA and Vitra in Europe to Nelson’s original design, materials and detailing.

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We have looked at some amazing modern design icons from the stable of Herman Miller before. While the likes of the fabulous Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman steal the show with their sophisticated design, the Coconut Chair designed by George Nelson offers beautiful and refreshing geometric variation to any modern space. The form of the iconic Coconut Chair mimics that of a sliced coconut shell and seems to bring along with it the same air of tropical freshness!

Built for comfortGeorge Nelson compared his armchair to a coconut cut into eight sections, but he reversed the colours. The outer shell is white, like the inner flesh of a coconut, while the one-piece foam rubber cushion is darker.

It comes upholstered in supple leather or fabric, and is available in a variety of colours. The third corner, which forms the backrest, is slightly longer than the two side tips to create a cosy, cocooning effect.

It goes without saying that the design of the Coconut Chair was well ahead of its time. This probably is the reason why it brought in a design revolution along with other Herman Miller creations of the time. Seamlessly becoming a part of any style and theme that you choose for your interiors, the chair seems to adapt effortlessly. From the minimalistic to the eclectic and from the modern to the retro, here is a home-furnishing knockout that carries with it loads of oomph!

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Shell structureJust like a real coconut, the Coconut chair has a sturdy and rigid shell. It’s made of lightweight plastic, and the upholstery moulds neatly into it. This shell sits on a clean, bent-steel, three-legged base with tough nylon glides, creating a durable but slimline support.

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A museum pieceBecause of its unique, striking design, the Coconut chair is part of the permanent collection in museums worldwide.

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George Nelson took over as the director of design at Herman Miller in 1945 and the Coconut Chair remains one of his most cherished creations during his three decade long stint with the company. Comfortable, classy and unique, the chair redefines our perception of plush seating as it breaks away from set conventions.

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There is a reason why the Coconut Chair today finds a place in some of the top design museums across the globe. The basic structure of this highly organic furnishing pretty much altered the face of décor industry in the 50s. Fresh new designs sprang up across the US in the 50s and the 60s that tried pretty hard to find the same ergonomic magic as the Coconut Chair. While borrowing from nature’s design is a more recent trend, George Nelson seems to successfully set the tone for several decades ago.

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The Coconut chairNelson designed the Coconut chair in 1955. The idea of sitting in a coconut slice may not initially seem appealing, but the chair is famed for being extremely comfortable. Nelson said he developed it “to give lounge seating comfort, together with great freedom of movement”.

With its shallow sides and soft curves, the chair is designed to let you sit in any position and move with ease.

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Foodie inspirationThe Coconut chair wasn’t Nelson’s only seating design inspired by food: he came up with the Marshmallow sofa the following year, after all. Nelson believed in the value of a wide range of influences on design, while always keeping its impact on people and society at the forefront.

Rather than specialising, he believed designers should cultivate a broad base of knowledge and understanding. “Total design is nothing more or less than a process of relating everything to everything,” he said.

Can’t put your finger on what style is for you? The following examples will help you decide on one, or even a delightful combo

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Unlike many other chairs of the era, the Coconut Chair offers complete freedom of movement even as it offers ample comfort. The plastic base covered with one piece of thick foam rubber along with the bent steel base make it both aesthetically and functionally pleasing. It is this perfect balance between style and substance that has catapulted this charming chair into the design hall of fame!

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