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A “Timely” Designer

Last week I did a post on decorating with clocks. While doing my research- {that would be perusing the internet}-I came across a series of clocks designed by George Nelson {1907-1986} which reflect the essence of Mid-Century Modern design.


This talented American designer, architect and journalist was born in 1908. He graduated from Yale University and went on to study at the American Academy in Rome, returning to the US in 1935. Between 1944 and 1949 he was an associate editor and then a consultant editor for the journal Architectural Forum. As a journalist who wrote for Pencil Point magazine among other publications, George Nelson was in a position to acquaint American readers with the European avant-garde. From 1946 until 1972 George Nelson was director of design at Herman Miller.


architect designer mid century modern design

While working for Herman Miller, George Nelson introduced several important innovations in office furniture design. The best known George Nelson designs include the 1955 “Coconut Chair”, with a triangular seat inspired by a piece of coconut shell.



The 1956 “Marshmallow” sofa is another revolutionary George Nelson design, with a seat and back made of individual round cushions.




In the 1940s and 1950s, George Nelson designed a great many wall clocks for Howard Miller Clock Company, of which the best known is bound to be “Ball” (1947), with the hours marked by balls of wood.


modern design inspiration

{Ball Clock 1947}


{via Houzz}

Howard Miller discontinued the line in the 1980′s. However, Vitra picked up the line again in the 1990′s which means that they are available for purchase. I love the design of these clocks and even though they have that mid-century modern look they can be used with any decor.

George Nelson Sunflower Clock

{Sunflower Wall Clock 1958}


{via Design Within Reach}


{Eye Clock 1957}


midcentury- modern- design-decor-design{via Design Addict}



{Turbine Clock 1957}



midcentury modern- design-decor

{via Houzz}



{Wheel Clock 1961}



If you want to know more about George Nelson and his designs you can find it in these books.


FYI: Late last year the Vitra Design Museum hosted an exhibition featuring the life’s work of George Nelson. To coincide with the show a book was published titled George Nelson: Architect | Writer | Designer | Teacher. The catalog features eight essays written by German and American design historians along with numerous photos of Nelson and his body of work covering the various disciplines. As far as we know the book was never officially released in the U.S. though some independent book sellers have it listed on Amazon.

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