The George Nelson Swag Leg Collection
If you looked at the Nelson Swag Leg Collection today, you would be forgiven for thinking it was brand new. Further, you'd be forgiven for thinking it sprang unheralded from the brain of a contemporary designer - a series of furniture with good ideas that borrowed from the modernism of the past half century.
There is a lot to admire about the series, and even more to learn; they are complex pieces, beautiful and useful, with a lot going on underneath the surface. For new buyers, this furniture will fit in well with even the most contemporary furniture - that's what happens when a great designers makes something that's way ahead of his time. And for collectors, in this series you are finally getting access to a re-issue of one of the most enduring and popular furniture series ever to come off the Herman Miller manufacturing floor. Whether you're looking to update you living room, add some pieces to your home office, or trying to find the right furniture system to set the tone for your entire house, this is a furniture collection that can get it done.
The Nelson Swag Leg Collection began with a simple idea and a difficult problem; how could the designers at Herman Miller create beautiful, finished, metal legs that could be tapered and shaped with a minimum of man hours and effort?
George Nelson, one of the most important men to ever work at Herman Miller and for many years their Director of Design, was the one who first proposed the question. "Wouldn't it be beautiful to have some kind of sculptured leg on a piece of furniture?" Everyone knew the answer was yes, but they just didn't know how to achieve that lofty goal. Nelson was an enthusiastic and energetic designer, and his ideas were always matched with a work ethic that searched and designed until a piece was truly finished, and truly well made. It was only a matter of time before he satisfied his curiosity and his design sensibilities by finding a workable solution (you can read more about the Swag Leg Group's design story). The result was a series of furniture that would change the design world in subtle but wonderful ways.
The Nelson Swag Leg Collection was stunning on its first release and it remains so today. The pieces of furniture that comprise the collection are as unique and energizing today as they ever were, and the look of the furniture is yet to be dated or passed by. The Nelson Collection was truly ahead of its time, and Herman Miller has decided to re-issue the series as a nod to its continuing popularity and critical acclaim. For the last half a century, this series of furniture has been in the permanent collections of multiple art and design museums, has been the subject of books and critical appreciations, and has been found in thousands of homes all across America. popular, beautiful, and innovative, it's everything a furniture collection can be. This product overview will take a look at each piece of furniture in this famous series.
The chairs, tables, and desks of the Nelson Swag Leg Group have an evocative look, feel, and function that is just right for today. The Nelson Swag Leg Chair stands out as a synthesis of art and science. Nelson's Swag Leg Desk remains as a prime example of contemporary design while being a practical and functional work station in the modern office.
The Nelson Swag Leg Group derives its name from the method of sculpting the 16-gauge steel tubing which all items have in common. Swagging-using pressure to curve and sculpt a metal tube- was decided to be the most efficient way to create prefinished metal legs that could be easily assembled. One astute observer described the base, saying it "grows up like four tree roots and unites into one strong upward thrust."
The George Nelson Swag Leg Collection is one of the most celebrated home living systems in the long history of American industrial design. It includes a desk, a chair, two kinds of dining room tables and a work table that complements the desk. All of these pieces are beautiful and highly functional on their own, and as a group they complement each other perfectly. They all feature the same precise and elegant legs, each one forged through the formerly unheard of (in the furniture world) process of swaging, or sculpting and shaping metal tubes through high pressure. While swaging had been a process reserved for military and industrial use previous to the 1950s, Nelson saw in it the opportunity to make something beautiful at a reasonable and attainable price point. This focus on affordability speaks to the idealized nature of the entire collection; this furniture is meant to be an equitable and attractive solution to the "problem" of home life, home organization, and unified design.
In the affluent post-war America that these pieces of furniture were born into, it was increasingly important to artists and designers to make their work available to middle class Americans. There was a drive to make art and design more accessible than they had been, to open them up to a world apart from the drawing rooms of the very rich and the old school "patrons." To democratise the old world of artistic endeavor and bring beauty and style into every American home, making it attainable. Of course to do that, they had to make the furniture cost less. They had to find ways to eliminate tedious and highly skilled labor from the equation. Swaging was just of the many ways designers across the country started to find solutions, and because of the George Nelson's clout and visibility, it became a popular one. But the Nelson Swag Leg Desk, and the Nelson Swag Leg Chair, and the whole rest of the collection were there first, and they've remained the longest. This collection is being given a re-issue from Herman Miller not only because it's so important in the history of modern design, and not as a tribute to the great George Nelson, but because this furniture is still in demand today. There aren't many systems that were built more than half a century ago that modern users still crave, but the Nelson series is one of them. They haven't aged or become dated, and the processes through which they get made are even easier and less intensive than they used to be. Herman Miller is able to offer consumers this re-issue of the Nelson series at an eminently reasonable price point, keeping alive their long legacy of bringing high-art design into the homes of Americans of all stripes.
Smart Furniture is very proud to offer our customers the full Nelson Swag Leg Collection at excellent prices, from Herman Miller. This is a re-issue that all furniture lovers and collectors can be excited about; an iconic series of furniture re-released into the world, just as beautiful and relevant as it ever was, and full of the verve is first exhibited over half a century ago. Smart Furniture helps our customers go even further in their enjoyment of the series by allowing them to make customization choices that affect the look of the series. We've always believed in putting the power of design in the hands of our customers, and now with the choices available from Herman Miller, we can even bring that ideal to the Nelson Swag Leg Collection.