Herman Miller Nelson Swag Leg Round Dining Table
designed by George Nelson
At A Glance:
Part of the renowned swag leg group, the Nelson Swag Leg Table represents a revival of a historic collection by the longtime partner of Herman Miller, George Nelson. Introduced in 1958, the group's evocative chairs, tables and desks have a look, scale and function that are right for today. These classic, sculpted designs can be used individually or together in the home or office. This round dining table also cleverly acts as a meeting table.
See the entire Nelson Swag Leg collection.
What's To Like:
The straight, austere, wood lines of the table top and crossed stretchers are met by mechanically formed, gracefully curved, metal legs - and they get along really well together. There may not be another wood/metal table out there with a more beautiful marriage of two juxtaposed materials.
What's Not to Like:
This isn't a table you'll sit at and stretch your legs all the way out in front of you. The crossed stretchers won't give you that luxury. However, you probably shouldn't expect that kind of legroom at a 48" diameter table anyways.
The Bottom Line:
The Nelson Swag Leg Dining Table is beautiful, richly finished, and an icon of the mid-century modern era. It's immediately recognizable for the enduring quality of its design, and will be an heirloom-quality feature of any dining room or small meeting space.
- Overall: 29.375" h x 48" diameter
- White laminate or walnut veneer top with a walnut veneer edge band
- 4 chrome-finished steel-tube legs
- 2 solid walnut stretchers and adjustable glides
The dining tables (both round and rectangular) in this series are extremely important. They're the most obvious link between home life and work life that Nelson was trying to forge, and they share many of the characteristics (and not just the aesthetics) of the rest of the collection. They're light, flexible, adaptable, not too large and easy to work with. They're beautiful and functional, and they speak to the times they were invented in and to the times of today. In that sense, they echo the rest of the Nelson series.
The Nelson Swag Leg Round Dining Table is the first and possibly most important of the two dining table models. To dispense with the obvious, it's round. That wouldn't be particularly remarkable except that George Nelson gave the buyer two options with this table; round or rectangular. This is something he did not do for the work table, nor for the desk. This is the only aspect of the collection that gives the buyer a major choice in the make-up of the design. So why was it so important to Nelson that users be allowed to choose a round table?
It goes back to the issues of unity and egalitarianism that this furniture system was created to respond to and interact with. A round dining table is a dining table with no head; no dominating position. And a small dining room table, like the Nelson Swag Leg Round Dining Table, is even more intimate and equality-centric. For Nelson, the process of fellowship, collaboration and communication that happens around a dining table was essential to the blending of home and work life that this series is all about. And a small, round dining table goes a long way toward making the nightly dinner conversation more engaging, more equal, and more enjoyable. Without the rigid formality of the heads of table and the complex ordering of dishes required by narrow dining tables, the round dining table is a measure of freedom in the home, a loosening of the tight strictures that governed many dining room experiences at the time (1958). It was all about comfort.
The Herman Miller Nelson Swag Leg Round Dining Table is also known by the following manufacturer Item Numbers: NS5852.L, NS5852.W.
White laminate or walnut veneer top with a walnut veneer edge band. 4 chrome-finished steel-tube legs, 2 solid walnut stretchers and adjustable glides.Dimensions:
Overall: 29.375" h x 48" diameter
Practical tables. The Nelson Dining Tables doubles as a work table as it provides plenty of room to spread out papers; they can also be meeting tables.
Attractive finishes. Tops can be white laminate or walnut veneer with a walnut veneer edge band that coordinates with the solid walnut stretcher.
When writing about the course of his remarkable 50-year career, George Nelson described a series of creative "zaps"--moments of out-of-the-blue inspiration "when the solitary individual finds he is connected with a reality he never dreamed of." It was these zaps that would lead to the creation of some of the most original furniture designs of the 20th century- including the Coconut Chair, the Marshmallow Sofa, and the Swag Leg Table.
An early zap came in the 1930s, when he was an architectural student in Rome. Before returning home, an idea struck him: He would travel Europe and interview leading modern architects, hoping to get the articles published in the U.S. He succeeded, and in the process introduced the U.S. design community to the European avant-garde. This set in motion a sequence of what he called "lucky" career breaks that were really the inevitable outcomes of his brilliance as a designer, teacher, and author.
With his swag leg group, George Nelson didn't try to design an innovation; the innovation resulted from his criteria for the design. He began with the legs, insisting that they be made of metal, machine formed, and prefinished. He also wanted them to be easy for the consumer to assemble, so the desk and tables could ship knocked down to save on costs.
Swaging--using pressure to taper and curve a metal tube--proved the best way to produce the legs, which are 16-gauge steel and have adjustable glides. George Nelson added solid walnut stretchers that bolt to the legs for a stable, durable base common to the desk and tables.
Read the entire design story behind the Swag Leg Collection.