Combining utility, pragmatics, and visual elegance in a single package, the Nelson Bench is one of the most influential pieces of midcentury modern furniture that you’ll ever come across. This platform bench is still in production and is extremely timeless. Here’s everything that you need to know about it:
About the product
Clean, simplistic, and featuring a landmark modern aesthetic, the Nelson Bench has become one of the most iconic furniture pieces to be designed in the midcentury modern era. George Nelson accredited it to his Herman Miller collection in 1946, and it has become an irreplaceable part of our history – and even contemporary aesthetics – even to this day.
The trademark crisp lines that have been featured in this bench are very reflective of the architectural backdrop of George Nelson, who insisted on calling it an “honest design” because of its simplistic beauty. While the bench is statement worthy in its own right, it can also be complemented with a number of accessories and is versatile enough to be placed in almost any space – be it commercial, public, office, or residential.
The Nelson Bench was first introduced to the public in 1948 via the Herman Miller Furniture Catalogue, in which it was stated that it could be used as a low-table or for extra seating in a space. In the catalogue released in 1955, the bench was reintroduced as a flexible piece that could be used as any adaptable unit. After that, it was reintroduced again in 1994.
About the designer
It’s always best to know the designer to better understand the product. In the case of the Nelson Bench, George Nelson’s architectural background has become a very cognizant feature of the product’s overall aesthetics. He was not only a creative architect, but also a well-known teacher and a writer. His inspiration was mostly derived from modern European aesthetics. He studied in Rome and became a renowned writer for the Architectural Forum. His furniture designs were very understated in their elegance, functionality, and pragmatics while still delivering a great visual impact.
Nelson became affiliated with Herman Miller when his modular storage system was recognized by D. J. De Pree. It was the first of its kind, and De Pree was so impressed that he flew all the way to New York to head-hunt Nelson for the role of Director of Design.
About the materials
The Nelson Bench is simple and its unadorned beauty is articulated in sturdy materials. Its artfully perforated surfaces is made with slatted wood in either a light oak or a dark ash finish, while the legs have been designed out of polished chrome or ebonized wood lacquered in black. The solid wood slats of the bench surface have been deliberately spaced so that it is semi-transparent. The wood is sealed with a clear-coat finish and even features finger-joints that ensure a sturdier construction. It’s available in different sizes and can be used as a low-table as well.
Points to ponder before purchase
The main thing that you have to ponder about before purchasing the Nelson Bench is that what exactly are you going to use it for. Since we’ve already touched on the versatility of this product, you’ll have to decide where exactly is it going to be featured in your home. Will it be used as a low-height coffee table? Will it be used for extra seating in your rooms? Would it be used as a placeholder for your decorative accessories or planters? Or would it simply be used to add some seating to your outdoor spaces?
Complementary interior design styles
Aside from being functionally flexible, the Nelson Bench also offers versatile visuals and here are the top interior design styles you can pair it with:
- Contemporary: This bench would make an excellent centerpiece for your contemporary home interiors. It’s timelessly classic and has the kind of design that will emulate elegant sophistication no matter where it has been placed.
- Eclectic: If you need some grounding and visual anchoring in your eclectic style home interiors, then the Nelson Bench would make an excellent way for you to accomplish that. Its natural materials and chic simplicity have a very grounding effect on most spaces.
- Minimalist: The gorgeously understated visuals of the Nelson Bench would feel right at home in a minimalist home interior. In fact, it would make a very stylish addition to the space.
So, this caps off everything that you need to know about the Nelson Bench. It’s definitely an icon from the past that is relevant even to this day.