Decorating & Design

July 4, 2012

George Nakashima’s Furniture

A few weeks ago, while I was looking for a new lounge chair, I happened across some pieces by architect/furniture maker George Nakashima. A contemporary of Charles and Ray Eames, the Japanese-American designer was a pioneer of mid-century modern design with his clean-lined yet whimsical, solid wood pieces. Here’s what I like about his work.

Nakashima’s iconic Conoid chair was named for the studio he built for himself in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I appreciate that it’s paired down and simple, yet still looks like a comfortable place to sit and read for hours. I wish I had one in my living room!

Although he was born in Spokane, Washington and received his Masters of architecture from M.I.T., Nakashima’s studio shows a deep connection to his parents’ Japanese origins. There’s a sense of serenity in the space — a feeling that carries over into his furniture.

Nakashima’s love and respect for his chosen material — wood — is evident in his Kornblut Case: the grain of the walnut creates a dynamic, almost painterly effect.

With its raw, ragged edge, the Early Minguren End Table would look beautiful in a rustic cottage, or to shake up a more formal sitting area.

When Nakashima passed away in 1990, his daughter Mira took over his studio, which still produces his striking furniture — like the super-sleek Platform Bed above — as well as newer creations inspired by his legacy.

Photo credits:
1-5. George Nakashima Woodworker