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George Nelson£¨1908-1986£©. £¬Possessing of one of the most inventive minds of the century, George Nelson is one of those rare people who can envision what isn't there yet. Nelson himself has described his creative abilities as a series of "zaps" ¨C flashes of inspiration and clarity that he was able to turn into innovative design ideas.
One such "zap!" came in 1942 when Nelson conceived the pedestrian shopping mall detailed in his "Grass on Main Street" proposal. Soon after, he pioneered the concept of built-in storage with Storagewall, a system of storage units that rested on slatted platform benches. The first modular storage system ever, it was showcased in Life magazine and caused an immediate sensation in the furniture industry.
In 1946, Nelson became director of design at Herman Miller, a position he held until 1972. While there, Nelson recruited other seminal modern designers including Charles Eames and Isamu Noguchi. He also developed his own designs, including the Marshmallow sofa, the Nelson platform bench and the first L-shaped desk, a precursor to the present-day workstation. He also created a series of boldly graphic wall clocks, a series of bubble lamps made of self-webbing plastic and developed forward looking, occasionally futuristic concepts such as the "hidden city" of underground buildings designed to create a "more humane environment."
Nelson felt that designers must be "aware of the consequences of their actions on people and society and thus cultivate a broad base of knowledge and understanding." Nelson himself certainly followed this principle. He was an early environmentalist, one of the first designers to take an interest in new communications technology and a powerful writer and teacher. Perhaps influenced by his friend, Buckminster Fuller, Nelson's ultimate goal as a designer was "to do much more with much less."
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