Contract - September 2012 - (Page 72)

Among the items featured in the exhibition are some of nelson’s furniture designs. Clockwise from the top shelf: a bentwood Chair with arms (1952), tray table (1949), a bentwood Chair without arms, Kangaroo Chair (1955), Marshmallow Sofa (1956), and Coconut Chair and ottoman (1955). nelson’s bubble Clock (right) is a 1947 design. The first comprehensive retrospective of the work of George Nelson, who designed a number of modern furnishings and objects, is on display at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, through October 14. “George Nelson: Architect | Writer | Designer | Teacher” first opened in 2008 at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. Now at the Cranbrook Art Museum’s renovated gallery (Contract, June 2012), the show travels to the Yale University Art Gallery from November 5 to February 2, 2013. Greg Wittkopp, director of the Cranbrook Art Museum, experienced the exhibition in its first incarnation in Germany. He notes that the exhibit feels at home at Cranbrook, which is within the same state as Herman Miller’s headquarters. Nelson collaborated with Herman Miller for more than 25 years. “People come to Cranbrook to see this exhibit, and it just feels at home here,” he recently told Contract. “We have a great space for work that deals with midcentury modernism.” As the program must work within the space of each institution to which it travels, the flow can vary but the exhibition elements have all remained the same. As the title of the exhibition denotes, the program encompasses the full range of Nelson’s extensive and prolific career. Originally trained as an architect at Yale, he parlayed that knowledge into an architectural writing career, where he closely followed midcentury modernism as it developed in Europe. His best-selling book Tomorrow’s House, coauthored with Henry Wright, profiled his revolutionary idea for a storage wall. It was that book that caught the attention of Herman Miller, and thus Nelson’s design collaboration with the furniture manufacturer began despite not have any experience designing furniture. Embodied through the iconic pieces he designed or the books and articles he wrote, Wittkopp says the exhibition is not just about individual pieces, like the Bubble clock (1947) or the Marshmallow sofa (1956). “Nelson produced memorable designs. But what is more significant is how everything he did is grounded in research,” Wittkopp explains. “He would always ask, ‘What is the problem we are trying to solve through design?’ To me, it demonstrates that, for George Nelson, design was more of a process than creating an object in the world.” —Emily HoopEr 72 september 2012 photogrAphy: MArK bAKEr (top); CourtESy of vitrA dESign MuSEuM ArChivE (bottoM) Exhibition George Nelson at Cranbrook Art Museum

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - September 2012

Contract - September 2012
Industry News
Product Focus: Come Sail Away
Eneco Headquarters
Park Hyatt Hadahaa
Perkins+Will Atlanta
DPR Construction
Iowa Utilities Board | Office of Consumer Advocate
25hours Hotel Hamburg
Practice: What Is Next in Sustainable Design?
Competition: Design Is…
Exhibition: George Nelson at Cranbrook Art Museum
Designers Select: Eco Products
Ad Index
Exhibition: Gio Ponti at the Venice Biennale

Contract - September 2012