Architect turned Master Woodworker, George Nakashima creates useful works of art, giving trees a second life. Check out Freeman’s Head of 20th Century Design, Tim Andreadis’ 10 picks for Nakashima Collectors.
The Cushion Chair features a square seat and back, supported on tapering dowel legs. The back is demountable, secured to the seat with wedges. Pre-dating the Conoid Cushion Chair, this design appears in the 1955 catalogue.
The Grass-Seated Chair was first designed and made in 1941. The square seat typically found in walnut and also offered with matching stool is enhanced by woven sea-grass . The combination of materials and the chair’s ultra-modern sensibility make it a continual favorite among collectors.
Also called simply the “Arm Chair,” the Captain Chair is also one of George’s earliest designs. It’s rounded seat is echoed by the arm and crest, which have a continuous curved profile. It first went into production in 1944, and was also manufactured by Knoll for a number of years.
First designed by Nakashima in 1955, the New Chair remains among George’s most popular and frequently seen on the secondary market. It was also available as a lounge or rocking chair, with or without arms.
The Lounge Chair with Free-Form Arm is related in design to the “New” chair. This “Lounge” chair has a lower and wider profile and could be ordered with the additional of a “free-form” arm to the right or left side and was also available as a rocker. Examples with arms of rare or burled woods are among the most desirable for collectors. The chair first appeared in Nakashima’s catalogue of 1962, although a prototype with a webbed seat was designed as early as 1955.
George designed the three-legged Mira Chair for his young daughter Mira in 1950. The chair, which features a heart-shaped seat and spindle back, has carried her name ever since. The Mira chair can be found in three sizes, each designed in successive years, with the two larger incorporating an integrated foot rest.
The Four-Legged High Chair was also designed for Mira, initially in a smaller height for use as her piano chair, in the 1950s. Resembling the Mira chair, but with a rounded, D-shape seat, the chair is supported on four legs (not three) and joined by an H-form stretcher in the larger size.
One of George’s earliest and most Shaker-inspired designs, the Straight Chair was licensed for production by the Knoll furniture company from 1946-1954. It appeared in Nakashima’s very first catalogue of 1945.
Named for the Conoid Studio in which it was first conceived in the late 1950s, the Conoid Chair was available in dining and lounge-chair height. One of Nakashima’s most iconic designs, it is celebrated for its single-piece rear stiles and legs and cantilevered, sculpted seat. The chair was designed with horizontal “shoe” feet to slide on carpet. Rarer examples in highly figured woods and single-slab seats can command 2-3 times as much as those with multi-board seats in more common American black walnut or cherry.
The Conoid Cushion Chair is among the most desirable and valuable on today’s market. Originally appearing in the 1962 catalogue, this chair grew in popularity through the 1970s and 80s. The chair has a low, wide profile with spindle back, curved crest, and “shoe” feet.
Wondering if your furniture is from Nakashima’s Studio or looking to sell a piece by Nakashima at auction? Have our 20th Century Design Specialist, Tim Andreadis take a closer look!
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