Clean, rectilinear lines that reflect an insistence on honest design
Equal parts seat and surface, the Nelson Platform Bench emerged from George Nelson’s Fortune magazine office to join his first Herman Miller Collection in 1946. Made with polished chrome or ebonised wood legs, and available in three lengths with a choice of finishes, it serves as a bench, low table or foundation for the Basic Cabinet Series.
A landmark of modern design, the bench has the clean, rectilinear lines that reflect designer George Nelson’s architectural background and his insistence on what he called “honest” design: making an honest visual statement about an object’s purpose. Solid wood slats are spaced to let air and light through, sealed with a clear-coat finish and finger-jointed for superior strength, all of which make the bench ideal for offices, public areas and homes.
The platform bench was part of Nelson’s first collection for Herman Miller and was reintroduced in 1994. As presented in the 1948 Herman
Miller furniture catalogue, the platform bench
“is primarily a high base for deep and shallow cases, but it also serves as a low table for extra seating”. The 1955 catalogue states that the bench “has proved to be one of the most flexible and useful units in the collection”.
George Nelson was a noted teacher and writer, as well as a designer. He studied architecture in Rome and became an editor of the Architectural Forum magazine while continuing to design furniture based on the modern European designs with which he had become familiar.
His association with Herman Miller began when our founder, D.J. De Pree, saw an article in Life magazine about Nelson’s “Storagewall”, the first modular storage system and a forerunner of systems furniture. De Pree was so impressed that he went to New York to meet with Nelson and convinced him to be his director of design.