While avoiding a rainstorm, Nelson ducked into the architecture school building to stay dry. While walking through the building he stumbled across an exhibit called “A Cemetery Gateway”. After, unfolded his interest and progression in the field of architecture. During his time as an undergraduate, he was published in press pieces called “Pencil Points” and “Architecture”. His studies progressed and his writing style talents were soon discovered. In his final year at Yale, Nelson landed a job at the architecture firm Adams and Prentice as a drafter.
Following his passion, Nelson received a degree in Fine Arts in 1931. In 32 he entered the Rome Prize Competition in Architecture to get ready for the Paris Prize. He won the Rome Prize Competition but lost the Paris Prize. He lived in Rome and traveled Europe to meet many of what are considered today as the modernist pioneers. He would write articles for Pencil Points on these individuals, including Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe.
He met his wife Francis Hollister in Rome and then shortly after returned to the United States. He focused on his writing and through Pencil Points, he brought back much information to the U.S on modernists such as Mies Van Der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Gio Ponti.
By 1940 George Nelson had released several innovative concepts including the home builder’s guide, Tomorrow’s House. When the Chairman of Herman Miller read Tomorrow’s House, he knew George Nelson would be the next director of design at Miller. George began working for Herman Miller within the next year. His catalog design and exhibition design were called the driving force of the Herman Miller Company. It has been said that Nelson was one of the 20th centuries most eloquent voices on design and a skilled writer to put the voice to paper. In 1953 he was a large contributing part to the creation of the magazine called Industrial Design. One notable accomplishment was his idea to create a cleaner city in design as well as a reduction in pollution be it audio, visual or chemical. The outdoor malls in many suburbs of the U.S are in large part a result of his ambition.
Some of his well known Modern Classic Furniture designs are the:
1. Nelson Bench also known as slat bench
2. Coconut Chair
3. Marshmallow Sofa