September 5, 2012

Coconut Like Chair

"An iconic masterpiece can be instantly defined by its relevance in the modern world. George Nelson's creation of the Coconut chair is exactly that and more. Firstly, to examine its shape is to take a decadently padded triangle and push a body-hugging concave hollow right in the very center. Sound hard and uncomfortable? Think again, remember the definition of masterpiece. Our modern world demands classic, clean lines combined with comfort and functionality which the Coconut chair delightfully fulfills. This particular style of seating intrinsically invites you to climb in and rest a while. It’s nearly 4 feet wing-span is as roomy as the most traditional of recliners, yet savvy enough to impress your most discerning guests. Besides which, there's nothing else on the planet that even comes close to this combination of usefulness, comfort, and hands down artistic appreciation of the organic world. If Life's a Beach, get a Coconut!

This coconut chair reproduction called the Papaya chair, is completely true to George Nelson's original design, materials, and detailing. With the unique shell design, he accomplished his goal of providing comfortable and attractive lounge seating that allows free movement so that users can enjoy this chair in just about any position they choose.

George Nelson became an architect by accident, while stepping into the architecture building to get out of the rain at Yale. By the time he'd graduated and found himself the winner of the Rome Prize, he was well indoctrinated, and after a stint in an architectural firm, his writing became the centerpiece of his art. Well into the 1940's, he wrote. When he wrote and answered the question "What's inside a wall?" suggesting evacuating the structure to replace it with storage, the chairman of a well-known furniture company read of Nelson's storage wall. He was interested in bringing the innovative mind of the young designer into the firm. There followed a partnership that propelled Nelson into furniture design, almost against his will. However, he became intrigued enough to begin experimenting with form. The Nelson coconut chair came about when he was studying organic shapes as design possibilities, and in 1954 and it was introduced, along with another Nelson design, the "Flying Duck" chair in 1955. Looking at the coconut chair does not remind one of a bastion of comfort. First, you are tempted to ask, as he did, what's inside? It has no cushions to recommend its embrace and seems stilted as it sits on its tripod foundation. The sharp corners and spindly sprouts are supposed to reprise the coconut as though a piece has been broken out of the whole and convinced to grow legs. The upholstery is black leather and a little foreboding. Suffice it to say that the Nelson coconut chair did not win any awards then, nor would it today. George Nelson is remembered for his writing eloquence and far-flung influence on the design standards of craftsmen who were then attempting to advance the modern movement. He was also venerated for being the guiding force behind the august furniture company that hired him for that purpose. He held the post of Director of Design for the company. He was responsible for keeping the bar raised and in so doing, kept the company in the lead of its niche for many years. His coconut chair had little to do with it. The George Nelson coconut chair may be held in high esteem by those who enjoy the modern furniture style as an art form, and that would be true of this piece. It has its, um, points. However, the George Nelson coconut chair does not compare to the George Nelson comments that have served as road maps in the vernacular of modern design."

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