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Possessing one of the most inventive minds of the 20th century, George Nelson was one of those rare people who can envision what isn’t there yet. Nelson conceived the first-ever pedestrian shopping mall – now a ubiquitous feature of our architectural landscape – detailed in his “Grass on Main Street” article. Soon after, he pioneered the concept of built-in storage with the storage wall, a system of storage units that rested on slatted platform benches. The first modular storage system ever, it was showcased inLifemagazine and caused an immediate sensation in the furniture industry.
In 1946, Nelson became director of design at Herman Miller, a position he held until 1972. While there, he recruited other seminal modern designers, including Charles Eames and Isamu Noguchi. Nelson also developed his own designs, including his trademark benches, lamps and clocks, as well as the first L-shaped desk, a precursor to the present-day workstation. Nelson had the ultimate goal as a designer “to do much more with much less.”