Modern Icons: The George Nelson Swag Leg Desk and Chair

6 Nov

Modern Icons: The George Nelson Swag Leg Desk and Chair

Thanks to space-saving laptops and paperless offices, George Nelson’s 1958 Swag Leg Desk is more practical than ever. This streamlined desk has clean lines and a very light profile that does not clutter a room.

Manufactured by Herman Miller, the desk has sculptural chrome legs that were a Nelson innovation. He brought similar swag legs into a molded plastic chair too. Both the chair and desk, in addition to a few other swag leg pieces, are rereleased by Herman Miller and are widely available now. Here is the way to utilize them in a selection of settings around the home.

In today’s paperless office, The Swag Desk’s lack of storage isn’t a problem. It has a lot of space for composing, hunting and pecking or drawing. There is space on the top shelf for tucking your iPod dock, day planner and a vegetation out of the way of your workout space.

Herman Miller

Nelson Swag Leg Desk – $1,849

Though the desk is clean lined, Nelson had some fun with gently curved pedestal legs and lively pops of bright color between the cubbies.

A grommet for cable direction was added to the back of the desk. It also has a slim pencil drawer that pulls out from the front.

The curved metal legs gave its name to the desk. According to the Herman Miller website, Nelson explained, “Wouldn’t it be beautiful to have some kind of sculptured leg onto a piece of furniture?” Remember, back in the ’50s, a curved leg supposed lots of labor-intensive hand dividing.

In his standard innovative manner, he experimented with alloy so the legs could be mass produced. “Swaging” is a method that uses pressure to sew and sew a metallic tube, and that’s the way the legs are formed.

Sam Crawford Architects

The desk is an apt choice for the bedroom due to its light profile. From that angle, it almost seems to float over the floor.

In usual George Nelson style, the desk works well with other pieces from his coworkers, such as this Wire Chair that Charles and Ray Eames made in 1951.

Chadbourne + doss architects

Speaking of chairs, have you ever been admiring that chair with likewise curved legs in some of the photos above? It is the coordinating Swag Leg Chair, that was also originally released in 1958 and recently rereleased by Herman Miller.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Though the chair works well as a task chair in a workplace, it’s also a striking addition as dining room or kitchen table seating. Here it’s a part of an eclectic mixture of contemporary chairs and a more rustic farmhouse dining table and seat.

MJ Lanphier

The seat’s form takes inspiration from its curved legs along with its plastic molding process from the Eameses. Here the curves stick out in contrast to the very blocky timber table.

Herman Miller also offers a swag leg around dining table, rectangular dining table and this work table.

Read more contemporary icons

More George Nelson designs:
Bench | Pendant Lights | Clocks | Coconut Chair | Marshmallow Sofa

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