Architect Spotlight: George Nelson

If you’ve been following along with our Architect Spotlight series, then you know that each month, we like to feature an inspiring architect and showcase some of their most famous works. As a business, we’ve been focusing more on custom furniture design lately, so we decided to take a look at one of our favorite furniture designers from the American Modernism movement, George Nelson.

The Bubble Lamp; Photo via    Eve Wilson for The Design Files

The Bubble Lamp; Photo via Eve Wilson for The Design Files

George Nelson didn’t set out to be an architect; as the story goes, he ran into the architecture building to get out of the rain while attending Yale University in 1924, and he was so inspired by the works inside that he decided to switch his major. We’re particularly drawn to stories like that because we don’t come from a traditional woodworking background, either — sometimes things just fall into place (with a lot of hard work, that is).

Soon after graduating, Nelson won an architecture prize and was awarded a year to study abroad and study architecture in Rome. While in Europe, he began writing for Pencil Points magazine, interviewing bigger names in the modernist movement and becoming a more well-known name himself. After returning to the US, Nelson became editor of Architecture Forum, constantly working to promote the idea that designers should try to better the world by making things that followed the rules of nature. While he wasn’t actually designing much at this point, we love how those years he spent really thinking about design and how it should function influenced his most famous works decades later.

Nelson began working as Director of Design for the Herman Miller furniture company in 1947, even though he had no experience whatsoever designing furniture (another reason we respect him so much: he made things happen and figured them out as he went along). Nelson was known for his ideas about useful, functional design, and he quickly injected those ideas into his designs for Herman Miller, producing iconic pieces and hiring some of our personal favorite designers like Ray and Charles Eames and Harry Bertoia to work for the company. Later, he went on to form his own George Nelson Associates, Inc., which continued to pioneer modernist design until the early 1980s.

The Sling Sofa; Photo via    1st Dibs

The Sling Sofa; Photo via 1st Dibs

So, what are some George Nelson designs that you may know? We’re particularly fond of the 1946 Slat Bench, which is still being produced today through the Herman Miller company; the 1947 Bubble Lamp is an icon of natural, modernist design that can still be purchased through Modernica; and the 1955 Coconut Chair, which embodies Nelson’s natural-yet-modern style and is still available through the Herman Miller company. Most in-line with our style, however, is the incredible Sling Sofa — with its low profile, leather upholstery and steel frame, this one is definitely a huge inspiration for 1767.

For more Architecture Spotlights, check out the full series on the 1767 blog. Want to create a custom piece of furniture based on a favorite vintage style? We’d love to collaborate! Shoot us an email at hello@1767designs.com to get started.

Our Favorite Things: July 2018

We're rounding out the month of July (and one of our busiest months to date), and we've been relying on things that will help us stay motivated, stay on track and stay inspired. The ins and outs of running a small business can get overwhelming at times, but as our business continues to grow and shift in ways we couldn't have imagined at first, we become even more thankful and excited for 1767's future. 

Here's everything that we loved online and off this month. 

Via  folly.folly  on instagram

Via folly.folly on instagram

  • This floating bar project. We posted about this floating bar for Rian's home both on Instagram and on our blog, and you guys seemed to really love it. We do, too — with its mirrored inlays, reclaimed wood shelves and floating effect, this is one of our favorite projects to date. 
  • Grilling heaps of fresh fish and veggies. Do you guys love grilling as much as we do in the summertime? After long days in the shop or the office, all we've wanted to do is come home and throw a giant tray of veggies, spices and fresh fish on the grill for dinner. 
  • Monday. We use this online task management system for lots of things, including keeping track of lathwork and metalwork projects, communicating between teams and planning our shipping schedule. During months as busy as this one was, we're especially thankful for organization programs like this one (and wanted to share the love with any other small businesses!)
  • Criminal. We love listening to podcasts while we're working, and this one is great. If you're into true crime (but not necessarily the gory aspects), it's worth a listen. 
  • Tiny pools. This summer (and every summer, really) has been a scorcher here in Nashville, and we've been dreaming of having a tiny plunge pool for cooling off. We love the livestock tank pool at the Joshua Tree House, and the owners recently published a DIY tutorial for how to make your own.  For more inspiration, check out this one, these, or these

A House Demo That's Close to Home

If you follow along with 1767 in any way, you know that we source all of the wood that we use in our art and furniture pieces from old homes that were recently torn down in the Nashville area. There's always a mixture of sadness and inspiration that comes when our team heads into a house to take out all of its old lath, because while we love to see our city grow and to use this weathered wood to tell our own story, we can't help but wish that we could save every single one of these homes. 

Last week, we got a call from our old landlord that we kind of always expected to get, but weren't totally prepared for. We rented a house on Byrum Avenue in Wedgewood-Houston when we first moved to Nashville, and we even tried to make a few offers on that house, but to no avail. Last year, we finally moved out when we bought our own place in East Nashville. When our old landlord called, we knew immediately what he wanted, and by that afternoon we were pulling the lath out from the walls of our old bedroom, our cozy little kitchen, even the tiny, backroom workspace where 1767 began. 

We're thankful that we got to spend so many wonderful days in that little house, but it was a heavy experience to be a part of its end. We can't help but feel like it was in the cards for us to be there just in time to get the wood and use it for the business that was born right inside those walls.