Marshmallow Sofas

Written by Sarah Provost
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George Nelson's Marshmallow sofas epitomize the "atomic" style of Fifties chic. Like his famed wall clocks, which replaced numbers with multicolored balls, Nelson deconstructed the sofa into eighteen round cushions which seem to float on their steel frame. The original was done in an eye-popping mixture of orange, red and bright blue, but it is also available in black for more cautious souls.

Nelson's Marshmallow sofas perfectly express the spirit of their times. They combine a rather severe fractionalized aesthetic that refers to the age of the A-bomb, while at the same time expressing great wit. This "what the hell, we're all going to die anyway" playfulness was the flip side of the atomic age, expressed during the late '50s and early '60s in every facet of fashion, design, film, literature and other arts. Dr. Strangelove would have adored this sofa.

Nelson was an irascible and authoritative voice in post-war design and architecture. As an editor of Architectural Forum and author of several books, Nelson originated such concepts as the family room and the storage wall. As Herman Miller's design director, Nelson worked with such luminaries as Ray and Charles Eames, Harry Bertoia and Isamu Noguchi.

Find Marshmallow Sofas Online

The Herman Miller Company still produces Marshmallow sofas, and high quality reproductions can also be found. Some manufacturers substitute vinyl for the original leather, and the multi-color model is a little harder to find than the black. With a Marshmallow sofa in your living room, you won't need any other conversation piece.


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