George Nelson’s Steelframe Case Group Looking White Hot in the 1955/56 Herman Miller Catalog
All the images above are from the 1955/56 Herman Miller catalog. The catalog itself is rare, collectible, and interesting; featuring an introduction by George Nelson, many furniture designs of Charles Eames, textile collections of Alexander Girard, and naturally the furniture designs of George Nelson. The Steelframe Case Group is one of Nelson’s designs featured in this amazing catalog.
The Steelframe Case Group was designed with efficiency in mind. The notion was of ‘aesthetic reductivism‘. Attempting to minimize the use of materials, specifically wood from it’s construction. The Nelson office identified the inherent waste in conventional cocooning of the drawers and stripped away all elements except the structural frame, leaving the back and sides open.
The Steelframe Case Group was positioned to be the lowest-priced line within the Nelson signature pieces. The series was based on a chest of drawers , a side table, and a desk. The steel frames were offered in black or white. The front panels could be chosen in four different colors (blue, black, orange, yellow) or could be painted by the customer.
Designed in 1950 by George Nelson’s office, his associates at the time were John Pile, Irving Harper, and Gerald Gulotta. The color schemes were designed by Irving Harper and the chrome drawer pulls were designed by Gerald Gulotta. The Steelframe Case Group went into production in 1954 and was available through Herman Miller until 1966. In this 1956 catalog, the Steelframe Case Group would run you around $142 for each unit. Today, these pieces are not so readily available or at such a price — unless of course you get super lucky.