Straight Chair and Splay Table by
George Nakashima for Knoll

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American furniture brand Knoll have reintroduced three designs by the late Japanese-American woodworker George Nakashima, originally designed for Knoll in the 1940s.

The Straight Chair has a seat, back and legs made of solid American walnut and satin-finished hickory spindles.

Splay Table features a satin hickory table-top and American walnut edges and legs.

The modern versions are hand-made and remain true to the original 1940s designs, except for a one millimetre increase in the diameter of the chair legs so as to pass modern safety tests.

Also part of the collection is a douglas fir tray with hardwood edges.

Here's some more information from Knoll

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Nakashima designs reintroduced into Knoll collection

Knoll has rereleased George Nakashima’s Straight Chair and Splay Table.

The renowned designer and architect, one of the leading figures of 20th Century furniture design and the American craft movement, originally created these signature pieces for Knoll in the 1940s, using satin finishes and “live” grain qualities in walnut and hickory to illustrate the craft of his work.

Celebrating Knoll’s design heritage, the Nakashima Straight Chair is a Modernist take on the 17th Century traditional Windsor chair and is consistent with the designer’s ethos that furniture should be functional objects rather than collectable possessions. This utilitarian approach is evident in the collection’s use of materials: the Straight Chair’s body and legs are made from substantial, solid American walnut, which contrasts the lighter, low-sheen hickory spindles.

The body of the chair is carved to create an optimum seat position with the spindles forming a curve that allows the back of the chair to cradle the sitter, making it easier and more comfortable to turn whilst seated.  This design feature - which gives the chair its distinctive, shapely proportions - is an example of Knoll’s approach to finding the balance between functionality, comfort, and elegance. This attention to detail continues on the underside of the chair which has been shaped to follow the gentle sculptural form of the furniture.

Both the Straight Chair and Splay Table have been hand crafted to the exact specifications laid out by George Nakashima for Knoll in 1948 bar a 1mm increase to the diameter of the legs needed to allow the chair to pass statutory 2009 strength testing.  This change was made in close collaboration with the Nakashima family.

The Splay Table uses the same palette of materials as the chair, creating an interplay between the dark walnut and the lighter hickory.  Like the chair, the table’s tactile surfaces use fine craftsmanship to lift and emphasise the organic expressiveness of the wood. The simple design consists of a hickory top with walnut edges that create a crisp, functional elegance.

The collection also features a tray constructed of solid douglas fir that is quarter-cut and finished in a satin, laquered finish and available in both solid Brazilian Santos and Solid Wenge finishes.

The George Nakashima Straight Chair and Splay Table are now available from Knoll’s new London showroom (91 Goswell Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 7EX) or from Knoll dealers nationwide.

About Knoll

Founded in 1938, Knoll is a global manufacturer of residential and office furnishings that inspire evolve and endure. More than 30 of our classic designs are included in the permanent collections of museums around the world. Knoll is the founding sponsor of the World Monuments Fund Modernism at Risk program.

About George Nakashima

Although Nakashima held several degrees in architecture, he also studied Japanese carpentry techniques and was influenced in the majesty of the forests in his native Washington State. In 1943, Nakashima started a small furniture business in Pennsylvania. Though he generally produced custom-made and site-specific work, Nakashima created signature pieces for select manufacturers. He received the gold medal for craftsmanship from the American Institute of Architects and also authored The Soul of a Tree: A Woodworker's Reflections.