Monday, March 16, 2009

George Nakashima

George Nakashima is a mid 20th century modernist that works primarily in black walnut. His table tops consist of very smooth slabs of wood, connected by butterfly joints, with rough natural edges. During his stay in a Japanese internment camp in World War II, he learned traditional Japanese wood working from Gentaro Hikogawa, becoming proficient in the use of traditional woodworking tools and joinery.

Nakashima placed emphasis on the natural qualities of the wood being used and the best way to preserve the spirit of the tree from which the wood came from. Because of this he was often involved in many aspects of fabrication. According to the Nakashima website, a website run by a company that still churns out his designs as well as custom designs modeled after his style after his death, he was often present during the milling process as well as the assembly process. Now his daughter Mira Nakashima has taken up the family business and supervises the milling, fabrication, and design of new pieces. She also has recently started making her own designs dedicated to her mother, which differ slightly from the look of her father’s furniture.

While Nakashima held a degree in Architecture, he did not directly design any buildings but rather worked on a construction consultant for Antonin Raymond who was instrumental in getting him released from the internment camp.

I liked the use of the raw wood but i felt it was too unaturally glossy.

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