Production: 1956-c. 1965
Manufacturer: Herman Miller
Furniture Company, Zeeland, Michigan
Size: 77 x 131.5 x 80; seat height 42 cms
Material: varnished steel tubing,
aluminum, vinyl cushions
George Nelson was one of the most influential personalities in U.S. design after 1945. For many years beginning in 1946, he was head of the Design Department at the Herman Miller company, on whose behalf he engaged designers hardly known at the time, such as Charles Eames, Isamu Noguchi, and Alexander Girard. And he was also inspired by other areas of culture: along with his work as an architect, he concerned himself with ongoing sociological and artistic themes. Nelson’s “Marshmallow” sofa must be considered one of the earliest Pop Art furniture designs: the transformation of a traditional sofa into a three-dimensional structure made with colored cushions. The seat and back are supported by a steel construction and the unit has the shape of an axially symmetrical folded-out waffle. Unlike traditional upholstered sofas, it was possible to make it available in numerous colors and sizes thanks to what was at the time a completely novel, additive construction system. However, its production required high labor costs; additionally, the unorthodox sofa hardly seemed suited to contemporary interiors. Production at Herman Miller was therefore discontinued around 1965.
Vitra produced the “Marshmallow” sofa from 1988 to 1994; production was resumed in 2003 and has continued ever since. A vintage model in the collection of the Vitra Design Museum served as the basis for this re-edition. MSC