Nakashima, George

(1905 - 1990)

George Nakashima was an American architect and designer. He operated from the workshop he built for himself in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Interned during World War II because, as a Japanese American, he was regarded as an “undesirable alien.” In a prison camp in Idaho, he learned carpentry from another inmate who had trained with Japanese master woodworkers. Nakashima felt that the “character” or “spirit” of the tree should dictate the design of a piece. His furniture went against the fashion for the mass-produced styles that would later be known as “mid-century modern,” but Nakashima’s career thrived under the patronage of such figures as Nelson Rockefeller, who commissioned many pieces from the artist.