by Jen Graves
on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 10:57 AM
The family room, the storage wall, and the Action Office—developed into the cubicle system—are all inventions of one George Nelson, whose furniture arrangements, dangling lamps, and cosmological clocks are all on display at Bellevue Arts Museum now, in an exhibition called George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher.
The show also includes full-scale reconstructions of environments, architectural models, and a video that demonstrates just what the Action Secretary needs ("dignity!").
It's all magnificently Mad Men, and just beneath the surface lurk the constructs and conflicts of mid-20th-century American life. Recommended. One of my favorite images from the show, on the jump, is Louis Sullivan meets corporate Teutonism.
Floor plan of an office landscape by the German group the Quickborner Team, from the late 1950s. The rise of the cubicle starts here.