George Mulhauser – Furniture Designer of the
George Mulhauser was an renowned furniture designer renowned for creating some of the iconic lounge chairs of the 20th century. Born in 1922, he earned his degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute in 1953.
After graduating, Mulhauser launched his career at George Nelson Studio for Herman Miller designing chairs. Additionally, he collaborated with Paul McCobb on molded fiberglass chairs.
Early Life and Education
Mulhauser earned his industrial design degree from Pratt Institute in the mid-1950s. He then joined George Nelson’s New York studio and designed furniture for Herman Miller; one of Mulhauser’s signature pieces is the Coconut Chair (attributed to George Nelson), made out of one sheet of plywood. In 1955, this iconic chair became an instant icon.
In the late 1950s, Mulhauser collaborated with American furniture designer Paul McCobb on concepts for molded fiberglass chairs. He taught furniture and 3-D design at Pratt Institute and Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts; additionally, he created his iconic Mr. Chair – one of the first reclining lounge chairs made out of one sheet of plywood – for Plycraft in Lawrence, Massachusetts before passing away in 2002. Find vintage George Mulhauser chairs available on 1stDibs today.
George Mulhauser was one of America’s most prolific designers, boasting an impressive list of patented creations. One of his best known works is Mr. Chair – a reclining lounge chair which was the first one of its kind ever formed in one piece.
Mulhauser, a 1953 graduate of Pratt Institute, had an illustrious career designing iconic chairs for companies like Herman Miller and George Nelson. Additionally, he was an expert designer and master of 3-D modeling. In addition to his home studio, he taught classes at both Pratt and Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts. At present you can find several high-end George Mulhauser pieces listed for sale at 1stDibs including some of his award winning creations.
Achievements and Honors
Mulhauser has earned numerous design accolades during his decades-long career. He studied industrial design at Pratt Institute in New York and soon after started designing furniture for Herman Miller Company.
He is widely credited as the creator of the iconic Coconut chair, along with several other iconic molded plywood designs. Additionally, he taught furniture design at Pratt Institute and 3D design at Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts.
Mulhauser began each design on paper before turning them into handmade scale models in his home studio. He encouraged neighbors and family to try them out and provide feedback for improvement. His son Paul also pursued creative entrepreneurship; having studied industrial design at Pratt Institute before founding a product design consulting company in New York State.
George Mulhauser was a leading furniture designer of his era, best known for pioneering the concept of molded plywood design. After graduating from Pratt Institute in 1953, he began his professional career working for George Nelson’s Manhattan studio designing Herman Miller furniture. In 1955 he created the Coconut chair which is often credited to Nelson; two years later he collaborated on a molded fiberglass chair with Paul McCobb.
Mulhauser was an active figure throughout his long and distinguished career, teaching at Pratt and Newark School of Fine & Industrial Arts. His home studio, where he took inspiration and received feedback from family and friends, was also a hub of activity. One of Mulhauser’s most enduring furniture designs was the Mr. Chair: an elegant mid-century lounge chair constructed entirely out of one piece.