When American designers sought to redefine design culture in the postwar years, they looked to contemporary themes for inspiration, as seen in the Marshmallow Sofa, which George Nelson and Irving Harper designed for Herman Miller. It came to epitomize an optimistic and heroic moment in American history after WWII. Designed in 1954-56, the sofa breaks with upholstered furniture forms in a dramatic way as the seat and back planes are formed from upholstered circles set on the tubular frame, echoing the influence of the atomic age on the one hand and the American popular marshmallow on the other. It was interpreted by historians in various ways, and recently was included in the show on Pop Design at Vitra and now on show at the Museum of Jewish Heritage's show "Designing Home: Jews and Mid-Century Modernism. While the Marshmallow was sensational, it was not a commercial success, only 186 were produced prior to its discontinuation in 1961 (Herman Miller has resumed production a couple of years ago). But the marshmallow sofas that have captured the imagination of collectors are the those made for custom-orders, made in a double-size variation of the form. The one Nelson created in 1958 for the reception are of the Commonwealth Edison office in New York will be offered by Wright in its upcoming design sale. It retains the original multicolor Naugahyde upholstery in Alexander Girard designed hues.
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