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George Nakashima Conoid Chairs

US$28,000per set


Designed by George Nakashima in 1985. This gorgeous pair of clean and solid sculptural teak chairs have been well cared for over the years, in nearly brand new original condition. Features walnut and hickory spindled backs, flat curved crest rails, a beautiful selection of walnut boards used in the cantilevered plank seats, resting on only two trestle legs, each chair is signed and dated April 8, 1985, by George Nakashima. This iconic design remains rich and interesting with minimalist form. U.S.A. (1905–1990) George Nakashima was born in Spokane, Washington in 1905 and grew up in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in architecture at the University of Washington and a Master’s from MIT in 1930, as well as the Prix Fontainebleau from L’Ecole Americaine des Beaux Arts in France in 1928. After spending some time in Paris, he traveled around the world and secured a job at the Antonin Raymond office in Tokyo which sent him to Pondicherry, India, where he was the onsite architect for the first reinforced concrete building in that country and became one of the first disciples of Sri Aurobindo. When the war broke out, he returned to the U.S. via Tokyo where he met Marion, married in 1941 and was sent to the camps in Minidoka, Idaho in 1942 with his infant daughter, Mira. Through the sponsorship of Antonin Raymond, Nakashima came to work on his farm in Bucks County, subsequently rented a small house on Aquetong Road and then purchased a parcel of land where he designed and built his workshop and house. Among many awards from the AIA and other prestigious institutions, Nakashima received the Third Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor and Government of Japan in 1983 in recognition of the cultural exchange generated by the shows he produced in Japan from 1968-1988. His last show in the U.S., the retrospective “Full Circle” which opened at the American Craft Museum in New York, sponsored by the American Craft Council and curated by Derek Ostergard, marked him as a “Living Treasure” in the United States. This show returned to New Hope shortly before Nakashima’s receiving his final award, Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus, from the University of Washington one week prior to his death in June 1990. At each turn of his life – some positive, some altogether tragic – carpentry was presented as a valued craft and livelihood. From his birthplace deep in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula to the Japanese internment camp where he was mentored by an elder Japanese woodworker, Nakashima’s aesthetic is a direct result of his exposure to the wood and people who regarded carpentry as a noble art form. The tree as an artist’s resource was of utmost importance to Nakashima, who described felling as akin to cutting diamonds. From the appearance of Nakashima’s finished pieces, one can almost imagine him wielding his bare hands to shape the wood. He preferred, and was highly sensitive to, the distinctive nature of walnut, ash and cherry. And he would intentionally choose wood that might have been rejected by other woodworkers for its imperfections. Those imperfections were to become his beauty marks.


  • Creator
    George Nakashima (Designer)
  • Design
    Conoid ChairConoid Series
  • Dimensions
    Height: 35.75 in. (90.81 cm)Width: 20.375 in. (51.76 cm)Depth: 19 in. (48.26 cm)
  • Sold As
    Set of 2
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. In good condition.
  • Seller Location
    Baltimore, MD
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU5065116682701

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Baltimore, MD
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About the Design

Conoid Chair

Designed by George Nakashima
George Nakashima (1905–90) famously said, “Furniture should be lived with and not treated as something overly precious,” so it’s not surprising that his Conoid chair was made to be dragged across carpeting. First built in 1971, the Conoid chair is one of Nakashima’s most celebrated and recognizable designs. It features a slab of black walnut cantilevered over two legs, with distinctive feet that resemble old-fashioned sled runners. Born in Spokane, Washington, Nakashima led a singular life devoted to woodworking. Although he collaborated with Knoll after World War II as a pioneer of the American Studio Craft movement, he rejected mass production and believed the beauty of a tree lay in its vast imperfections. Nakashima studied architecture extensively, receiving a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1930. But he found inspiration — and picked up essential woodworking techniques — from those around him: the architect Antonin Raymond, who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as fellow Japanese-Americans he encountered when he and his family were interned in Idaho during World War II. Raymond petitioned for the release of the Nakashima family from the camp and helped them resettle in New Hope, Pennsylvania. The Conoid chair’s thin hickory spindles, shaved and faceted by hand with a blocking plane, echo those of colonial Windsor chairs found in Pennsylvania homes in the 1700s. Nakashima’s chair is named for the Conoid Studio he built in New Hope in 1957. 
About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Baltimore, MD
Gold Seller
These expertly vetted sellers are highly rated and consistently exceed customer expectations.
Established in 2003
1stDibs seller since 2019
34 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 7 hours
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