The updated Nelson Cane Bench, which is available in three sizes, can be used for sitting or as a surface for books or artful objects.
CHICAGO — After 70 years, Herman Miller has revived the Nelson Cane Bench from the historical archives.
“I’m thrilled that this lesser-known piece is being revived for a second act,” said Amy Auscherman, MillerKnoll director of archives and brand heritage. “George Nelson and his associates had an incredible range. They could execute designs that were full of whimsy and play, as well as designs that were elegant and simple. The Cane Bench is a perfect example of the latter, and I think an important piece that extends the iconic Nelson bench oeuvre.”
In 1952, designer George Nelson, looking to build off the positive reception to his recently created Platform Bench, unveiled a fresh take on the popular piece using mixed materials and a slimmer, lighter profile. The new Nelson Cane Bench had the same finesse as the Platform Bench but with a warmer touch.
The reissued piece stays true in both form and material to the original. Featuring a cane seat with more give than the slatted wood of the Platform, the bench’s construction includes two natural materials—a cane seat with either a walnut or maple border.
Auscherman said that whether it’s used as a seat or a surface for books and artful objects, the Cane Bench is a piece well suited for a variety of uses in the home or office. When paired with large plants or objets d’art, it becomes a novel space divider. Regardless of use, elegance of the bench will find itself fully at ease in a range of settings, according to the company.
“Nelson strongly believed that function should be obvious by looking at form—and that’s what I think makes the Cane Bench and the Platform Bench interesting to compare,” said Auscherman. “Nelson famously designed the Platform Bench to discourage guests from lingering in his office. The Cane Bench does the just the opposite—it was designed to encourage them to stay awhile.”
The Nelson Cane Bench is available in three lengths: 40-inch, 60-inch, or 72-inch, and can be customized with either a maple or walnut frame and polished chrome or black metal legs. It is available from both Herman Miller and Design Within Reach.