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4658 Desk, 1946

This is a Desk. It was designed by George Nelson and Associates and manufactured by Herman Miller Furniture Company. It is dated 1946. Its medium is walnut veneer on pine, tubular steel, leather, perforated sheet aluminum. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Few designers contributed as many objects and ideas relating to the modern office as did George Nelson. His designs for office furniture resonate as deeply today as they did in the mid-twentieth century; his modular, interchangeable desk and storage solutions forever changed the conventional work stations, and his Action Office of the 1960s, designed in collaboration with Herman Miller cohort Robert Propst, was the genesis of the office cubicle. Although created for the home office rather than a corporate setting, the Model 4658 Desk elucidates many of the principles that guided Nelson’s later essays in office design. Eschewing the dark bulkiness of traditional desks, the Model 4658 is a light and utilitarian take on the home desk. Supported by tubular steel legs that allow air circulation and easy access for cleaning, the desk’s components include a perforated aluminum file drawer, a typewriter storage tub with fold-out work surface, an integrated leather blotter, and storage nooks concealed behind sliding wood panels – an updated take on the pigeonhole storage cubbies of earlier roll-top desks. The Model 4658 desk introduces the concepts in office furniture design that Nelson would continue to define and refine throughout his career. It asserts the functionalism that came to dictate twentieth century office design while maintaining a sleek and smart modern aesthetic and silhouette that would find further expression in Nelson’s L-shaped desk, the corporate descendent of the Model 4658.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II. It is credited Gift of George R. Kravis II.

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  • Gift of Barry Friedman and Patricia Pastor.
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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 102.9 × 137.2 × 71.1 cm (40 1/2 in. × 54 in. × 28 in.)

Cite this object as

4658 Desk, 1946; Designed by George Nelson and Associates (United States); walnut veneer on pine, tubular steel, leather, perforated sheet aluminum; H x W x D: 102.9 × 137.2 × 71.1 cm (40 1/2 in. × 54 in. × 28 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 2018-22-82

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Energizing the Everyday: Gifts From the George R. Kravis II Collection.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=4658 Desk, 1946 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=19 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>