| Oct 3, 2013 |
Mira Nakashima celebrates father’s legacy in design
Boh staff
By Staff

Approximately 25 pieces of original furniture from the Nakashima Woodworkers' group are now on display at the Moderne Gallery in Philadelphia, open through November 2.

Mira Nakashima, daughter of renowned 20th Century furniture designer George Nakashima (1905-1990), has collaborated with her team of 10 skilled craftspeople to create a new body of work that reflects the heritage of her father's custom handcrafted furniture making. The exhibition, Nakashima Woodworkers: An Evolving Legacy, aims to build upon the traditional Nakashima approach of meticulous design, craftsmanship, and beautiful wood while introducing the next generation of Nakashima Woodworkers.

"It is very natural that we should present our next step forward at Moderne Gallery," said Mira Nakashima. "Moderne Gallery has featured my father's work, and also supported my own developing work for more than 25 years."

Finding inspiration in the subtle harmonies of both nature and music—and continuing the evolution of fresh design solutions—the team has transformed a selection of custom-milled, carefully harvested hardwood into both timeless and functional works of studio craft furniture.

Chigaidana shelving

With reference to drawings produced by George Nakashima in the late 1950s, pieces featured in Nakashima Woodworkers: An Evolving Legacy include, among others, The Chigaidana, an asymmetrically organized interpretation of a free-floating Japanese shelving system made for traditional Japanese tea rooms; as well as The Dropleaf Table, adapted to illustrate the harmonic ratio 3:4 conceived by Mira's assistant Miriam Carpenter.

The Carpenter Coffee Table—inspired by a Claro Walnut burl and conceived by Miriam Carpenter—is based upon the harmonic principal that any given note is exactly half the vibration length of the octave below. The Sunset Dining Table has been scaled down from its original length of 18-feet to 10-feet, and is fashioned from three Fiddleback-figured English Sycamore planks purchased by Mira In Toronto some years ago.

Reflection Cofee Table

New designs include The Reflection Coffee Table made in 2012 for the "Poplar Culture" show at the Wharton Esherick Studio, as well as a pair of Cantilevered Night stands originally designed to be taller standing desks, and crowned by book-matched historic cherry-wood boards.

Following her father's death in 1990, Mira Nakashima continued to produce the classic Nakashima lines, but also explored new designs and techniques through her own Keisho line, which is Japanese for "continuation." The first show of her Keisho works was presented by Moderne Gallery in 1998.

Nakashima Woodworkers: An Evolving Legacy is on display at Moderne Gallery, 111 N. Third Street in the Old City section of Philadelphia. Gallery hours are 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and by appointment.

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.