George Nakashima (1905-1990) was a Japanese-American trained architect who then, as of 1942, decided to focus his architectural eye on the design and construction of furniture in his workshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Between 1937 and 1939, Nakashima studied Integral Yoga whilst designing and overseeing the construction of Golconde, a Hindu religious community in India run by Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
This practice of Integral Yoga taught him the surrender of the ego, an approach that he then applied to his furniture making. Nakashima worked by hand, using traditional techniques and rejecting mass production, in a manner that lived in harmony with nature rather than destroying it for our own use. He aimed to give the trees a second life by creating pieces of furniture that respected the form and beauty of the timber he worked with, whilst retaining function and a modern feel. His furniture has become ultra-collectible and his legacy of ‘free-edge’ aesthetics is still hugely influential.