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Design Icon: George Nelson Ball Clock

by Maxwell Tielman


Design: Ball Clock

Designer: George Nelson Associates

Date: 1948

Manufacturer: Vitra

Country of Origin: United States

Materials & Construction: Wood and metal, acrylic finish.

Background: The exact designer of the iconic Ball Clock is unknown, even to this day. As design lore has it, George Nelson attended a dinner party with a few other prominent designers (namely Isamu Noguchi, Irving Harper, and Bucky Fuller) and a night of heavy drinking ensued. In the morning, the sketch for the Ball Clock was found on a roll of drafting paper. “I don’t know to this day who cooked it up,” Nelson said. “I know it wasn’t me.”

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg.

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