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Sunday, September 25, 2011

John Nyquist

John Nyquist
John Nyquist (1936- ) is the son of first-generation Swedish-Americans. He was raised in South Dakota and moved to Long Beach, California, when his father returned from World War II. He studied art and industrial design at California State University. He taught at California State University Long Beach and then at Cerritos College.

Nyquist began his career in furniture design in 1959. He found early clients through architects, construction firms and private patrons who saw his work in the "California Design" shows, 13 influential exhibitions at the Pasadena Art Museum, now the Norton Simon.

Nyquist favors materials such as Brazilian rosewood and Makassar ebony. He uses richly colored wool fabric by Jack Lenor Larsen. He sometimes uses leather from Connolly, a British firm that did the interiors of Rolls-Royces and Jaguars.

Nyquist says he was influenced by Shaker and Scandinavian furniture, the sculpture of Henry Moore and the craftsmanship of Green & Greene's Gamble House. His furniture is characterized by the frequent use of contrasting woods, exposed joinery and the lack of varnish.

Like fellow Californian Sam Maloof, Nyquist became part of the "California Roundover Movement" that was pioneered by Charles and Henry Greene. These woodworkers sculpted the edge of a tabletop or the arm of a chair to soften hard right angles with curved and sloping lines.

From and

Walnut and leather armchairs

Rosewood hutch

Magazine rack

 Chaise à bascule


  1. awesome, it feels nice to read about the background and then see what they designed. one common factor among all designers is their root and how they came into design and the influence of that path on their design principles...

    i have a strange affinity to bentwood :)...cant help admiring John's take on the thonet bentwood rocker :)...i could create space for that rosewood cabinet anyday!!

  2. This post really speaks to my mid century soul. There is so much to love about the furniture, but really is starts with the wood. I loved reading about the wood he liked to work with. I'm not in love with rosewood, but that hutch is stunning. My faves are walnut and pecan so those top chairs really get me.

  3. @Flo: The leather on the top chairs looks so buttery that it's got to be from the company that supplies Rolls-Royce! Those chairs are beautiful.