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George Nakashima


George Nakashima was born in Spokane, Washington in 1905 and grew up in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula. He received a Bachelor's Degree in architecture at the University of Washington and a Master's from MIT in 1930, as well as the Prix Fontainebleau from L'Ecole Americaine des Beaux Arts in France in 1928. After spending some time in Paris, he traveled around the world and secured a job at the Antonin Raymond office in Tokyo which sent him to Pondicherry, India, where he was the onsite architect for the first reinforced concrete building in that country and became one of the first disciples of Sri Aurobindo.


"Our approach is based on direct experience - a way of life and development outward from an inner core; something of the same process that nature uses in the creation of a tree - with one addition, the aspiration of man to produce the wonder and beauty of his potentialities - no "statements," no "pillars of design," no personal expression, no frivolity, but an outlook both severe and spontaneous. A firm design, based on principles as universal as possible, producing objects without "style," is real and utilitarian. The subtlety of the evolvement of the finest materials shaped with intense skill, inadequately termed craftsmanship, can produce a basic sensitivity.


In a world where manual skills are shunned we believe in them, not only in the act of producing a better product, but in the sheer joy of doing or becoming. We feel that pride in craftsmanship, of doing as perfect a job as possible, of producing something of beauty even out of nature's discards, are all homely attributes that can be reconsidered."


Image by N. Kubota. Historical photographs from various sources pulled from the Nakashima Archives.


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