The life work of George Nakashima has received considerable attention over the last twenty years. However, the stories of his designs for American universities remain largely unexplored. Interestingly, of the seven major university commissions listed
in Nakashima’s biography, four were for schools in the city Pittsburgh. This project reveals the products of one of these four commissions—the collection at Carnegie Mellon—which has never been exhibited or published.
The Carnegie Mellon collection consists of sixty pieces of furniture—nearly all of which remain in use. The furniture was commissioned in 1965 by locally acclaimed interior designer Paul Planert, who coordinated the furnishings and interiors of
a new administration building called Warner Hall. The majority
of the Nakashima furniture was intended to furnish the President’s Office and the Admissions Office.
Warner Hall and the Nakashima furniture within were funded
by a generous gift from Mrs. Alan M. Scaife (Sarah Mellon Scaife) and her family. The aluminum, glass and concrete building was designed by Charles Luckman Associates of
New York and Los Angeles.