A little late-night browse on Craigslist turned up a listing for an "Mission retro table." However, as any MCM fan would recognize, it isn't Arts & Crafts at all. It's a Herman Miller by George Nelson Platform Bench, or at least a fairly decent replica.
The Herman Miller website has the following to say:
"Introduced in 1946, the Nelson platform bench remains a landmark of modern design. The clean, rectilinear lines reflect designer George Nelson's architectural background and his insistence on what he called "honest" design—making an honest visual statement about an object's purpose. The bench serves as a multipurpose display and resting place in offices, public areas, and homes."
Personally, I prefer the natural wood finished tops, but for the price I can't really complain. In the end, I offered double the listing price, because the seller already had a buyer lined up and I wanted to get the first crack at it. Still, 2 x practically 0 = not much at all.
Even with the double offer, I thought that I'd lost out at one point. When I showed up, the seller mentioned that someone had called and offered her $200(!) for the bench. Obviously someone out there either REALLY loves George Nelson or has cash to burn. Turns out, she refused because she thought that it sounded suspicious that someone would give her so much for a bench. I'm not sure if I would have been able to resist an offer like that. What's a little kidnapping/serial killing if you can bring in that kind of dough?
I didn't notice any tag or mark, so I thought that it might just be a replica, but the more I look at it, the more I think that it might be an actual Herman Miller. The angles, shape, and dimensions (14 x 18 1/2 x 48) are certainly correct.
The construction is what really has me convinced. The originals used dowel rods to connect the slats along the ends...
source: Design Addict
... a doll rod at each side and a row of nails in the middle...
and phillips head screws to connect the base
Generally speaking, The best way to tell a replica apart from the real deal is to take a look at how it is is put together. Most replica-makers used inferior materials and methods, taking short-cuts or deviating from the original in some manner in order to lower production time/costs. For example, they might use screws instead of doll rods in a piece such as this.
I cant be 100% sure though. I'm pretty fresh to this MCM stuff and I'm certainly no expert.
Overall, the condition is fair. I'm not sure what the correct carpentry term is here, but one of the crenelations along the side had chipped and cracked a little. Other than that, there's just the usual scuffs, scratches, and dirt. I was thinking about giving it a fresh coat of paint or perhaps stripping the top and putting a natural finish on it, but since this might be an original, I think I'll leave it alone for the time being.
While I was in the living room, I also took the time to rearrange the Plycraft lounge chairs. The chartreuse one has a few scuffs on the back and I really wanted to show off that replica Eames Lounge's sexy rump, so this works much better.