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Nomadic Furniture Paperback – January 12, 1973

4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 149 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books - Random House; 1st edition (January 12, 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039470228X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394702285
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Back in the early seventies, when I first saw a copy of NOMADIC FURNITURE, I was fascinated by the variety of basic necessities one could make for oneself using inexpensive building products and a minimum of technique. With basic materials and mechanical skills, and the ideas, and seeds of ideas found within this book I took off on a long journey of experimenting with furniture design and construction. That journey, and this book are no less valid today.
Thirty years later, my eldest son is off to set up his own household, and I looked back into this book for ideas to share with him and I came to this website looking for a copy to buy him. Beds with eggcrate bases, swing arm lamps, crutch-tip/spring supported legs bearing bookshelves, creating your own private "living module" in rental properties, even some structural cardboard furniture - all were things I tried, inspired by this book. Many of those creations I lived with for years, and a few I still have.
As I began to get a feel for designing my own possessions, I came to appreciate more and more the Papanek/Hennessey philosophy that a simple solution could also be an elegant one, and it could also be resource responsible. I've spent most of my life designing and building things, and looking through this book again has helped me realize how much I owe the authors.
Readers who use this book, and it's difficult to imagine anyone looking at it who won't use at least some of it, will also profit from NOMADIC FURNITURE 2, published in 1974. It's more of the same, and in this case, more is good. Papanak also authored another book in 1973, Design for the Real World which establishes his philosophy of sustainable design, and for aiming design at all the world's peoples, not just the wealthy West.
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Format: Paperback
I was inspired by this book as a young designer and built several of the projects; my favorite a work desk from a single piece of plywood. The book is a wonderful, though not exhaustive exploration of simple DIY furniture. It is intended to inspire your own pursuits. More than anything else, it evidences a sensibility to environmental and resource issues that is more relevant today than ever before. It is truly amazing what some people were saying and doing 35 or 40 years ago while nobody was listening. Is anyone listening now? Maybe. Papanek also wrote "Design for the Real World," again evidencing a sensibility as relevant today as it was novel when written. It is a brilliant time to reprint this book. Dwell magazine has captured an emergent modernist trend and taken it in the wrong direction, one of affluence (what architect Ian Ritchie would refer to as "Afluenza") and exclusivity. This book incidentally presents a certain style that a low-budget modernist can appreciate, a style yielding from the pragmatical pursuit of doing more with less. With the emerging economic reality, when compared to a 10k B+B sofa, a nicely thought out and simply crafted cardboard couch can take on a distinctive elegance. It is a mentality we are all likely to have to get to sooner or later, and we will be all the better for it. Perhaps this reissue can help guide the way for some of us.
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Format: Paperback
I bought a copy of this book a long time back. I've made up several of the designs, including the no nails or screws workbench. I made the workbench up because I wanted a big desk cheap. That was over twenty years and four major moves ago - and I'm sitting at that workbench desk right now. I lost my copy ten years ago (never, ever lend books that you can't stand to lose!), and am delighted finally to be able to replace it.
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Format: Paperback
I had the first edition of this book back in the 1970's. One of the projects was a plan for making a comfy chair out of a refrigerator carton. A few knife cuts, some folds, a little insert tab A into slot B and voila! I kept it unpainted, so visitors could see the big General Electric logo. It was shockingly comfy (metaphorically). Looking forward to an updated edition.
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Format: Paperback
During my 1970s college years, I built a couple of the projects - both of which I continue to use. Since then, I've seen collapsible, stackable shelves come into vogue via Pier One and Cost+, and the Green/LEED movement is adding momentum to the sustainable approach that Hennessey and Papanek promoted with Nomadic Furniture. While technology has changed, the tenets of these books are underscored by our acknowledged need to preserve a livable world for future generations. Many or most of the projects are valuable today, both as they are presented and as points of departure for what you will imagine.

After giving my volumes to a friend decades ago, I later located Volume One in a library. I immediately made a copy, and was fortunate to locate and procure Volume Two on the internet. Now they have seen fit to re-print them in a compiled edition! Just get it - hobbyists, design/architecture students and CEOs alike will all find many useful projects and more kernels of wisdom in this work than expensive workshops and seminars can provide.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a still bit disappointed despite being forewarned by the negative reviews:
- presentation: bad old 70's black and white style (photos are blurry gray scales), despite a recent reprint and modern prices.
- info presented in roundabout folksy narrative and written in artsy (i.e. illegible) manual CAPITAL SCRIPT
- no new info since 70s (or 70s inspired). Who cares about 80s' state of the art calculators?
- very plywood sheet (4x8) centric. There should be more nomadic materials themed projects i.e, stuff we can easily buy and carry back from Home Depot etc. with a small car.

more ideas looking around in IKEA, Target and Pinterest [...]
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