Our History

NELSON was founded in 1977 by John Nelson, Sr. as an interior design firm. Now in its second generation of ownership and leadership under Chairman & CEO John “Ozzie” Nelson Jr., NELSON has experienced tremendous growth in revenue, Teammates, and its national and global presence. It has evolved from its roots into a global integrated services firm focused on design, architecture, and strategic consulting.
Our History
The NELSON Building, Philadelphia

By focusing on high profile renovations and large, new space installations throughout the 1980s, the firm won national and international awards for interior design and lighting under the direction of John Nelson Sr. As corporations globalized and focused more on core competencies, many companies chose to minimize the number of firms they engaged for outsourced services and sought out partners with an expertise in multiple disciplines. NELSON responded to this trend at the onset and was an industry leader in developing its Integrated Services Solutions model that ultimately resulted in the formal development of seven services:

Interior Design



Workplace Services

Information Services

During the 1990s, the firm began to experience consistent, rapid growth. Beginning at that time, While Mr. Nelson Sr. continued to focus on the firm’s design practice, there was also a renewed focus on developing the firm`s consulting practice.  As a result, the firm was awarded a string of string of strategic merger integration studies and integrations for large corporate clients, data warehousing services, and a host of on-going services on a national basis. These services and new directions were led by John “Ozzie” Nelson Jr. who joined the firm in 1987.

As we entered a new century, NELSON also entered a new era officially under Ozzie’s leadership.  The firm has expanded its reach, services and practice area specialties through almost 30 strategic mergers.


NELSON`s New York presence was expanded through the acquisition of Planned Space Interiors


NELSON expanded its operations in the Carolinas by increasing the size of its Charlotte team, including the addition of several principals of a Charlotte-based architectural firm


NELSON merged with Design Management Corporation, a design and architectural firm servicing the greater Boston metropolitan area and E Design, a design and architectural firm servicing the Twin Cities and surrounding metropolitan area


NELSON merged with Atlanta-based Geheber Lewis Associates (GLA), a design firm specializing in Multi-Family Housing


NELSON merged with GHK, a nationally renowned Interior Architecture and Workplace Services company based in Chicago; with AE Pragmatics, based in Northern California just outside of San Francisco; and with ASA in New York City


To further enhance reach and scope, NELSON formed a strategic business relationship with SPACE that creates a service network with locations throughout the U.S., Mexico, Latin America, Japan, China, India, Europe and the Middle East


NELSON merged with Furnstahl & Simon Architects, LLC in New York and Eiger Consulting in Washington, DC


NELSON merged with Black Cow Architects in Boston


NELSON merged with Torchia Associates in Chicago. In 2012, a significant portion of the H2L2 academic and architecture practices joined NELSON.


Space Design Incorporated Teammates transitioned to NELSON in Philadelphia


NELSON acquires RipBang Studios, a Los Angeles based branding firm, as a division of NELSON

NELSON acquires The Mufson Partnership in New York as a NELSON Company

NELSON acquires WCL Interiors in Minneapolis, MN


NELSON acquires EHS Design in Seattle, WA as A NELSON Company

NELSON acquires VeenendaalCave (VCave) in Atlanta, GA as A NELSON Company.


NELSON acquires Marvin Stein Associates in Seattle, WA as A NELSON Company


Today, NELSON enjoys a tremendous track record with a broad range of companies with diverse industries. We work with more than 20 percent of the companies in the Fortune 100. Our success has led to several top industry rankings, including #4 in Corporate/Office Design among the 2015 Top 100 Interior Design Giants (Interior Design magazine).

Related Video

Leadership Team

NELSON Insights


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NELSON announced its intent to launch TAMI (Technology, Advertising & Media, and Information Business) Practice Area. 


FOCUSING on music and design

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Looking for a fresh new concept that not only captured elements of the music industry but also the city of Minneapolis, Pandora Internet Radio turned to NELSON to provide interior design services for the renovation of their existing office in the IDS Tower.


creating design that "takes off" 

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Gogo commissioned NELSON to create a final workplace solution that would allow for aggressive growth and flexibility while considering new ways of working in a collaborative space.



CREATING new office design

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Amidst a transitional time period, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau commissioned NELSON to design an open, flexible, cutting-edge work environment for their team. 

Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau


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NELSON and Veenendaal Cave, Inc. Officially Join Operations, establish the Southeastearn USA as a “Super Region”.


NELSON and Veenendaal Cave, Inc. Join Operations


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Fieldglass commissioned NELSON to redesign space with a focus on the creation of a more collaborative work environment allowing for a more efficient workflow.

Fieldglass Inc