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 & Co-CEO John “Ozzie” Nelson Jr. and Jim Tippmann, Co-CEO, 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

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 development of seven services including Architecture, Interior Design, Strategies, Workplace Services, and 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 strategic merger integration studies and integrations for large corporate clients, data warehousing services, and a host of ongoing services on a national basis. These services and new directions were led by John “Ozzie” Nelson Jr. who joined the firm in 1987. After becoming CEO of NELSON in 2003, Ozzie led the firm to expand its reach, adding new service lines and practice area specialties through 40 strategic mergers.  

In 2018, NELSON merged operations with FRCH appointing Jim Tippmann as Co-CEO along with Ozzie. Together, the two are focused on the success of business, providing opportunities for significant growth, and maintaining a creative company culture.



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, D.C.


NELSON merged with Black Cow Architects in Boston


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


Space Design Incorporated Teammates transitioned to NELSON in Philadelphia


NELSON merged with RipBang Studios, a Los Angeles based branding firm

NELSON merged with The Mufson Partnership in New York

NELSON merged with WCL Interiors in Minneapolis, MN


NELSON merged with EHS Design in Seattle, WA

NELSON merged with VeenendaalCave (VCave) in Atlanta, GA


NELSON merged with Marvin Stein Associates in Seattle, WA

NELSON merged with AAI in San Jose, CA


NELSON merged with Wilson & Associates in Minneapolis, MN

NELSON merged with Cope Linder Architects in Philadelphia, PA

NELSON merged with KA Architecture in Cleveland, OH

NELSON merged with MGE Architecture in Miami, FL

NELSON merged with WK design group in San Francisco, CA

Today, NELSON enjoys a tremendous track record with a broad range of clients from 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 #17 on the Building Design + Construction Architecture/Engineering Giants list, in the top ten overall Interior Design Magazine “Design Giants," and #3 on the Interior Design Magazine Giants focused on workplace design. 


NELSON merged with Wakefield Beasley & Associates in Alpharetta, GA

NELSON merged with FRCH Worldwide in Cincinnati, OH, named Jim Tippmann as Co-CEO



Leadership Team

NELSON Insights

FOCUSING ON Retail and Hospitality 

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NELSON, a global architecture and design firm, announced it has merged operations with FRCH Design Worldwide, a leading retail and hospitality architecture and design firm to create one of the largest in the country with a focus on consumer experiences where people work, shop, dine, play, stay, live, and heal.

FOCUSING ON Architecture and Design Platforms

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NELSON, one of the fast-growing global architecture, interior design, and consulting services firms, has announced its intention to merge operations with Wakefield Beasley & Associates (WBA) and WB Interiors (WBI).

FOCUSING ON Architecture in the Bay Area

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After a string of recent national moves, NELSON, a global architecture and design firm, announced it has merged operations with WK design group.

FOCUSING on doing good deeds  

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Core to NELSON’s mission is our commitment to partnering with the communities where we work and live to sustain them, as well as creating positive change through civic engagement and socially responsible behavior.

FOCUSING ON Design From the Outside In 

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In a move that will take them from a nationally recognized interior design firm to a true full-service architecture and design firm, NELSON, Cope Linder Architects, and KA Architecture will merge operations effective June 1, 2017.


To experience more, click HERE.

In a move that will take them from a nationally recognized interior design firm to a true full-service architecture and design firm, NELSON, Cope Linder Architects, and KA Architecture will merge operations effective June 1, 2017.

FOCUSING ON Cloud-Based DatA

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To stand out from competitors, attract and retain top talent, and reflect their culture, cloud-based data company, Civis Analytics, retained NELSON to design their new 29,000 SF space.

CREATING innovative design

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Capital One selected NELSON to help them design their Rolling Meadows location. The NELSON team worked with Capital One’s Design Team and Key Leaders to create their vision of an urban chic work environment.




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


FOCUSING on Architecture in healthcare design  

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In a move that will significantly expand architectural services in the southeast, global architecture, design, and consulting services firm, NELSON, is merging operations with Miami-based architecture firm, MGE Architects. The deal is effective immediately.

CREATING New Solutions

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Tactix retained NELSON to provide interior design services for their new location in Center City Philadelphia. The team worked closely with executives to develop new design solutions to fit their needs.