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

NELSON acquires AAI in San Jose, CA


NELSON acquires Cope Linder Architects in Philadelphia, PA.

NELSON acquires KA Architecture in Cleveland, OH.

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).

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Leadership Team

NELSON Insights

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 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.

FOCUSING ON Design From the Outside In 

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.


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

To experience more, click HERE.

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 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.



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


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.