Mira Nakashima is a world-renowned architect, designer, and furniture maker, who has carried on and built upon the work of her father George Nakashima since his passing in 1990. Mira Nakashima was born in 1942, shortly before her family was put in Japanese internment camps in Idaho during World War II. Having been raised around her father's woodworking studio in New Hope, Mira was exposed to design and craft from a young age. She left to study architecture at Harvard, receiving a Bachelor of Arts and further honing her skills in design. She then continued to graduate work in architecture at Waseda University in Tokyo. Mira returned to New Hope in 1970 to work as an apprentice to her father and as a woodworker. She built her house near the woodworking studio soon after. As Mira worked with her father, she learned the nuances of crafting architectural drawings of the furniture pieces, understanding each slab to know what they could become, and seeing through the process of crafting and finishing. At the time of George's passing in 1990, Mira had already been working with George for two decades. Since then, she has continued to push the work of her father beyond his bounds, producing works with the same meticulous attention to detail and craft, while using a subtly different palate of materials and creating new lines of work, which nod to her father's. To this day, the Nakashima Studio in New Hope is an astonishing place filled with talent and rare hardwoods. The buildings on-site were constructed iteratively since the 1940s and each tell their own story from the showroom to museum and barn. The campus is in the National Historic Registry.
Of the pieces crafted under Mira Nakashima's leadership, the design language has remained consistent from her father's, though the approach to each piece and slab takes on new meaning. Mira takes on a more experimental approach to exotic materials and familiar ones, using a wider range of burls and figured domestic hardwoods. Similarly, her pieces tend to engage contrast between base and slab more expressively than her father's work. Whereas so much of George's early work was restrained and limited generally to straight-grained walnut for the late 1940s and much of the 1950s, the recognition of Nakashima Studio work has also allowed Mira to work more creatively, while still following the Nakashima's design language. Mira has taken part in a number of exhibitions during over the past three decades, which have led to new collections of works as well. This included a 2001 exhibition hosted by Philadelphia's Moderne Gallery and another in 2013 called "An Evolving Legacy." Most recently, Mira completed an architectural-scale project for the Connaught Grill restaurant in London.