Founded in 1905 as Star Furniture Co., the company produced furniture which was in the historic revival style. Dirk Jan De Pree, who worked in the company as a clerk became the president of the company by 1919, and along with his father–in–law Herman Miller, purchased 51% of the company stock and eventually named it Herman Miller Furniture Company in 1923. Following the Great Depression, the company explored new products to survive and hired Gilbert Rohde who specialized in modernist designs. After the demise of Rohde, architect George Nelson along with his group of designers influenced the designs of the company products which led to some of the most recognizable pieces of furniture delivered by the company. In this article, we will know more about these products.
1. Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman
Designed by Charles and Ray Eames to be ‘a special refuge from the strains of modern living’, the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman are a part of the permanent collections at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. The lounge chair represents the dawn of modern living in the United States and is known for its classic and authentic design. Today, this Herman Miller product can be found universally with multiple options in leather, veneers, and colours. A variety of finishing veneer options like cherry, walnut, palisander rosewood are provided. Crafted with a seven-ply veneer shell, individually upholstered cushions, adjustable stainless steel glides, and a built-in swivel mechanism, the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman provide utmost comfort amidst the hustles of the modern world.
2. Aeron Chair
As the world started depending more and more on their mental capacity and comfort to work, the concept of ergonomic comfort became more important. Designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick put years of research into studying the way people sit and created a product that is an ergonomic revolution. They would further influence the high-performance seating products of Herman Miller. With the help of Pellicle, a material that is flexible and elegant, no additional upholstery was needed for these chairs that can be found in most of the world’s offices today. Along with winning major design awards, the Aeron Chair today has also proved to be a game changer when it comes to sustainability in manufacturing. The product now incorporates ocean-bound plastic—recycled material into the manufacturing of the Aeron Chair, where more than 150 metric tons of plastic is diverted from the oceans to Herman Miller’s manufacturing unit.
3. Nelson Marshmallow Seating
The Nelson Marshmallow sofa can be immediately recognized as part of the Herman Miller furniture collection as a playful yet comfortable piece of seating. Irving Harper has incorporated 18 discs arranged at regular intervals over a metal frame. This furniture piece has been used to make a dramatic statement in residences, commercial spaces, lobbies, and lounges. The materials used for cushions are either fabric, vinyl, or leather. Apart from having cushions of the same colors, a whimsical look is created by using cushions of multiple colors. This style is called ‘atomistic’, which was an adaptation of an artist’s representations of an atom, which used individual, brightly colored dots to portray atomic particles. Introduced in 1956, the Nelson Marshmallow sofa embodied a new concept, having a modern look.
Alternating between sitting and standing during work hours not only improves concentration and creativity but also gives more energy to carry out the given work more efficiently. Along with that, a sedentary lifestyle leads to an increased risk of obesity and heart diseases. Based on this concept of those who move better, feel better and those who feel better, work better, Herman Miller designed these height-adjustable desks that lead to better postures while working. Users can adjust the height of their desks at the touch of a button. Ratio Sit to Stand tables are used as single desks as well as in clusters. These create dynamic work environments with flexibility in design and open work environments.
5. Nala Patient Chair
The Nala Patient Chair by Herman Miller has been designed around the comfort of the patient by combining the aspects of ergonomics and technology. Herman Miller consulted with ergonomists, physical therapists, gerontologists, and more than 70 healthcare designers to develop this product. The chair mimics the natural movement of the patient’s body with a recline range of up to 24 degrees. With easy-to-use technology, the recline and arm pivot make it easy for both the patient and the doctor to conduct their diagnosis. The Nala Patient Chair considers the needs of both the patient and the caregiver by providing physical as well as emotional comfort.
6. Noguchi Table
“Art should become one with its surroundings”, Isamu Noguchi, the designer of the Noguchi Table made this statement which is an apt description for the Noguchi table. Made from just a 3/4 inch plate glass and two solid wood legs, the Noguchi table strikes the perfect balance between art and sculpture. Ever since its introduction in 1948, the Noguchi table is a classic furniture element found in modern homes providing an understated and versatile look. Walnut wood has been the favored choice for the production of the table. Its sturdy nature and minimal material use make the Noguchi table a popular yet affordable choice.
7. Catena Office Landscape
With ever-changing work dynamics, the need for flexible workspaces has increased over time. Catena, meaning ‘chain’ or ‘connected series’ in Italian, is a versatile and lightweight connective partition system that leads to a flexible workspace of infinite possibilities. The Catena Office Landscape also addresses the problem of fitting in multiple activities in a smaller footprint of office space and maximizing its use. Catena has the unique ability to shift from rectangular or grid workspaces to even honeycomb formations. It provides certain freedom to the users of this space and eventually leads to a healthy work environment and better results.
8. Anywhere Case
Designed for the evolving workspaces by Craig Jones Design, the Anywhere Case is the perfect product to place all the workplace essentials such as the laptop, tablet, mobile, documents, and stationery so that it can be carried easily to workplaces, meetings, and your home. Along with its transportation abilities, the Anywhere Case is a perfect organization tool that keeps the desk uncluttered leading to a better working mind. The lightweight case can be used both horizontally and vertically, providing the freedom to work anywhere, anytime whilst having all essentials by your side. Along with its compact and practical design, the designers of the Anywhere Case have kept the design minimal yet efficient.
9. Nelson Swag Leg Desk and Table
Even though introduced in 1958, George Nelson’s swag leg desk is said to be a product that was way ahead of its time. Providing space for all the electronic pieces of equipment like the laptop and mobile, the Nelson Swag Leg Desk is functionally efficient as well as graceful in its design. The legs of the desk were produced by a process called swaging, where pressure is used to taper and curve a metal tube giving it a sculptural look. The combination of walnut wood and colorful cubby holes not only helps keep things organized but also gives a minimal look in any space.
10. About A Stool
Danish designer Hee Welling’s impactful design of a bar stool has made the stool one of the top-selling products in Scandinavia. The gently curved seat on slender legs provides good lumbar support along with visual delight. The stool is available in multiple heights with material choices of wood as well as metal and multiple upholstery choices. The About A Stool design is a testament to creating simple yet impactful designs that fit in a variety of dining environments.
- MillerKnoll (2018).
Available at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MillerKnoll
- Herman Miller
Available at : https://www.hermanmiller.com/en_in/