Herman Miller

Topics: Herman Miller, Charles and Ray Eames, Eames Lounge Chair Pages: 3 (821 words) Published: April 22, 2013
erman Miller, Inc., based in Zeeland, Michigan, is a major American manufacturer of office furniture, equipment and home furnishings. It is notable as one of the first companies to produce modern furniture and, under the guidance of Design Director George Nelson, is likely the most prolific and influential producer of furniture of the modernist style. Among classic Herman Miller products are the Equa chair, Aeron chair, Noguchi table, Marshmallow sofa, and the Eames Lounge Chair. Herman Miller is credited with the invention of the office cubicle (originally known as the "Action Office II") in 1968 under then-director of research Robert Propst.[1][2] Herman Miller holds a unique position among furniture manufacturers for having cultivated the talents of a large number of modernist designers, producing a significant number of pieces that are now considered icons of industrial design. Contents [hide]

1 History
2 Workplace
3 Sustainability
4 Notable Products
5 Similar companies
6 References
7 External links
[edit]History

A typical distribution depot, in Chippenham, Wiltshire.
Herman Miller was founded in 1905 as the Star Furniture Co. in Zeeland, Michigan.[2] Initially the company produced high quality furniture, especially bedroom suites, in historic revival styles.[2] In 1909, Dirk Jan De Pree began working for the company as a clerk, and became its president by 1919, when it was renamed The Michigan Star Furniture Co.[2] De Pree and his father-in-law, Herman Miller, purchased 51% of the company stock in 1923 and renamed it the Herman Miller Furniture Company. It became Herman Miller, Inc. in 1960.[2] Until 1930, the company produced only traditional wood furniture.[2] With the coming of the Great Depression the company was forced to explore new products to survive in a shrinking market[2] and reluctantly hired Gilbert Rohde, a designer who specialized in modernist designs.[2] Rohde turned the company in a totally new direction and in 1933, Herman...

References: 7 External links
[edit]History
A typical distribution depot, in Chippenham, Wiltshire.
Herman Miller was founded in 1905 as the Star Furniture Co. in Zeeland, Michigan.[2] Initially the company produced high quality furniture, especially bedroom suites, in historic revival styles.[2] In 1909, Dirk Jan De Pree began working for the company as a clerk, and became its president by 1919, when it was renamed The Michigan Star Furniture Co.[2] De Pree and his father-in-law, Herman Miller, purchased 51% of the company stock in 1923 and renamed it the Herman Miller Furniture Company. It became Herman Miller, Inc. in 1960.[2]
Until 1930, the company produced only traditional wood furniture.[2] With the coming of the Great Depression the company was forced to explore new products to survive in a shrinking market[2] and reluctantly hired Gilbert Rohde, a designer who specialized in modernist designs.[2] Rohde turned the company in a totally new direction and in 1933, Herman Miller debuted a line of modern furniture at the Century of Progress exposition in Chicago, Illinois.[2] In 1941, the company opened a showroom in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and another in New York City. Under Rohde 's supervision Herman Miller entered the contract (office) furniture market in 1942, with the introduction of the "Modular Executive Office" Group (EOG), the first in a long line of office furnishings to be produced by the company.[2] Rohde died in 1944 and was replaced by architect George Nelson, who joined the firm as director of design in 1945.[2] Over the next four decades Nelson was to have an enormous influence upon Herman Miller, not only for his personal design contributions, but also for the talented designers he recruited to its ranks, including; Isamu Noguchi, Charles and Ray Eames, Robert Propst, and textile designer Alexander Girard.[2] Beginning in the late 1940s, the period under Nelson 's guidance saw Herman Miller produce some of the world 's most iconic pieces of modern furniture, including the Noguchi table, Eames Lounge Chair, Marshmallow sofa, Ball clock (actually produced by Howard Miller Clock Company), and the Sling sofa.[2]
Dirk Jan De Pree would continue to serve as Herman Miller CEO until 1961, when he was forced by illness to step-down. He was succeeded by his son, Hugh De Pree. Hugh would serve as company CEO until the mid-1980s, when he was succeeded by his brother Max De Pree, who held the position until 1990.[2]
In 1961, Herman Miller added the Herman Miller Research Division, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[2] This division developed the "Action Office" line in 1964 under the supervision of Robert Propst and with the design assistance of George Nelson 's New York design studio,.[2] Though the initial line, known as "Action Office I", was not a success, it led Propst to develop the "Action Office II" line, which introduced the "Office cubicle".[2] The impact of "Action Office II" on the workplace cannot be overstated, as it revolutionized the office environment. In 1978, "Action Office II" was renamed simply Action Office. Herman Miller 's line of "Action Office" products have generated sales of over $5 billion to date.[2]
George Nelson 's influence at Herman Miller gradually declined during the 1970s and new designers joined the company, including Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf, who co-designed the Equa chair, and in the 1990s developed the highly successful Aeron chair.[2] Designer Tom Newhouse would introduce the "Newhouse group" of free-standing furniture in 1987, and assist with the "Ethospace" wall panel system for the "Action Office" line. Ray Wilkes would design the "Modular Seating Group", popularly known as the Chicklet Chairs.[2]
Artist Stephen Frykholm is also noted for his contributions to Herman Miller. From 1970 to 1989 Frykholm produced a series of posters for Herman Miller 's annual summer picnics, some of which are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, and remain highly sought-after art prints.[2]
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