Herman Miller Offers New Perspective on Design Classics

May 13, 2011

Herman Miller, Inc. is featuring multiple new options, and a return to historic roots, with its iconic furniture designs presented at the 2011 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) at New York City's Javits Convention Center, May 13-17, 2011. The company's exhibit (stand #1624) utilizes bold graphics and a depiction of the Irwin Miller house, a landmark modern home in Columbus, Indiana, as the historically significant backdrop to its display.

The booth's residential interior and exterior introduces the Eames Aluminum Group in new finishes, its original 4-star base, and with an outdoor-friendly mesh harkening back to its origins as the "indoor-outdoor group." In addition, natural stone table top options are featured, in both cleft and polished surfaces for the Eames, Nelson, and Burdick table collections. Herman Miller is also introducing a new Modern Classic Leather (MCL) option; a premium full grain, semi-aniline leather in a variety of warm, classic colors and shown on the sculptural Eames chaise at ICFF.

Blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor
Charles and Ray Eames originally designed the Eames Aluminum Group to provide an outdoor solution for famed interior designer Alexander Girard. Girard, who joined Herman Miller as director of the upholstery and textile division in 1950, was faced with furnishing the recently completed Miller House and garden in 1957. The Miller House, now a nationally registered historic landmark, has multiple outdoor living and dining areas created by an extended roof and continuous travertine floor, blurring the distinction between indoors and outdoors. During his design process, Girard noted to Eames the lack of high-quality outdoor furniture available. This led the Eames studio to design an innovative group of chairs with aluminum frames tautly supporting a continuous plane of textile or leather, which has been a model for enduring design excellence ever since.

Herman Miller began producing the Aluminum Group chairs in 1958, originally promoting the chairs as the "leisure group" or alternatively the "indoor-outdoor group." It didn't take long for the Aluminum Group to move inside exclusively, perhaps to due to their lithe form. Now, that distinctive design returns to its birthright with materials, finishes and hardware fit for the Miller House terraces and all outdoors, in addition to providing new options for its interior application. With new satin graphite or white powdercoat finishes, graphite and white outdoor suspension mesh, MCL leather, and the original 4-star base, the Aluminum Group now moves seamlessly from outdoor to indoor, leisure to workplace, just as the Eameses first intended.

Rock of Ages
A series of Eames tables, along with the Nelson Pedestal Tables and the Burdick Dining Table, feature new graphite and white powdercoat finishes, along with the reintroduction of stone table tops. The six stone options include three colors of honed marble, cleft black slate, honed limestone, and granite. The Eames and Nelson tables will be offered in multiple heights and top dimensions. The Burdick Dining Table will feature stone options on its "D" end surfaces. These classic tables, featuring new looks and functionality, offer the durability and performance of timeless design.

Coming Soon
The return of outdoor options for the Eames Aluminum Group, along with new finishes and base, and the reintroduction of stone table tops, reinforces the company's commitment to hand-crafted industrial workmanship and classic modern design. The new finishes and base will be available beginning in June, while the stone table surfaces and MCL leathers will be orderable in September. The Eames Aluminum Group outdoor suspension mesh is anticipated to be orderable in the Fall of 2011.

About Herman Miller, Inc.
Herman Miller works for a better world around you—with inventive designs, technologies and related services that improve the human experience wherever people work, heal, learn, and live. Its curiosity, ingenuity, and design excellence create award-winning products and services, resulting in more than $1.3 billion in revenue in fiscal 2010. Innovative business practices and a commitment to social responsibility have also established Herman Miller as a recognized global company. In 2011, Herman Miller again received the Human Rights Council (HRC) Foundation's top rating in its annual Corporate Equality Index and was also cited by FORTUNE as the "Most Admired" company in the contract furniture industry. Herman Miller trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol MLHR.