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The Herman Miller Collection: Authentic Modern Design for How We Live and Work Today

June 8, 2012

Herman Miller, the pioneering American furniture maker with a record of design innovations that have defined modern commercial and residential interiors since the 1930s, will bring its revival of the Herman Miller Collection to NeoCon 2012. First unveiled in April, the Collection draws on the moniker and underlying principals first defined in the company’s 1948 catalog by George Nelson, Herman Miller’s then Director of Design.  The Herman Miller Collection offers a uniquely comprehensive portfolio of freestanding furniture that enable stylish, comfortable and accessible environments in myriad settings—from the boardroom, to the bistro, to the backyard.

Nelson, an oracle of great design, called for “the continuing creation of a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirements for modern living.” He also recognized that attributes of elegant comfort and flexibility, in a range of price points, were applicable for both the home and the workplace. His prescient insights on the ideal office environment are particularly remarkable in light of today’s trends.  Nelson envisioned “a daytime living room where work can be done under less tension with fewer distractions.”  Today, professionals are no longer tethered by their technology, while mobility and collaboration invite work whenever and wherever people feel most comfortable. The Herman Miller Collection invites and celebrates this realization of Nelson’s 60 year old vision.

Ben Watson, Herman Miller’s Executive Creative Director, noted, “We see the Collection as both our legacy and our responsibility, a labor of love and a statement of our commitment to design leadership for the next century.” He added, “We are committed to provide our customers, whether consumers or businesses, with products that are purposeful, beautiful, and enduring.”

Carefully curated to combine both existing and newly minted, iconic designs from the vast Herman Miller archive, along with the contemporary work of some of today’s best known designers, the offering will present approximately 200 product families to create complete environments across multiple market segments. The Collection provides solutions for office environments as well as healthcare, education, and the home.

The Herman Miller Collection includes familiar and well-loved pieces and textiles from the company’s early collaborations with the giants of 20th century design, many reintroduced after decades or freshly reinterpreted with new materials and manufacturing technologies.  Names like Eames, Nelson, Noguchi, Girard, Bennett, and Burdick are a foundation for the program.

But the company emphasizes that the collection is not simply an exercise in nostalgia. Recent award-winning contemporary designs from some of today’s best known practitioners include chairs, sofas, stools, and tables, for indoor and out, from Italian alliance partners Magis and Mattiazzi. These highly respected design houses represent the work of Konstantin Grcic, Jasper Morrison, the brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Steffano Giovannoni, Nitzan Cohen, Naoto Fukasawa, Marcel Wanders, Sam Hecht, and Kim Collin.

The Collection’s final, vital elements are wholly new commissions to be introduced beginning Spring 2012. In queue are designs by Ayse Birsel and Bibi Seck, Leon Ransmeier, Hecht and Collin, Craig Bassam and Scott Fellows that will complement and extend the Collection’s reach and service to virtually every space in modern life. True to Nelson’s original vision, Herman Miller will continue to grow and evolve the Collection to meet new and emerging needs into the future.

Ultimately the Herman Miller Collection is defined by the breadth and depth of its range: sofa seating, lounge seating, dining and side chairs, benches and stools, meeting, dining, and occasional tables, storage, outdoor furnishings, and accessories. Each piece considered in relation to the whole; the places where it will be used, the people who will use it, and the continually evolving needs that demand dynamic new solutions.

Watson concluded, “The most enduring designs from our past struck a balance between seemingly contradictory ideas; the combination of craft and industrial processes, aspirational and accessible, sculpture and engineering, elegant yet casual, beauty and comfort. Our goods must work hard to provide a solution, but they must have a true spirit. Those principals still guide us today. Our job is to understand the larger balance, while continuing to push forward and provide furniture that meets the requirements for life today.”

The Herman Miller collection is available through Herman Miller’s commercial dealers and authorized retailers across North America, and via the company’s online store at store.hermanmiller.com. Global availability will follow later in 2012.

About The Herman Miller Collection
In 1948, George Nelson created the first Herman Miller Collection, with the goal of "a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirements for modern living.”  He understood that the Collection would evolve as human behavior changed and new materials and manufacturing technologies emerged. Today’s modern living embraces the blending of life and work, with greater appreciation for contemporary design and mobile and ubiquitous technologies offering new freedom of choice in where and how people express their lifestyles and pursue their professions. The Herman Miller Collection welcomes and enriches this new era, as we endeavor to realize Nelson’s vision for the modern home, office, and public spaces. More information can be found at www.hermanmiller.com/collection.

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. A recipient of the National Design Award from the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the company’s curiosity, ingenuity, and design excellence create award-winning products and services, resulting in more than $1.6 billion in revenue in fiscal 2011. Innovative business practices and a commitment to social responsibility have also established Herman Miller as a recognized global leader. In 2011, Herman Miller again received the Human Rights Campaign (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.

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