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Project Information


  • Collaboration
  • Conference
  • Open Office
  • Private Office
  • Reception


  • Easy Options Capability

Hanna Andersson is the little engine that could. Seeking a simpler life, Tom and Gun Denhart began a mail-order business about 25 years ago importing the soft, durable children's clothes that Gun Denhart had grown up with in her native Sweden. (The company is named after her grandmother.)

It was literally a kitchen-table operation. A spare bedroom was the corporate headquarters, and the garage was the warehouse. As the company grew, it moved from the bedroom to a suite in Portland's historic Pearl district furnished with casegoods imported from Sweden.

Chugging along at 20 percent growth per year, the company soon outgrew the Swedish desks and chairs and looked for furniture that would function as well and last as long as its durable, flexible children's clothes.

Herman Miller's Ethospace system was the company's choice, and for the next 15 years or so, the Ethospace furniture moved, changed, and expanded right along with Hanna Andersson, gracefully absorbing years of daily use." We still have the original Ethospace furniture throughout the facility," says Robert Nesbitt, facilities manager. "Its quality and flexibility fit with the character of this company."

Three years ago, Hanna Andersson took over the entire five-story building and began a major renovation. The company wanted to refresh its image and create more collaborative and teaming spaces. As always, the furniture needed to be light, simple, and as mobile as possible.

The Ethospace workstations were easy to refresh with accent tiles in a custom red fabric scattered among the original pewter-colored tiles. Glass tiles keep the space light and airy.

The Passage system with peninsulas, extended corners, and stacked screens furnishes many private offices. "It's more efficient than casegoods in private offices," says Mr. Nesbitt, "because you don't need a separate piece of furniture for each function."

In departments that tend to work in teams, Passage furniture with lower screen heights and D-shaped tables create a flexible, collaborative space. Placed against window walls, the workstations don't block light. With open back panels, they allow access to power outlets in the wall. Plus, "we kept the same colorways, so it all blends nicely with the Ethospace workstations," says Barb Pearce, account representative, Pacific Office Furnishings, a Herman Miller dealer.

In the reception area, a 78-inch-high wall in custom Ethospace tiles forms a backdrop to a millwork reception desk. The glass tiles are sandblasted with the Hanna Andersson logo. And in teaming areas where the children's clothing is designed, standing-height mobile tables from Herman Miller Easy Options are surrounded by Equa stools.

Finally, a new executive and administration area on the second floor features a smorgasbord of product, from Passage workstations in open areas to height-adjustable M Collection in executive offices. Private offices open onto a large space that serves as an informal meeting area. Furnished with tables and mobile marker boards from the Intersect Portfolio, the space can adapt quickly to any size meeting.

With mobile Avive tables and Caper chairs in conference rooms and teaming spaces throughout the facility, "we can set up a conference for six or for thirty in no time," says Mr. Nesbitt.

Still growing as quickly as a toddler, Hanna Andersson is poised to clothe a new generation of children with its enduring line of kid-friendly garments. And its offices are poised to support that growth with an array of functional, flexible Herman Miller furniture.

"When I first looked at the Herman Miller catalogs, I never thought we'd use this variety of product," says Mr. Nesbitt, "but if you can dream it up, we'll use it."