Mark Goetz knows that people feel close to their furniture. So his goal is to design furniture that fits into people’s lives as well as it fits the human body.
“I want you to feel my designs are yours, like your favourite things in your home,” Mark says. “I don’t just want to design pieces you respect, I want to design objects you love.”
Mark began designing objects to be loved as a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. During his years at Pratt, he was strongly impacted by hearing George Nelson and later Isamu Noguchi lecture. He also met Ray Eames, who participated in a review of his work. “Getting to meet these design masters in person fuelled my excitement for the future,” Mark recalls. “It also taught me that humility is essential for a lifetime of learning.”
After graduation, Mark was hired by a number of respected New York design firms, with whom he worked on a range of projects, including consumer products and exhibits for the American Museum of Natural history. Later, at age 24, he started his own design firm. And while he enjoyed creating children’s products for Marimekko, tote bags for Le Sportsac and crystal for Steuben, his true passion has always been for furniture.
Over the course of his career, Mark has designed a desk used by a former U.S. President, lounge chairs used for interviews on NBC’s “Today”, and the seating for the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington DC.
In addition, Mark returned to Pratt, this time as a Professor where he taught undergraduate design and Graduate Furniture Studio for 20 years. He also has lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad.
His contributions to the Herman Miller Collection include the Goetz Sofa, which was designed to elegantly stand alone or beautifully complement some of the classic home and office products that define 20th-century design. “If I was again sitting in a room with Nelson, Noguchi or Eames, I would still be listening rather than talking,” Mark says. “My favourite experiences come when I am learning. When designing the sofa, I took on that role, trying to understand the qualities of the Collection that make it so wonderful. I wanted to create something that respectfully adds to it.”
More recent contributions to the Collection include the Full Twist Chair and Taper Chair, both of which Mark designed for Geiger, a Herman Miller Company. The latter earned Contract magazine’s Best of NeoCon Gold award in the ergonomic task chair category in 2017.
While the products Mark has designed demonstrate his range as a designer, they embody similar themes. “I try to give my pieces a reserved, quiet expression so they’re appropriate in a variety of environments,” he says, “but I also try to make interesting forms that people really respond to – original and inspiring.”
Above all, he says, “I want people to feel comfortable with my work, so they feel it’s created especially for them.”
Brooklyn, New York
Best of NeoCon Gold Award for ergonomic task seating, 2017
Best of NeoCon Silver Award for casegoods, 2013
Interior Design Magazine Best of Year Award for Seating, 2011
Best of Neocon Silver Award for bench seating, 2009
Interior Design Magazine Merit Award, 2008
Best of NeoCon Silver Award for conference tables, 2008
Best of NeoCon Gold Award for healthcare patient seating, 2007
Best of NeoCon Silver Award for occasional tables, 2006
Best of NeoCon Gold Award for guest seating, 2005
Best of NeoCon Gold Award for seating, 2000
Chicago Athenaeum's Good Design Competition, 2000
Best of NeoCon Gold Award for occasional tables, 1998
Best of NeoCon Gold Award for seating and tables, 1996
IIDA Apex Award for seating, 1996
Institute of Business Designers Award for seating, 1993