Herman Miller celebrates its rich, century-old history

Herman Miller 100th anniversary archival graphics exhibition at the brand's Fulton Market Showroom in Chicago near to the Merchandise Mart where the NeoCon show is held.

Photo By Herman Miller

CHICAGO — Piggybacking on the NeoCon 2023 show, Herman Miller’s Chicago flagship showroom at nearby Fulton Market hosted a design retrospective on its history.

At the showroom, the iconic brand showcased an archival exhibition charting a century of the company's graphic design, new products designed by Tokyo-based Naoto Fukasawa and German industrial designer Stefan Diez, a survey of the company's imprint on the healthcare industry, and a refreshed showroom that blends Herman Miller's unique perspective on workspace, office seating, and ancillary environments.

2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the Herman Miller brand. The survey of two-dimensional design arrived in Chicago after the archival graphics exhibition debuted during Milan's annual design week in April. The showroom also hosted MillerKnoll's Design Days during which it showcased new products.

Throughout its history, Herman Miller has worked with many graphic designers and artists who came to define the look and feel of their respective eras. This visual journey begins on the ground floor of Herman Miller's Fulton Market flagship, inviting MillerKnoll Design Days participants and city residents alike to experience the "boldness, rigor, and joy innate to the brand."

As a special offer during MillerKnoll Design Days, Herman Miller is making available for sale limited-edition prints of the Eames Soft Pad Group poster originally produced in 1970. This piece is representative of the rigorous perspective that Chicago-based graphic designer John Massey brought to Herman Miller's corporate communications. Printed at the original 32" x 48" (91.44 x 121.92 cm) size, the prints are hand numbered in an edition of 500.

In the second-floor showroom, a dedicated exhibition space hosts a survey of the company's impact on the Healthcare industry, starting with an exploration of Herman Miller's revolutionary Co/Struc system—designed by Robert Propst and Jack Kelley in 1971—and highlighting contemporary clinical products and textiles from Herman Miller, Knoll, Knoll Textiles, Maharam, NaughtOne, and Muuto. The display is one of the most comprehensive showcases of the healthcare portfolio of products to date and will move to the Herman Miller showroom in Washington, D.C. later this year.

Highlighted at the three-day exhibition was the Asari Chair, designed by Naoto Fukasawa, one of the world's preeminent industrial designers, Asari was inspired by organic forms found in nature. Its name means “clam” in Japanese and is an anthropomorphic metaphor for the shape of the chair's back, which is available in high- and mid-back height. Eight color flood options accentuate the sculptural form by featuring one hue across the base, arms, and chair body. Bespoke blended options are also available, with over 180 color combinations available to contract customers. 

Asari is Herman Miller's latest demonstration of problem-solving through modern design. As professionals have established remote and hybrid work arrangements that include dedicated offices or multi-purpose living spaces, there is a need for seating that combines ergonomics and refined aesthetics. At the same time, organizations returning to physical spaces are considering a more residential environment that makes the office a destination with the comforts of home.

MillerKnoll Design Days will also present an opportunity to preview the soon-to-be-introduced Fuld Nesting Chair designed by Stefan Diez, Herman Miller's first nesting chair. Fuld has a crisp design that both reimagines and sets a new reference point for seating that “nests” together when not in use, saving on space. Fuld eschews the typical X shape for a sleek inverted Y with tubular arms, and its contoured shape has a back that flexes and keeps you comfortable as you shift.

Additional new products featured include Sayl with ocean-bound plastic, Ambit Workspace Solutions, Passport Work Table, Zeph Chair, and products from the OE1 Workspace Collection.

Herman Miller is a MillerKnoll brand. MillerKnoll is  



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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).