Local Furniture Makers Outfit Detroit Metro Airport

May 17, 2002
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DETROIT — Two West Michigan office furniture makers will furnish much of Northwest Airlines’ new $1.2 billion terminal at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport.

Northwest contracted with a Haworth Inc. dealer in the Detroit area, University Business Interiors of Farmington Hills, to supply all of the furnishings for the Midfield Terminal that opens this December, except for gate seating. The gate seating contract, totaling $3.7 million, went to Herman Miller Inc., which will provide Northwest with its classic Eames tandem sling seating for terminal gates.

The Northwest deal for 9,910 units, consisting of three to seven seats each, is the largest contract Zeeland-based Herman Miller has ever received for its Eames tandem sling seating, spokesman Bruce Buursma said. The previous largest contract was for 6,842 seating units bought two years ago by the Honolulu, Hawaii, airport.

The line was designed in 1964 by Charles Eames for Chicago’s O’Hare airport and is used at numerous airports around the nation, including 878 units bought by Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids for its recent terminal renovation. The seats feature aluminum frames and vinyl sling seats and backs.

The Eames chairs are durable and fit well with the new Detroit terminal’s architecture and aesthetics, which make use of natural light and exposed infrastructure, said Chuck McCloskey, Northwest’s director of construction for the Midfield Terminal.

“It’s a solid product,” McCloskey said. “It has stood the test of time in the airport business.”

Holland-based Haworth, meanwhile, will provide about half of the furniture included in University Business Interiors’ $3 million contract with Northwest. The contract involves Haworth’s Premise line that includes freestanding desks, workstations and tables for use by Northwest staff, McCloskey said.

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