Herman Miller expands partnership with Theater Solutions

August 20, 2011
| By Pete Daly |
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Herman Miller has expanded its partnership with Theater Solutions Inc., a fixed-seating manufacturer in Pennsylvania, through the addition of Herman Miller Caper seating to other products Theater Solutions can offer its customers.

The Zeeland furniture manufacturer’s Aeron and Equa lines already are available to Theater Solutions customers; Caper was added because its single largest market since its debut in 1999 has been higher education, according to a Herman Miller news release.

Mario Pimenta, one of the owners of Theater Solutions, said his company has had a very close relationship with Herman Miller for several years.

“We do not own any portion of Herman Miller and vice versa,” said Pimenta. “But what this relationship allows us to do is offer some of the Herman Miller products, some of the chairs, to be used as a fixed seating type of product.”

He said Herman Miller “does not get involved in fixed seating, and we do — that’s all we do for a living,” adding that the arrangement gives Herman Miller the opportunity to make some additional sales.

“Any time the sales force from Herman Miller discovers a project that requires fixed seating, they are directed to deal with us,” said Pimenta. “We have an exclusive right to those products from Herman Miller; no other manufacturer of auditorium seating has those products available to them. So it has been a very good relationship.”

Theater Solutions, based in Quakertown, Pa., focuses mainly on auditorium seating. Its projects have included Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, plus major museums, the Congressional Auditorium and the visitor orientation theaters in the U.S. Capitol building.

Theater Solutions, a 12-year-old company, also produces university lecture seating and jury room seating for courtrooms, which are prime markets for Aeron and Equa, and “even Eames, sometimes,” according to Pimenta.

The expanded alliance with Theater Solutions increases Caper’s potential presence on campus, according to Pete Phillips of Herman Miller.

“A fixed-seating solution for auditoriums and lecture spaces was a natural step,” he said, adding that Caper “enhances the learning experience in an ergonomic, durable and cost-conscious way.”

Caper fixed seating features a contoured, flexible seat and back to evenly distribute weight, minimize pressure points and let the sitter move freely. The seat and back are perforated with small holes to keep the sitter cool during a lecture or presentation, and the chair is paired with TSI’s heavy-duty, engineered memory column.

“Herman Miller continues to expand our solution capabilities for our education customers,” said Jeff Vredevoogd, director of the Herman Miller Education division.

Caper chairs weigh about half as much as competitive models, according to Herman Miller. The line was designed by Jeff Weber of Studio Weber+Associates, and has a compact footprint and user-friendly adjustments. Caper was awarded a Best of NeoCon Gold and a Best of IIDEX/NeoCon Canada when introduced in 1999.

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