Architecture & Design, Arts & Entertainment, and Manufacturing

Herman Miller offers ‘immersive exhibition’

NeoCon display to show off eight curated environments sourced from the company’s family of brands.

June 7, 2019
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Herman Miller’s “All Together Now” collection features more than 450 designs in eight settings as part of the furniture maker’s main exhibit. Courtesy Nicholas Callcott/Herman Miller

Herman Miller is bringing its growing family to NeoCon 2019.

The Zeeland-based provider of furnishings and related technologies and services is taking part in the 51st annual NeoCon, the commercial design industry’s premier North American trade show.

NeoCon is this week, June 10-12, at Merchandise Mart, aka The Mart, a 4-million-square-foot art deco building on the river in downtown Chicago that houses permanent showrooms and 500 exhibitors from around the contract furnishings world on 10 of the building’s 25 floors.

At the show, Herman Miller will present “All Together Now,” an “immersive exhibition exploring the expanding and nearly endless design possibilities of Herman Miller Group’s growing global family of brands.”

Herman Miller Group was formed through a series of recent and past brand acquisitions around the globe, including Colebrook Bosson Saunders, Design Within Reach, Geiger, HAY, Maars Living Walls, Maharam, naughtone, Nemschoff and Herman Miller.

Collectively, Herman Miller markets the family of brands as offering “a variety of products for the places people live, learn, work and heal,” referring to its core customer segments of residential, education, office and health care. “All Together Now” will feature more than 450 designs that can target those core markets.

The exhibit debuted in Milan at Salone del Mobile 2019 in April and will appear in a similar configuration in the reimagined Herman Miller Chicago showroom on the third floor of The Mart for NeoCon.

Geiger will have a separate space on the third floor with a focus on ancillary furniture and meeting spaces.

Maharam will be featured on the 11th floor, and naughtone will have a display on the 10th floor.

Visitors to the “All Together Now” main exhibit will move through eight “thoughtfully curated, color-blocked vignettes” that are meant to have a diverse look and feel “united by (the) belief that any space worth inhabiting is born from human-centered design,” according to Herman Miller.

Components of the exhibit will range from a lounge lined with red velvet and lit by a constellation of bubble lamps to an indoor-to-outdoor workspace teeming with flora to a health care environment with interactive technology and home-inspired touches to make it “feel far from clinical.”

In the eight design settings, the material colors were chosen to evoke particular moods and emotions. The rich reds and burgundies of the soft seating area were meant to convey a feeling of love. Other spaces were designed to make people feel optimistic, warm and cozy, and creative.

The company said guests will be encouraged to “engage with and rethink” the array of products and settings the Herman Miller Group family of brands can offer.

Tim Straker, senior vice president of marketing and global customer experience at Herman Miller, said the eight design settings are meant to spark everyone’s imagination as people walk through them, rather than targeting only certain customers.

“The way visual exhibitions come together is kind of the artful combination of product from each of the brands used in ways that perhaps people haven’t seen before in creating a modern work environment, especially the nature of personality that can be infused when you blend together different color, material and finish across different product from different price points from different brands,” Straker said.

“It really creates a textured, layered, really interesting statement around what is possible.”

Examples he cited include a teledoc station and wellness room; a makerspace that would work for engineering, architecture, design and project management majors at colleges and universities; and soft seating gathering spaces for lobbies, break rooms and more in a corporate setting.

“Anyone who wants to amplify the idea of modern living in a really unique way should be inspired by these,” he said.

The eight settings aren’t available to buy as a bundle, but the pieces that make up the settings are available individually.

With the exception of a systems product in the Geiger showroom that is pre-launch, called Geiger One, all of the products in the “All Together Now” exhibition are either products that launched within the past year or legacy/classical products in the brands’ portfolios.

Straker said the goal of every NeoCon is to build “long-term preference” for the Herman Miller brand so people will remember it when they’re ready to plan a project.

“The bulk of the people that come to NeoCon are looking for inspiration and how they might rethink their space or how they might look at how their space performs in a different way,” he said. “So, we’re trying to really activate the imagination and what’s possible with different combinations in different settings.”

When it comes to the office environment, Herman Miller is seeing a continuing shift away from traditional setups and seating arrangements and is therefore offering “a variety of settings that support both individual work or focus work and teamwork.” Instead of showing complete environments, there will be a focus on what is possible with the complete floor plate in terms of systems, furniture, seating and all the spaces in between.

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