This April, the legendary American furnishings model Herman Miller introduced plans to amass one other legendary American furnishings model —Knoll, for $1.8 billion.
After months of labor, the deal has been finalized. The acquisition is full. And Herman Miller has introduced a brand new identify: MillerKnoll, an amalgamation of the 2 names. The concept is to guard the legacy of one of the crucial profitable design partnerships of the twentieth century.
Herman Miller was not the unique founding father of Herman Miller. The corporate was first based in 1904 because the Star Furnishings Firm. Shortly thereafter, a clerk named D.J. De Pree started working on the firm. A decade later, he turned its president. It wasn’t till 1923 that De Pree’s father-in-law, Herman Miller, bought 51% of the corporate’s fairness and named it after himself.
Miller was a businessman, not a designer. And plenty of of Herman Miller’s best furnishings icons have been developed by commissions from design stars like Ray and Charles Eames.
In the meantime, the identify Knoll comes from Hans Knoll. Hans Knoll based the Knoll furnishings firm in 1941 (Hans’s household was in furnishings design, however he would in the end take the lead on furnishings gross sales). He married his spouse, Florence Knoll, in 1946. The 2 turned companions and renamed the corporate Hans Associates.
A skilled architect, in addition to a designer, Florence led inside design technique and labored with design commissions. Her affect touched every small design choice popping out of Knoll, proper all the way down to the letterheads. She additionally designed furnishings, filling the model with what she undersold as “meat and potatoes” designs. These designs, like her “Relaxed” sofas and armchairs, nonetheless look completely up to date, and can be at house in any furnishings showroom or house as we speak. Hans died in 1955, whereas Florence turned president of the corporate for 5 years and continued designing for many years. Knoll went public in 1983 for the equal of about $100 million as we speak. After privatizing, the corporate went public again in 1997 for the equal of roughly $27o million as we speak, after which again in 2004 for the equal of roughly $24o million as we speak.
The identify MillerKnoll is perhaps a jarring shift to anybody within the design group (all of Herman Miller’s sub manufacturers like HAY and Design Inside Attain will maintain their current names). However it is sensible in context: Quite than erase the legacy of the Knolls, Herman Miller has confirmed that it’s keen to compromise a little bit of its personal id to protect it.