A sampling of the Herman Miller Vintage capsule collection, in partnership with esteemed auction house Wright.
Peter J. Protzman Rocker, 1975 (chrome-plated steel, upholstery, enameled aluminum)
Alexander Girard Stool
George Nelson and Associates Masonite table clock, model 4767A, 1949 (lacquered wood, Masonite, walnut, enameled steel, enameled aluminum)
George Nelson and Associates Lantern lamp, 1962, (plastic, lacquered wood)
Marilyn Neuhart Doll from Textiles and Objects, c. 1961 (linen, wool, silk Neuhart's hand-made dolls were created for Alexander Girard’s Textiles & Objects shop in New York.) provenance: Textiles & Objects, New York | Private Collection
George Nelson and Associates Kangaroo Chair, 1955 (leather, chrome-plated steel, wool upholstery)
Special-Order 670 lounge chair and 671 ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames, 1956 (rosewood plywood, leather, brushed and enameled aluminum)
1956, (upholstery, enameled steel, aluminum, chrome-plated steel)
Steelframe desk, model 4111 and DAX
George Nelson and Associates Swaged Leg Chair
George Nelson and Associates CSS 1959
George Nelson and Associates Steelframe cabinets model
George Nelson & Associates Home Office desk
Charles and Ray Eames Time Life Stool
No design-lover’s lexicon is complete without being able to rattle off some of Herman Miller’s most notable pieces. From Ray and Charles Eames to Isamu Noguchi and George Nelson, the brand has partnered with top talents in the design world throughout its history. Synonymous with the mid-century aesthetic, Herman Miller is celebrating 100 years of enduring style with the launch of Herman Miller Vintage, a 100-piece capsule collection featuring iconic and rare finds produced throughout the brand’s history.
In partnership with esteemed auction house Wright, the collection is officially live online as of today at noon EST, with select pieces available at Herman Miller showrooms in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago through the end of October 2023. To honor the occasion, PaperCity spoke with Ben Watson, Herman Miller’s Chief Creative and Product Officer.
PaperCity: How did the Wright team decide which 100 pieces to focus on?
Ben Watson: For the initial launch, Wright aimed to curate a collection of some of the most iconic and coveted Herman Miller designs and also to provide a broader look at the brand’s production by including works by more than just Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson & Associates. You will find rare works by Robert Probst, Peter Protzman, and Gilbert Rohde to name a few.
PC: What do you expect to be the most coveted items in the collection?
BW: The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, known to many by their model numbers 670 (lounge chair) and 671 (ottoman), are always popular and we’re pleased to offer options featuring rare colors that were only available as special orders.
PC: What are some more under-the-radar vintage pieces in the collection shoppers should pay attention to?
BW: Marilyn Neuhart’s colorful, handmade dolls should not be overlooked. These unique and playful forms were sold at the Textiles & Objects shop, Herman Miller’s first New York City retail shop which opened in midtown in 1961. With an inventory of international folk art hand-selected by Alexander Girard, as well as bolts of fabric, custom furniture, and small items he commissioned or designed, the shop was a glimpse into Girard’s colorful world. Looking back, it’s clear that Girard’s highly considered and curated approach to retail was decades ahead of its time.
PC: Do you think this collection will become an annual affair?
BW: We’re launching Herman Miller Vintage with 100 items, an obvious link to our celebration of 100 years of Herman Miller. If the program resonates with consumers, we may consider expanding it.
PC: Surely the Eames chair is the most searched vintage piece from Herman Miller. What do you think has made it such an icon?
BW: The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, referred to affectionately by their respective model numbers 670 and 671 by many, features the perfect balance of aesthetic appeal and comfort, characteristics that took years to refine. The form was conceived of by Charles as early as 1940 but the testing and refinement came later. In a note to Charles in 1955, Ray described how they “kept testing and going to sleep in it.” The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman were introduced on The Today Show in 1956, and the result is the enduring form that is still very much loved today.