Contemporary Decadance

Contemporary Decadance

Herman Miller began life as a small furniture company operating out of Michigan, USA, in 1905. From humble beginnings, the company grew to embody the glory years of the American design and sustainability practices, and played a core role in the evolution of modern and contemporary craft. 

The story of Herman Miller is told over ten chapters and thousands of illustrations in Herman Miller: A Way of Living. The compendium, published by Phaidon, collates the most defining moments of Herman Miller’s 100+ year history and dissects its wider impact on societal style. 

After WWII, Herman Miller created an identity for 1950s homesteads and offices, becoming emblematic of a baby boom generation shifting toward sleek furniture that emphasised style alongside domestic life. The Aeron, Mirra and Eames chairs, the latter modelled after a baseball mitt, offered enviable decadence at a price affordable for most post-war breadwinners. 

Such is their expertise, Herman Miller were chosen to represent American interests during the Cold War, overseeing the very first exhibition staged by the USA in the USSR. At the time, the USA were lagging behind in the space race. This showcase acted almost as an exercise in propaganda, arguing the strengths of capitalism against communism through faux kitchen displays and mid-century electronics. 

Herman Miller: A Way of Living by Amy Auscherman, Sam Grawe, and Leon Ransmeier, published by Phaidon, is available to pre-order now. Find out more here.

Lead image courtesy of: Braniff International corporate offices utilizing Action Office 2, Dallas, Texas,1976. Picture credit: courtesy and copyright © Herman Miller Archives