Herman Miller Explosion in NYC
Herman Miller, always impressive for its design and innovation, has also been a sound financial performer for the contract furniture industry. The results under Brian Walker have been particularly admirable, especially through the difficulties of the past few years, giving due regard to nature of the industry and the extreme competitive price pressure facing systems manufacturers.
Always possessed of a bit of restless energy giving rise to new ideas and possessed of an eager eye for new markets of additional market share, Herman Miller is making a couple of noteworthy moves in the premium New York City market, each with its own distinct flavor. First, Creative Office Pavilion, the largest Herman Miller dealer in North America is opening an office in NYC. Second, Herman Miller is launching its new and expanded Herman Miller Collection through a Pop Up Shop in the City. (A pop up shop, or flash retail site is temporary sales location, the concept of which was apparently transported to the US from Japan in the last decade.)
Creative Office Pavilion, with 200 employees in seven Northeast U.S. locations from Massachusetts to Maine, will move into the NYC market this summer, led by Patrick Hayes, an 18 year industry professional who, most recently, was the Knoll Miami sales manager. Mr Hayes, a native New Yorker, said he is looking for space in mid-town Manhattan. He has hired Kim Pinkerton as his VP of Operations; she was formerly with Spectum, a Philadelphia Herman Miller dealership.
“The New York market is a logical extension of our geographic reach and a terrific growth opportunity for COPsaid Joe Gardner, President, Creative Office Pavilion. “We’re also genuinely excited to have Patrick joining our team and leading COP’s New York presence.” COP is a member of Herman Miller’s Certified Dealer Network and has represented the global commercial furnishings leader since COP’s founding in 1986. “Adding another large metro New York dealer has been a strategic growth objective for Herman Miller for some time,“ said Paul Iles, Herman Miller’s Vice President of North America Distribution. It’s the largest marketplace in North America and we see the arrival of COP as completing and complementing the already strong Herman Miller dealer network in place. We are confident this creates immediate new growth potential.”
Existing NYC Herman Miller dealers are Tobron Office Furniture, WB Wood NYC, and Benhar Office Interiors.
On the second front, it seems that everyone wants a collection of fine design furniture and only Knoll competes with Herman Miller is the natural evolution of its brand and its products with a wealth of products in that category. Most of us are familiar with Herman Miller’s mid-century classics, notably products by the Eames, Nelson , Girard, Noguchi, Bennett, and Burdick generally marketed under the Herman Miller For The Home tag or by Geiger.
But now that contract furniture manufacturers see – or are pushing – a trend to make room for a more residential feel in parts of the workplace, and are generally able to obtain greater margins for this fine design products, the “collection” theme is gaining prominence.
a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirements for modern living.
Herman Miller has used a soft-marketing approach so far, for example, adding items last NeoCon, and mentioning the Collection in some of its investor information, but we will see next week the coming out through through the Pop Up Shop, opening on May 9, 2012 and continuing through July 1st. This three-week-plus display of the reconstituted Herman Miller Collection to the largest metro market in North America will be located at 68 Wooster Street (between Spring and Broome) in the heart of SoHo, with 6,000 sq.ft. feet of product display.
The shop marks the first public display of the renewed Herman Miller Collection, a comprehensive portfolio of products that can furnish complete environments – from the backyard to the boardroom – with solutions that serve commercial, home, and hospitality spaces. George Nelson created the first Herman Miller Collection in 1948 with the goal of "a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirements for modern living.” The Herman Miller Collection continues this theme following Mr. Nelson’s vision that the Collection would evolve as human behavior changed and new materials and manufacturing technologies emerged. Thus the Collection now embraces the blending of life and work, appreciation for contemporary design and mobile and ubiquitous technologies and provides new freedom of life and work styles.
The Herman Miller Pop Up Shop will have lifestyle vignettes, with a complementary schedule of design-related programming. Intended to serve as a showroom for the commercial architectural and interior design community, it will also be open to the public seven days a week, which we think is a very good idea. We always thought that Herman Miller Red was a great idea during the last decade, bringing many of Herman Miller products to a wider audience; but the timing was perhaps not quite right.
As previously indicated, The Herman Miller Collection portfolio combines existing and newly reintroduced iconic modern furniture pieces, as well as the contemporary work of some of today’s best known designers. It will comprise around 200 product families in its first year, with many showcased in the SoHo space, including several pieces previewed in advance of their retail availability this fall.
Store vignettes will represent both residential and commercial applications, providing solutions for casual office environments, executive offices, meeting rooms, dining rooms, living rooms and even outdoor environments.
Recent contemporary designs from Italian alliance partners Magis and Mattiazzi in the collection were introduced at NeoCon 2011, and include work of Konstantin Grcic, Jasper Morrison, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Steffano Giovannoni, Nitzan Cohen, Naoto Fukasawa, Marcel Wanders, Sam Hecht and Kim Collin. New designs by Ayse Birsel and Bibi Seck, Leon Ransmeier, Sam Hecht and Kim Collin are scheduled for introduction starting this summer.
The Herman Miller Collection is available now through Herman Miller’s commercial dealers and retailers (such as Design Within Reach) across North America, and via the company’s online store at www.hermanmiller.com. Global availability will follow in later 2012.
More information at Herman Miller's site.
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