On Display

A Sampling of Graphic Works from the Herman Miller Archives

August 1  — October 16, 2019

Herman Miller was founded in the small Midwest town of Zeeland, Michigan and started out manufacturing antique reproduction furniture. At the height of the Great Depression, the company stared down bankruptcy, but was saved by an industrial designer from New York City named Gilbert Rohde who convinced founder D.J. De Pree to instead manufacture modern furniture for the masses.  George Nelson eventually succeeded Rohde as Design Director of Herman Miller, and ultimately lead the way to defining mid-century modern design in America.

This era included collaborations with some of the greatest designers of our time – Charles and Ray Eames, Irving Harper, Seymour Chwast, Tomoko Miho, Alexander Girard, and Deborah Sussman. Fortunately, the company preserved not only the furniture and products but also the promotional materials. Today this immense archive is overseen by Amy Auscherman. The collection provides a glimpse into the history of modern design and tells Herman Miller’s 100 year story.

Special thanks to Herman Miller


Exhibition Opening Party

August 1, 2019 — 5–9pm

Join us for the opening of On Display during First Thursday Art Walk and the opening night of the Seattle Art Fair!

A Way of Living: A free lecture by Amy Auscherman

August 16, 2019 — 6:30–9pm

Herman Miller archivist, Amy Auscherman, will speak about managing a collection spanning Herman Miller’s 100 year history and the company’s role in helping to define mid-century modernism through their collaborations with some of the greatest designers of our time, including Charles and Ray Eames, Irving Harper, Isamu Noguchi, Tomoko Miho, Alexander Girard, and Deborah Sussman.  The lecture will be followed by a conversation between Amy and Llisa Demetrios, Registrar of the Eames Collection and Granddaughter of Charles & Ray Eames. Books will be on sale through Fruitsuper Design following the event.

This event is in collaboration with Herman Miller and Civilization.

Tickets available August 1st at Noon.

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We can, and I firmly believe we should, preserve evidence of the past, not as a pattern for sentimental imitation, but as nourishment for the creative spirit of the present, so that we too may evolve customs and shape objects of equivalent value in our own way, in our own time, taking advantage of the many new methods and materials at our disposal. Alexander Girard