Herman Miller

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The American office used to be rows of desks in a huge room with zero privacy.

All that changed when a Michigan-based company unintentionally invented the cubicle.

What led to the redesign of American offices?

We talk to Mark Schurman , of Herman Miller, to talk about how Michigan shaped the way offices across America look today.

Listen to full interview above.

Grand Rapids-based Steelcase, Holland based-Haworth and Zeeland-based Herman Miller are showing off new lines of chairs, collaborative office spaces, and home offices at the annual show for the office furniture industry show known as NeoCon.

Together, West Michigan’s ‘big three’ sell nearly $6 billion in office furniture a year; making up more than half of all sales in the country. Designers and suppliers from across the state are also involved in this year’s show - MLive.com/The Grand Rapids Press lists them all here.

Industry analyst Mike Dunlap has been going to NeoCon for 34 years. He sees new technologies like smart phones and tablets creeping even further into what would traditionally be considered furniture.

“All of the major manufactures now are beginning to change their thinking to putting technology into the furniture as opposed to putting it on it,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap says Haworth is getting lots of attention for its new product called Bluescape, which he calls “an Ipad on steroids.”