office furniture

Made In Michigan
2:34 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

How a Michigan company unintentionally invented the cubicle

Love it or leave it, the cubicle has its roots in Michigan.
Mark Sebastian Flickr

An interview with Mark Schurman of Herman Miller.

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.

Culture
11:35 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Michigan-raised furniture designer Charles Pollock dies in NY fire

Pollock executive chair.
Ruthie Hansen Flickr

NEW YORK (AP) - The Michigan-raised designer of the famous Pollock Executive Chair that became ubiquitous in offices in the mid-20th century has died in a fire at his New York City home. Charles Pollock was 83.

Police say Pollock was declared dead in his Queens home Tuesday morning.

Pollock was raised in the Detroit area and graduated from Detroit Cass Technical High School. He came to New York to attend the Pratt Institute.

He introduced his chair in 1963. Set on rolling wheels, the chair was visually distinctive with tufted upholstery and an aluminum band around its edges. In following decades, Pollock moved away from furniture design.

He returned to it recently. After being sought out by Jerry Helling of Bernhardt Design, Pollock created a lounge chair that debuted last year.

Business
6:24 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

CEO of office furniture giant Steelcase to retire in February 2014

Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett
Courtesy photo Steelcase

Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett announced to the company’s board of directors during an annual shareholder meeting Wednesday he’ll retire early next year. Hackett led the Grand Rapids-based company for 19 years.

“I couldn't be happier about what Steelcase has become and where we're headed,” Hackett said, “But it's time to provide opportunity to others, and time for me to pursue some other interests. While continuing to run the company with as much energy and excitement as I did when I took the role in 1994, I'll also ready myself for the next chapter in my life.”

Steelcase has been around for more than a hundred years. But over the last decade the recession and technology have forced all the big office furniture companies in West Michigan to adapt to major changes in how and where people work.

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Economy
8:19 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

West Michigan’s big three getting lots of attention at office furniture show in Chicago

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.”

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