Even the chill of a blustery November evening in New York City didn’t stop the local architecture and design community from venturing out across Manhattan to 251 Park Avenue South. That’s because one of the industry’s long-beloved brands, Herman Miller, opened the doors to its flagship store at this address, where the company’s commercial showroom and corporate offices are also located.
All photography by Nicholas Calcott
Hard to believe, but the brand that gave us dozens of midcentury-modern classics — think Eames lounge chairs, George Nelson lighting, Isamu Noguchi tables and Alexander Girard artwork — hadn’t opened a freestanding brick-and-mortar store until now. Instead, it sold select wares mainly through Design Within Reach, the furnishings retail chain it eventually purchased. With the opening of this two-level, 6,000-square-foot flagship, however, the public can now see the full breadth of Herman Miller offerings, both classic and new, in one place and in a cohesive fashion.
“In addition to growing the Design Within Reach studio footprint and our global e-commerce platform, having our own physical retail presence in a major US market will further cement Herman Miller’s position as a premium lifestyle brand with unrivaled multi-channel capabilities,” said the company’s CEO Brian Walker. “Our goal is to create fans, not customers, and this store will connect us with new fans in a tangible way.”
Guests of the opening night event, held on November 21, encountered eyefuls of iconic designs and more recent products such as the newly remastered Aeron task chair and Wireframe Sofa collection as well as personal accessories, decorative objects, textiles and collectors’ books from sister or like-minded brands such as Maharam and Phaidon. Everything is meticulously arranged in vignettes evoking all the different kinds of rooms and spaces found in a well-appointed — and welcoming — modern home.
After all, as the legendary Herman Miller partner Charles Eames once described, the role of the designer is that of a “very good, thoughtful host.”