You’ve probably heard the news about the Knoll + Miller merger. Last month Herman Miller and Knoll announced that they are forming one company. Boards of both companies have approved the transaction in which Herman Miller will acquire Knoll for a whopping $1.8 billion. The transaction is scheduled to complete later this year, by the end of the third business quarter.

George Nelson Bubble Lamps
George Nelson’s Bubble Lamps were designed for Herman Miller. Photo courtesy of Herman Miller.

A New Leader in Modern Design

What does the Knoll + Miller merger mean for the modern design lover? Well, the combined website about the business deal signals the vision: it’s called New Leader in Modern Design. Herman Miller President and CEO Andi Owen comments on what she anticipates the merger will offer: “In addition to driving value for Herman Miller and Knoll shareholders, dealers and customers will benefit from a broader combined portfolio that will deliver beauty, joy, efficiency and utility. The transaction will also create enhanced opportunities for employees across both organizations. Herman Miller and Knoll both have cultures guided by values that support problem-solving design, and doing well by doing good, and these shared beliefs will contribute to a smooth integration.”

Owen is also optimistic about what the combined companies can offer in our moment, a time that demands flexibility.

She comments, “As distributed working models become the new normal for companies, businesses are reimagining the office to foster collaboration, culture and focused work, while supporting a growing remote employee base. At the same time, consumers are making significant investments in their homes. With a broad portfolio, global footprint and advanced digital capabilities, we will be poised to meet our customers everywhere they live and work. Together, we will offer a deep portfolio of brands, technology, talent and innovation, to create meaningful growth opportunities in all areas of the combined business.”

Saarinen Womb Chair
Saarinen’s Womb Chair was designed for Knoll. Photo courtesy of Knoll.

Similarly, Knoll Chairman and CEO Andrew Cogan says, “Our clients, the design community and dealers will have access to an expanded, exceptional portfolio of brands through enhanced channels. And our associates will benefit as part of a larger and more diversified company with a shared design legacy.”

Both companies produced some of Mid Century Modern’s most iconic designs and worked with many of the movement’s biggest and most enduring names.

Saarinen pedestal tables from Knoll
Eero Saarinen designed his pedestal tables and Tulip chairs for Knoll. Photo courtesy of Knoll.

About Knoll

For many MCM fans, Knoll needs no introduction. The company bears the name of Hans and Florence Knoll. Hans founded the company in 1938. Florence, educated at Cranbrook alongside friends such as Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames. Florence designed furniture, commissioned designs from her talented friends, and headed the Planning Unit, in which Knoll offered customized office designs. After Hans’ sudden death in a car crash in 1955, Florence ran the company. The Knoll’s legacy and vision for high-quality design responsive to current needs continued, growing into an international modern design presence.

Eames lounge chair
Herman Miller acquired exclusive distribution rights to the iconic and innovative Eames Lounge Chair. Photo courtesy of Herman Miller.

About Herman Miller

Originally called the Star Furniture Company in 1905, the company was renamed to the Herman Miller Furniture Company in 1923, so-named for D.J. De Pree’s–the-then company president’s–father-in-law who bought the majority of the company’s shares at De Pree’s request. The company’s reputation for modern design really took off when George Nelson came on as a designer, and he then recruited Ray and Charles Eames into the Herman Miller stable of designers.

 

Read more about these iconic designers in the Knoll + Miller folds such as George Nakashima. And don’t miss an interview Atomic Ranch did with Herman Miller. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for more Mid Century Modern inspiration!