Designing for the Classroom: A History of Herman Miller, in Photos

For 40 years, the company responsible for the Eames chair and creating the office cubicle has been enhancing the learning experience

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Perhaps best known for the Eames Lounge Chair, which was released in 1956 after years of development by Charles and Ray Eames, Herman Miller is one of the first companies in the world to mass produce modern furniture. For nearly 90 years now, the company has put out an impressive line of recognizable products (from the Noguchi table to the Aeron chair) under a string of noted industrial designers, including George Nelson, one of the founders of American Modernism, who held the title of director of design at Herman Miller for more than 25 years.

Today -- and for the past 40 years -- many of the chairs, desks, and tables designed by Herman Miller are released through the company's education division, which unites research with manufacturing to produce unique products that are meant to enhance the learning experience. This division grew out of Robert Propst's Herman Miller Research Corporation, which was focused on the way people worked in the office in the early 1970s. "Consulting with behavioral psychologists, architects, mathematicians, and anthropologists, [Probst] quickly discovered the problem was larger and more exciting than the design of furniture," according to a background document products by Herman Miller for a design show held earlier this year. "Probst's research led him to the exploration of how students lived and learned on campus." And Herman Miller, thanks to partnerships with Emory University, Georgia Tech, and many others, has had a presence on college campuses all over the world ever since. Below, we present a history products released by Herman Miller's education division, in photos.


Images: Herman Miller.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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