The History of HermanMiller and Knoll
Innovation has made Herman Miller and Knoll industry leaders throughout their history. Together as MillerKnoll's anchor brands, they are even better positioned to anticipate the future through problem-solving design.
It’s safe to say that without the influence of Herman Miller and Knoll’s long history of innovation, the design industry would not be what it is today. Together, Herman Miller and Knoll have more than 400 active utility and design patents in the U.S. and many more worldwide. And the proof is in the results.
Their investment in design and innovation has resulted in the highest possible awards in their field. Of the19 brands, over 100 are represented in MoMA’s permanent collection. The designs are represented in over 40 museum collections worldwide. And MillerKnoll has been honored with three National Design Awards, as well as several others for the notable designers they have collaborated with over the years.
The reason for Herman Miller’s existence has always been human-centered design, which is reflected in products like the Aeron Chair. Designers Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick set out to create a chair that was health-enhancing, performance-enhancing, inclusive and environmentally conscious. They came up with a design unlike anything the world had seen before, offering a comfortable solution without the usual use of foam, fabric or leather. Aeron was a groundbreaking step in ergonomics and material innovation.
Knoll’s planning department pioneered the way architects and interior designers put furniture in spaces. It began in 1946 as an interior planning service working on projects for some of the largest companies in America. The Planning Unit quickly became known for “revolutionizing” the American business environment with its unique, detail-oriented approach. Over the years, the Knoll Planning Unit designed interiors for the entire programmatic spectrum, from individual residences to restaurants to large corporate offices. In this way, the department redefined the conventions of 20th-century office design and solidified Knoll’s role not just as a company selling individual pieces of furniture, but as a highly respected provider of space.