Last Wednesday Herman Miller Inc. made an exciting announcement that they acquired the designer textile company, Maharam Fabric Corp.  Since 1902, Maharam has created interior textiles for commercial, healthcare, and residential interiors when founded by Russian immigrant Louis Maharam.  Four generations later, brothers Michael and Stephen Maharam are the company’s CEO and COO and optimistically speak of the new relationship with Herman Miller.

Michael Maharam stated,”Much as we’ve struggled with this decision, our philosophical kinship with Herman Miller helped make this difficult step a far easier one. Beyond our shared objectives in design leadership, we consider Herman Miller to be an esteemed organization intent on doing well by its staff, clientele and the community. We believe they have the complementary intellect and resources to ensure Maharam a bright future while valuing our spirit and ways, and permitting the continued evolution of our unique approach. Herman Miller’s potential to provide the wherewithal to pursue important new initiatives, as well as an established reach into both retail and international markets and the greatest possible strength of association, offers a powerful lever in achieving our design-centered strategic vision.”

Circles Fabric by Charles and Ray Eames

Herman Miller’s CEO, Brian Walker, is also excited about the acquisition and stated, “The combination of Herman Miller and Maharam is a natural and complementary union anchored in our shared values and built on years of business cooperation and personal friendship. Our respective and combined operational strengths and resources provide immediate, mutual strategic leverage.”

Maharam_Small_Dot_Pattern_by_Charles_and_Ray_Eames_1947_006_Document_Reverse

Dot Fabric by Charles and Ray Eames

The synergy between the furniture company and textile company is a natural one that will enable the two to thrive as one.  We’re thrilled for them both with this exciting opportunity. Here is to many years of creativity and success!

A little known material named Renuva could change way hunderds of things are made; from upholstery to airplane wings.  It is a soy based alternative to polyurethane (which is petroleum based) and could provide a path to how products could be better made in the future.

Stella.190

The New York Times recently ran a story about a yellow toy giraffe named Stella that is made from Renuva.  The giraffe was designed by Eric Phiffer of Phiffer Lab who was participating in Humanscale’s Faces in the Wild auction to benefit the World Wildlife Fund.  Phiffer teamed up with Renuva’s producer Dow to create the one kind giraffe Stella to be auctioned off.

Even though Stella is a one-off it does illustrate how soybean based polyurethane could be used in the future as a green replacement in product design.

”We realized we had a great technology in our hands, but it was not clear to us how to communicate this to people who specify materials ending up in finished goods — designers, architects and the like — as well as lay people, the ultimate consumers,” Umberto Torresan, Dow’s global marketing manager for polyurethanes told the New York Times. “Eric was ‘the last mile’ to the market we had been missing.”

plyprints-top

Designer Eric Pfeiffer had previously partnered with Columbia Harvest Products and the estate of the artist and designer Alexander Girard to create PLYprints.  The PLYprints were printed onto Columbia PureBond plywood which is made of formaldehyde-free adhesives.  The product functions not only as wall decor but as an example of practical application for greener materials and technologies marketed to consumers, designers, and manufacturers.

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