Herman Miller, Knoll, and Their Merger
If you’ve ever shopped for furniture, whether home, office, or even just worked in an office setting, you’ve likely heard of or engaged with Herman Miller and Knoll, Inc. products. As award-winning industry leaders, these American-born companies have been instrumental in the development of modern design and paramount in the rise of the now-prevalent resi-mercial design trend. Now, these two influential companies have joined forces, announcing their merger on July 19, 2021, and officially closed the deal at the end of this year’s third quarter. Herman Miller, who acquired Knoll, Inc. for $1.8 billion, later revealed that the merged company will move forward as MillerKnoll.
Separately, both companies presented a strong history of their own. Herman Miller is a pioneer furniture brand with roots more than 100 years deep, along the way collaborating with some of the world’s most outstanding designers and creating several classic and recognizable pieces in modern and industrial furniture and design. It doesn’t take a design professional to recognize the iconic Eames Lounge, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, or the spunky Nelson Marshmallow Sofa by George Nelson and Irving Harper. Over the years, Herman Miller became synonymous with ‘modern’, and today is acknowledged as a lead innovator in interior furnishings, healthcare design solutions, and related technology services. The history of Knoll, Inc. has also been hugely impressive, arising in 1938 and incorporating the works of several notable designers to produce influential works to the world, such as the Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe and the Tulip Chair by Eero Saarinen.
Not only were these companies compatible in the products they offer, but they aligned in their business values as well; they both valued their commitment to design, innovation, operational excellence, sustainability, and social good. This provided a strong foundation for MillerKnoll as it moves forward implementing a new business model and focusing on strong brand ownership. Now that the transaction has closed, MillerKnoll strives to be truly inclusive, designing for all and caring for the planet. “With a broader portfolio, scaled footprint, and advanced digital capabilities, we will be poised to meet our customers where they live and work,” says President and CEO of Herman Miller Andi Owen. Part of this effort is achieved by combining the legacy brands previously housed separately under Herman Miller Group and Knoll, Inc. With the merging of these two companies comes the merging of their legacy brands, now all nesting under the single umbrella of MillerKnoll, providing an extensive yet complementary collection of brands to further serve the needs of consumers.
MillerKnoll is now one of the largest and most influential modern design companies in the world. As such, they’ve set forth a plan to build on their strength to meet the objectives the company set out to achieve with this merger:
Use their combined portfolio of brands to expedite the evolution of spaces and design
Meet the highest level of excellence in manufacturing, customer services, and user experience by supporting and building upon their existing Contract and Retail groups while pushing for business innovation
Produce internal teams that functionally serve the company globally to enhance efficiency in business operations
Strategically expand upon the company’s domestic and global footprint to increase growth and profitability while maintaining strong brand ownership
As designers, we look forward to seeing what this powerhouse of a company will do next. With a foundation built upon innovation, quality, and excellence, it’s no doubt MillerKnoll will be a brand to watch!