Gabriel Tan Throws a Big Swing for Herman Miller

The Luva's head rest can be folded into a fist. Photos courtesy of Herman Miller


August 4, 2023

Herman Miller has partnered with designer Gabriel Tan to debut two new sets of furniture that will fit your home like a glove.

Industrial designer Gabriel, who splits his time between Porto, Portugal, and Singapore, is known for mixing East Asian styles with European forms, a fusion that reflects his own upbringing. Inspired by Herman Miller greats like Isamu Nogouchi and Charles Eames, Gabriel finds ways to twist biomorphic curves into stiff, mid-century modern aesthetics. Through Gabriel Tan Studio, he has brought this hybrid style to brands like B&B Italia, Design Within Reach, and Duxiana.

Gabriel adds the brand to his selective list of collaborators. Gabriel’s two new collections, the Luva modular sofa group and the Cyclade tables, merge references from Portuguese and Japanese cultures into fun, organic furniture.

The shape of Luva, Portuguese for the word “glove,” packs a punch. The sofa’s backrests and armrests were inspired by the shape of a boxing glove, and its wide form echoes the shikibuton, or Japanese futon. One of Luva’s most distinct features is its folding headrest, which curls like fingers wrapped in a fist, but instead of communicating aggression, the pillowy, plush pads are ready to gently embrace a tired body.

The Luva series includes an armchair, chaise, and detachable ottoman, which can be arranged in many ways. Each piece can be placed in its own area, or can be connected into a sectional with a discreet bar that is hidden underneath.

The Cyclade tables also embrace modular thinking. With Pangea as their inspiration, the tables can unite into one massive form, or break away to form their own continents. Pangea also happens to feel like another nod to Gabriel’s worldwide cultural background.

“When a design is successful, different people can read it in different ways. Depending on where you’re from, you can interpret and relate to these designs in a totally different way from somebody else across the world,” Gabriel said in a press release.

The tables, available in three heights, can be nested into a staggered arrangement. Getting them in different finishes, like white marble or black ash, will easily separate the forms and show off the unique, undulating curves, which are a direct reference to Noguchi. The largest and lowest table looks like a painter’s palette, but replaces the would-be thumb hole with a glass bowl suited for entertaining. Buyers can opt-out of the bowl and thread the highest Cyclade table through the lowest one, creating an interlocking sculpture.

Gabriel has worked with Herman Miller once before. His Aero shelving units, inspired by early airplanes, also make use of curved details and match the Cyclade Tables especially well.

“We’re thrilled with our partnership with Gabriel,” notes Ben Watson, president of Herman Miller. “Herman Miller takes pride in collaborating with the world’s best designers. Tan is a designer who is dedicated to preserving and elevating craftsmanship while creating dynamic furnishings that support the evolving needs of today’s customer, wherever they are.”

Pricing for the Luva ranges from the Single Chair (armless) at $2,695 to the Corner Sectional at $13,835. The Cyclade Tables range from $795 to $1,295.