How to Snap Up Herman Miller Vintage Designs

Herman Miller Vintage - George Nelson and Associates Home Office Desk

George Nelson and Associates Home office desk (1946). Photos courtesy Herman Miller and Wright.


September 20, 2023

Herman Miller, purveyor of the most coveted mid-century modern desk chair, is turning 100. To celebrate, they’ve rounded up some of their rarest creations to form a 100-piece capsule collection, Herman Miller Vintage.

Auction house Wright, which has handled everything from Noguchi’s paper-thin lamp sculptures to KAWS’ grumpy vinyl figurines, is hosting the Herman Miller sale. They have rigorously sourced and authenticated one of a kind pieces with custom upholstery, unique patinas, and personal commissions.

Herman Miller Vintage - Charles and Ray Eames Special Order 670 and 671

No Herman Miller collection is complete without an Eames Lounge Chair. This Special-order 670 lounge chair and 671 ottoman were made around 1964.

“Our rich history and leading role in 20th century design has yielded an extraordinary body of work that inspires a unique sense of connection, desire, and joy across generations,” says Ben Watson, Herman Miller’s Chief Creative and Product Officer. “This partnership with Wright celebrates the timelessness and craft that are innate to every Herman Miller product and offers a new channel for those who are passionate about sustainability and preservation.”

Some of the highlights include a pair of Charles and Ray Eames Time Life Stools (1960), a sculptural piece of solid walnut. Carved on a lathe, the symmetrical design evokes a chess piece, the pawn, encoding sophistication in its structure. Though labeled stools, Eames actually intended it to be used as a table. It could hold your most prized chess set.

Herman Miller Vintage - George Nelson and Associates Coconut Chair and Ottoman

The Coconut Chair and matching ottoman (1956) in a rare plum shade. George Nelson and Associates

There’s also a number of pieces from George Nelson and Associates. George worked with Herman Miller for over 25 years, bringing his architectural background and geometric signatures to the company. Wright has found one of his Coconut Chairs (1956), a deep set triangular chair that looks like the curved shell of the tropical fruit, in a rare plum color. It is complete with its bean-like ottoman. Another piece that stands out is the Home Office Desk (1946). Its boxy, combed oak form flares out from a trapezoidal chrome-plated steel frame. On the desk’s surface, a nearly hidden lid flips open to reveal an organizing drawer with five shelves and a sliding pen tray, keeping all your coveted documents safe.

If your home doesn’t need any more furniture, there are some quirky pieces that will still make you the proud owner of a Herman Miller. The Marilyn Neuhart Doll (1961) is a devilish red figure with a bushy, cobalt blue beard. It was hand-sewn for Herman Miller’s Textiles and Objects shop in New York, which was curated by Alexander Girard. Marilyn’s dolls have mostly ended up in the hands of private collectors, so this is a rare chance to bring one home.

The Herman Miller Vintage capsule collection launched on September 20. Prices range between $500 to $10,000. Some pieces can be viewed at Herman Miller locations in New York and Los Angeles, and at Wright Chicago.

Herman Miller Vintage - Steelframe desk, model 4111 and DAX

A genuine Herman Miller Steelframe desk, model 4111 and DAX chair. 1960.

Herman Miller Vintage - George Nelson and Associates CSS 1959

George Nelson and Associates CSS (Comprehensive Shelving System). 1959

Herman Miller Vintage - George Nelson and Associates Steelframe Cabinets

Bright red Steelframe cabinets from George Nelson & Associates. Model 4012, pair c. 1960

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