Encouraging the Next Generation of Designers

Chair and Chair Model

The 2018 winning prototype next to the full-scale model built by winner, Molly Morgan, and the Nemschoff
Research and Design Team.

One fall morning a Nemschoff team member was on a college visit with his daughter to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. On the campus, he noticed a display of prototype chairs lining the halls created by design students. Given Nemschoff’s expertise in seating and product design, the employee simply asked how the company could help.

Today, Nemschoff sponsors a chair design competition in partnership with the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, benefiting students from their School of Architecture and Urban Planning.


design students

Each year since, freshmen entering the Engineering program take a Basic Design Encouraging the Next Generation of Designers course which requires them to design and construct a chair. When this project is assigned, a representative from Nemschoff’s Research & Development Team visits the class to provide insight and tips on seating design. Herman Miller Cares also sponsors a class trip to the Herman Miler showroom in Chicago, Illinois where students spend the day gaining inspiration and studying Herman Miller’s design tenants.

Following the visit, the class begins designing prototypes and creating marketing plans for their chairs. Once all prototypes are built, the class narrows it down to the top three designs, and the winner is invited to Nemschoff to produce his/her prototype to scale with the help of their Research & Development Team.

To further the diverse design talent funnel and promote innovative product design, Herman Miller Cares helps Nemschoff provide scholarships for the top three designers, encouraging their continued interest in and love for the design field.

If you’d like to learn more about how Herman Miller is designing a better world around you, visit the Community Service section on hermanmiller.com.

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