Herman Miller Exclusive maker of the winner of the Norwegian National Museum’s competition chair design “Portrait”


The origins of the Portrait Chair began four years ago, as part of an open competition sponsored by Statsbygg (the National Property Council) and co-organized with the National Museum of Norway. The competition brief called for a welcoming and multifunctional chair to be used in the museum’s many public spaces, including all the galleries, the Great Hall, the Prints and Drawings study rooms, the restaurant and the Lounge café. The process began with an open preselection competition which attracted 26 applications. Of these, 10 finalists were shortlisted and their names were placed in sealed envelopes to avoid any bias. A jury chaired by a British designer Jasper morrison then worked to narrow the entries to a final winner. When the plans for the Portrait chair were finally selected, the remaining envelope opened up to reveal Andreas Engesvik as the chosen designer.

In the same way that a painted portrait aims to show the likeness, personality and even the mood of the subject, the Portrait chair was designed to embody the essence of Norway. “The chair is loaded with symbolic meaning,” says Denise Hagströmer, design historian and senior design curator at the National Museum of Art. “It has an official identity, because it was in fact commissioned by the nation, and it will be the chair present in the main public spaces of the museum. It will be the iconic design object of the Museum for Contemporary Norwegian Design Culture.

The shapes and lines of the Portrait chair relate to the shapes and lines of the seated human body, making the chair’s geometry naturally thoughtful and relaxing. In addition to the simple accents and natural materials that are common to contemporary Scandinavian design, Portrait’s sinuous lines and universal shapes give birth to the freer, more poetic aesthetic of the creator from its creator. Norway.

“I wanted it to be a generous and comfortable chair, but I think it’s also important, when working in a familiar typology, to differentiate the design,” says Engesvik. “The Portrait chair has a familiar shape (wooden seat and back with tubular steel) but has been carefully proportioned and visually softened.”

“Over the past two decades, Norwegian design has received increased international attention,” says Hagströmer. “It was a golden opportunity for the museum to build on this by promoting contemporary Norwegian design. The Portrait chair is sophisticated, taking into account the intended environment and manifests a historic design lineage at the same time as it is extremely contemporary. ”

Once the design is selected, the process then turned to selecting the company to manufacture the design. The open procurement process for producers was also carried out by Statsbygg (the National Property Council). “They concluded that Herman Miller’s century-old history and worldwide reputation stood out, as did Herman Miller’s keen understanding of the nature of this commission and the importance of collaboration with Statsbygg, the National Museum and Andreas Engesvik, “said Hagströmer. “Other aspects that stood out included Herman Miller’s competence, ability and attention to quality, research and development, as well as their technical and environmental management. “

“For me, as a furniture designer, it is a great recognition that an old and prestigious brand like Herman Miller will manufacture the Portrait chair,” says Engesvik. While this is Engesvik’s first project with the Herman Miller brand, it is far from his first with the company. Engesvik has worked with other brands of the MillerKnoll collective, including Danish design brand HAY and Scandinavian brand Muuto.

The Portrait chair is available for purchase now as an accent chair or armchair with several different finishes and upholstery options through Herman Miller. The museum plans to offer an exclusive finishing option for the chair in its gift shop. The starting sale price is US $ 630.00. Despite several setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Museum plans to open its doors in June 2022.

About the National Museum of Norway
The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design of Oslo, Norway is the largest art museum in the Nordic countries. In the new purpose-built museum, historical, modern and contemporary art, architecture and design will be presented in the same building in exhibitions of newly organized collections. The new National Museum will open the June 11, 2022.

About Herman Miller
Herman Miller is a globally recognized leader in the field of design. Since its inception in 1905, innovative, problem-solving designs and furniture have inspired the best of people. Herman Miller is guided by an enduring legacy of design, innovation and social well-being. In 2021, Herman Miller and Knoll created MillerKnoll, a collective of dynamic brands that come together to design the world we live in.

About MillerKnoll
MillerKnoll is a collective of dynamic brands that come together to design the world we live in. MillerKnoll features Herman Miller and Knoll, as well as Colebrook Bosson Saunders, DatesWeiser, Design Within Reach, Edelman Leather, Fully, Geiger, HAY, Holly hunting, KnollExtra, KnollStudio, KnollTextiles, Maars Living Walls, Maharam, Muuto, naughtone and Spinneybeck | FilzFelt. MillerKnoll is an unprecedented platform that is redefining modernity for the 21st century by building a more sustainable, fairer and more beautiful future for everyone.

SOURCE Herman Miller, Inc.

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