The Cella chair is just one of a series of plastics-based products Zeeland, Mich.-based Herman Miller Inc. rolled out for the NeoCon office furniture show June 13-15 in Chicago.
The company reintroduced the Eames molded plastic armchair, an iconic seat first introduced by the firm in 1948.
First made of fiberglass, production of the curving design ended in the 1970s.
Now Vitra GmbH has a new version of the Eames chair, made of polypropylene. The Birsfelden, Switzerland-based manufacturer has added two colors - lime green and light blue - to go with the traditional palette of red, black and white.
Herman Miller is offering a $179 stackable Eames side chair, and a $379 armchair with a rocker base.
On the other end of the technology scale, Herman Miller worked with Sonare Technologies and design group Insight Product Development LLC of Chicago to create Babble, a machine that can electronically scramble voices to provide privacy in an open office setting.
While the bulk of the attention focused on Babble is because of the technology, the components also had to meet an aesthetic requirement worthy of Herman Miller, said Steve McPhilliamy, Insight's Chicago-based design director.
The interior working parts of Babble are in a PP housing, with laser-etched polycarbonate serving as the outer layer.
The multilayer construction is designed to mimic the Babble concept of a safe speaking zone within a larger room while also providing a functional housing, McPhilliamy said.
In keeping with Herman Miller's design-for-the-environment requirements, Babble can use recycled PP for its inner layer.
Using laser etching rather than printed labels on the exterior surface also helped the company make a product that is more recyclable, he said.
``Unlike much of what has been introduced as personal technology, I knew Babble couldn't just be another gray box,'' said Bill DeKruif, president of Chicago-based Sonare.
``We believe we've created an attractive addition to the personal work space.''