Sir Nicholas Grimshaw cements 40 year relationship with Herman Miller at opening of new site

By Anita Jaynes on November 11, 2015

Leading British architect, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, has opened a new UK manufacturing facility for furniture manufacturer and workplace pioneer Herman Miller.

Known as PortalMill, the new facility in Melksham is the third building Sir Nicholas has collaborated on with Herman Miller. His first project for the company was in 1975 when he was chosen by Max De Pree, son of founder DJ De Pree, who commissioned a custom built factory on the banks of the River Avon in Bath, Somerset when the US manufacturer expanded its UK operations. Described as an ‘Action Factory’ the innovative building with modular removable panels has recently received a Grade II listing in recognition of its place in industrial architecture. His second building, BlueBuilding, was completed in 1983 and enabled the company to further expand their operations and manufacturing capability.

Speaking at the opening, Sir Nicholas said: “Herman Miller and I both share a unified approach to design and the built environment, so it was a pleasure to work with this revered company again. There are similarities between this building and the original I designed in the 1970’s, with democracy of space key to the project and a social hub placed at the heart of the building.”

Sir Nicholas was joined at the opening by Herman Miller’s Chief Executive Officer Brian Walker.

Brian said: “I am delighted that I could be here today with Sir Nicholas to open Herman Miller’s newest manufacturing facility. PortalMill ensures that we can continue to deliver our award winning office furniture across the UK Europe and the Middle East, now and into the future. By bringing our wood processing, chair assembly, logistics, research and development and operations teams under one roof our staff can work together more closely to better serve our customers with faster, more efficient solutions.”

PortalMill represents Herman Miller’s ongoing commitment to UK manufacturing and will ensure a long term presence in the South West, while investing in the future growth of the business supported by a highly skilled workforce. In addition, the new facility will ensure that the company can better respond to customers’ needs whilst maintaining the innovative products and high quality that Herman Miller are known for.

Pictured above: Sir Nicholas Grimsham and Brian Walker at the opening of PortalMill. Below, an image of the new Hermann Miller building.

A 70,000 square foot (15,794 square meter) development that brings together the company’s regional research and development, manufacturing, and logistics operations into one state of the art building. And will also showcase the company’s unique approach to designing office work spaces. Designed by Grimshaw Architects.

A 70,000 square foot (15,794 square meter) development that brings together the company’s regional research and development, manufacturing, and logistics operations into one state of the art building. And will also showcase the company’s unique approach to designing office work spaces. Designed by Grimshaw Architects.