Herman Miller, Inc. Tuesday announced the opening of PortalMill, the global furniture manufacturer’s newest manufacturing facility in the United Kingdom. Located in Melksham, Wiltshire, the 170,000 sq.-ft. manufacturing and office space was designed by leading British architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, and signifies Herman Miller’s continued commitment to expanding the company’s global footprint.
“I’m delighted that I could be here today with Sir Nicholas to open Herman Miller’s newest manufacturing facility,” said Herman Miller President and CEO Brian Walker. “PortalMill will allow us to continue delivering our award winning office furniture across the UK, Europe, and the Middle East, while also positioning us for strategic growth across our product divisions and global markets.”
PortalMill brings 200 highly skilled employees from several areas of the operation together under one roof, including wood processing, chair assembly, logistics, and research and development. In keeping with Herman Miller’s Living Office approach, a variety of work spaces accommodates the different needs of each team and provides an open and flexible space allowing for greater collaboration between teams. The unique L-shaped layout, with a social/office space at the hub of the L, is designed to maximize the volume of space while greatly reducing the distance and travel time from one side of the building to another. The company envisions that the new facility will enable employees to streamline processes, devise more efficient solutions, and better respond to the needs of customers.
“Herman Miller and I share a unified approach to design and the built environment, so it was a pleasure to work with this revered company again,” said Sir Nicholas Grimshaw. “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.”
PortalMill is the third building Sir Nicholas has collaborated on with Herman Miller. His first project for the company was in 1975, when Max De Pree, son of company founder DJ De Pree, commissioned a custom built factory on the banks of the River Avon in Bath, Somerset to accommodate the US manufacturer’s expanding 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. Sir Nicholas’s second building for Herman Miller, dubbed BlueBuilding for its distinctively hued exterior, was completed in 1983 and enabled the company to further expand their operations and manufacturing capability.
PortalMill uses state of the art equipment and lean manufacturing processes, including Herman Miller’s proprietary Performance System and ISO 9000 accredited operations, and joins Herman Miller’s global manufacturing and assembly network in the United States, India, China, Brazil, and Mexico.