Up in Michigan: three Midwest furniture makers conceive the offices of the future

In one way at least, the future of office design most closely resembles its past. For over a century, designers, carpenters, engineers, graphic designers and at least one sculptor, based in factories and studios in and around the otherwise perfectly unremarkable city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, have devised, produced and exported the environment in which many of us spend our daily lives. First they proselytised in Chicago, then throughout the US, before heading overseas. So successfully have they done this that in 2014, the three Michigan office furniture giants, HaworthHerman Miller and Steelcase, had combined sales of almost $6.7bn in 26 countries.