Steelcase, Inc. is celebrating a full century in the office furniture industry this month. The firm was started in March of 1912 under the name Metal Office Furniture, Co. The change to the shorter (and more memorable) Steelcase name came about in the 1950s. Surprisingly, this hugely successful company did not become a publicly traded entity until 1998 – a full 30 years after it was named the largest office furniture manufacturer on the planet. Throughout its history, Steelcase has focused on making history with new furniture concepts and environmental initiatives. In 1989, the company was recognized by the state of Michigan for restoring the prairie ecosystem around the Steelcase headquarters. Today, the manufacturer continues to expand its sustainability program worldwide.
New Website Launch Marks Centennial Celebration
In keeping with its tradition of innovation, the company is using “crowdsourcing” to generate ideas for the next 100 years as part of its birthday project. You can see concepts submitted by everyone from little kids to thought leaders at the 100.steelcase.com website. This is a full-blown multi-media extravaganza that will keep you clicking and clicking to see what’s next.
As you might expect, contributors each envision a future in which their own special skills and abilities play an important role. An artist believes the magic of storytelling will be crucial to everyday life and work, “I see a world full of magic and stories. Artists, technologists and storytellers will come together to engender empathy!”
A curator of architecture at the Museum of Modern Art sees design as central to the environments of the future, “In 100 years, design will therefore be at the center of things, a benign and necessary force in all facets of human experience and research, from politics and economics to science and the arts.”
It might sound like hubris, but perhaps a more accurate description is simply…hope! Don’t we all wish that our own lives and talents will be important in shaping the future?