On November 14th-15th, junior and senior students visited both Haworth and Steelcase Headquarters as well as the Meyer May house in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On the first day of the trip, students went to the Haworth Headquarters where their staff organized events for students for the entire afternoon. The day began with lunch at noon followed by a tour of the facility. Afterward, eight Haworth staff members gave presentations on variety topics including trends and culture in the workplace, new product development, and new technology such as Bluescape that they are introducing into their product line. The day concluded with a time for students to ask questions and gather informational material about Haworth’s products.

The following day, students visited Steelcase Headquarters where five Steelcase staff members hosted various events throughout the day for the students such as a tour of Steelcase’s University facility.  Here, the students viewed display vignettes of many of their new products. Students had the opportunity to see a variety of the furniture lines that Steelcase offers including Nurture and LearnLab. After the tour, Steelcase staff took students to their neighboring Global Headquarters facility where. Students viewed the unique and flexible work environments that Steelcase provides for their employees.

For the last portion of the trip, students visited the Meyer May house owned and renovated by Steelcase in 1985. The Meyer May house is a Frank Lloyd Wright house commissioned by Meyer May, a prominent Grand Rapids clothier, in 1908. Upon arrival, students watched a video about the renovation process that took place to return the Meyer May house to its original 1909 state. This was followed by a full tour of the house with a docent who noted many of Wright’s unique design features throughout the space.

Students found this trip to be a beneficial experience in understanding the design process and products of both Haworth and Steelcase. The presentations by both companies highlighted the strengths that each bring to their industry and provided students with valuable information they can use in their projects. After speaking with the local representatives from each company, our program is looking to make this an annual trip for students.