Grand Rapids - The Furniture City
GRAND RAPIDS- The Furniture City
Grand Rapids, Michigan is an important part of furniture and design history. Important brands were produced in West Michigan back in the day- Herman Miller, Widdicomb, Calvin, Johnson Furniture, Baker Furniture, and more. There were famous and influential furniture designers living in Grand Rapids during certain periods, who are known worldwide for their impact on mid-century design.
Imagine that George Nelson, Ray and Charles Eames, Renzo Rutili, Isamu Noguchi, George Nakashima, Bert England, Osvaldo Borsani, and more visited the West Michigan furniture companies that were producing their designs. Nakashima was said to have personally picked out the veneers for his production pieces made by Widdicomb!
Our own building, pictured here, was home to both Imperial Furniture and Bergsma Brothers. The Imperial name can still be seen on parts of the building's exterior. Imperial laid claim to inventing the “coffee table” after its founder helped his wife prepare for a party by lowering the legs on a table. After Imperial's time, Bergsma Brothers produced furniture and cabinetry on contract for other companies, including the Calvin line of furniture designed by Paul McCobb, as well as stereo speaker cabinets for McIntosh, case clocks for Hamilton, and organ cabinets for Lowrey Organ Cabinets. Let's just say that our building has great furniture energy!