An eight hour day at a desk is much better when the sit bones are nestled into and the lumbar supported by a Herman Miller. The company has become a benchmark for workplace furniture. But Herman Miller’s reputation in cycling is obscure at best. So during this edition of the Amgen Tour of California, Herman Miller aims to raise their profile in the sport by literally going to the head of the race. The designer along with Rapha are issuing a series of cycling caps, one for each stage of California’s eight day race, plus one for the women’s stage.
The patterns are eye-catching and come from the Herman Miller archives. Each is a textile created by Alexander Girard, a designer who joined Herman Miller in the late 50s at the urging of his contemporary Charles Eames. Miller worked with a small team and took inspiration from his travels and exploration. Unlike his colleagues, Girard’s turnaround time was quick. He created over 300 originals textiles.
When Herman Miller and Rapha decided to team up for the “Stage Cap” project, they dug into Girard’s work for ideas. The Stage Two cap uses a pattern Girard created after seeing the Flags of the Palio di Siena horse race, in Italy.
Rapha handled manufacturing. The caps look collectors but are built to be used: 100 percent cotton, anti-bacterial lining, windproof and breathable. Under the bill of each cap is the stage number, start and finish towns and date. One size fits all. 30 dollars each.
The caps become available at the end of each stage: 150 at the finish line, 30 online and 30 in Rapha stores.
Herman Miller has some history in cycling. It has a small team in Michigan, where the company was founded, and it sponsors a race. We talked to their Executive Creative Director, Ben Watson, about expanding the Herman Miller design in the sport. The company known for making work chairs seems like a natural for finding some new ways to make the saddle a comfortable experience. Watson says he is trying to move the company beyond the office space, but bike design, beyond some special edition caps, is best left to the people who have experience improving the experience for cyclists.