Industrial Designer Icon Creates Sumptuous Paper Sculptures

A wonderful interview from Herman Miller‘s Why Design series on Industrial Designer icon Irving Harper explains his passion for paper sculpting to relieve his stress…
As design director for the Nelson Office, Irving Harper was responsible for some of the most compelling and iconic designs of the twentieth century—-from the Marshmallow sofa, to the Ball clock, to the Herman Miller logo itself.


While working on the Chrysler Pavilion for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, he began making sculptures in his off hours to relieve stress. Some 50 years and roughly 500 pieces later, almost every surface of his Rye, New York home is besieged by evidence of his remarkable skill and creativity.


1. The Kangaroo chair | 2. the Marshmallow Sofa | 3. the Ball clock

Harper began paper sculpting in 1964 as a method of relieving stress while working on the impressive Chrysler Pavilion for the New York World’s Fair. Since then he has created about 500 pieces which fill almost every nook and cranny of his home. Watch the excellent video below (part of Herman Miller’s Why Design series) for more insight into this living legend.


About Why Design
At Herman Miller, design is the language we use to ask questions and seek answers to the problems our customers face. The design process is a journey into the unknown—or as George Nelson once quipped, “I have never met a designer who was retained to keep things the same as they were.” Before we decide what we do and how we do it, we like to begin by asking the question “Why?” In Why Design, a new video series, we explore the world through the eyes of our designers, and share something of why we value their point of view.

Posted in Art

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