John Geiger's Interiors International Limited (IIL) began as a 2,000-square-foot custom shop with four craftsmen in Toronto, Ontario. Primarily fabricating architecturally designed office furnishings, the company's sales reached $50,000 (Canadian) in its first few years. IIL soon relocated to a 35,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and expanded to 35 craftsmen. While still producing custom wood furniture, the company began to develop a standard line of office furnishings.
The foundation for Geiger's contemporary case goods was an innovative system designed by Jan Kuypers in 1968. The Kuypers series was a comprehensive modular system of interrelated desks, tables, credenzas and storage units, which helped Geiger's sales grow to $500,000 (Canadian).
IIL moved to a 105,000-square-foot manufacturing facility designed by Stan Lind. The state-of-the-art space accommodated the fusing of technology and craftsmanship to an unprecedented degree, and signaled the company's shift to the industrial production line of fine wood furniture. During this time, sales revenues reached $10 million (Canadian), and the company was recognized with four prestigious awards: Product Design Awards from the Institute of Business Designers (currently known as IIDA) in 1975, 1976 and 1978, and the National Design Council Chairman's Award for Excellence in Design Management in 1976.
In 1981, IIL introduced Petri Furnishings and Petri CaseSystems, one of the first wood systems available. Designed by Manfred Petri, Petri Furnishings heralded the transition to modular, high-quality wood furniture that simulates custom millwork, with components that can be reconfigured based on evolving user needs. The following year, Manfred Petri became the Vice President of Design, serving in this position until 1990.
During this time, IIL received several design awards, including the Institute of Business Designers Product Design Award in 1982 and 1985, and the Corporate Design Magazine Product Design Award in 1984. Designer Bernd Munzebrock joined the team in 1982, and the Chicago showroom won the ASID Showroom Award the following year.
In 1983, IIL introduced Tinta, a progressive, high-end painted systems furniture collection. With radius corner door and drawer fronts and subtle reveals, Tinta was the first system to bring automotive-calibre painted finishes, including metallics, to mass-produced modular casegoods. During the early 80s, sales grew to more than $15 million (Canadian).
The company's name changed to Geiger International, Inc. to clearly identify its independent, private ownership. During this time, the furniture market suffered from a period of recession, and Geiger decided to diversify. Ward Bennett, known as the "Dean of Design" through the 70s and 80s, was commissioned to produce 20 chair and table designs. His unparalleled collection received international acclaim. The company was successful with other designs as well, winning the Institute of Business Designers Product Design Award in 1987, 1988 and 1991.
Geiger began its commitment to sustainability during the late 80s. First, the company became an industry leader in reducing VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions in 1988 with the development of a waterborne urethane. Not only was Geiger the first furniture company in North America to use this product, but also it reduced its emissions by 81 percent by 1995. Geiger's finishing system materials are also water-based, greatly reducing VOC levels.
Geiger also became sensitive to the materials used in its products, an awareness that continues today. Particleboard and medium density fiberboard used by Geiger meets the Composite Panel Association's Environmentally Preferred Product Specification (100% recycled or recovered fiber mixed with resin to bind the fibers together). The boards are also fully compliant with ANSI standards for product emissions.
All veneers are purchased from suppliers who practice sustainable forestry techniques, and approximately 60 to 80 percent of veneers used are domestically grown woods. The veneers are adhered to the substrate with water-based glues to minimize off-gassing. Geiger also engaged in new initiatives during this time, reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill by 86% in less than one year.
Also in the late 80s, Triuna was introduced, offering a series of high-end executive office and reception furniture with floating, knife-edge tops. Triuna was designed with lighter profiles to address shrinking private office environments. The line maintained a high craft aesthetic by including various fine woodcraft options, such as marquetry on desks and cabinet tops.
Brickel Associates, founded in 1964 and known for its exceptional design, detailing and quality standards for seating, was acquired by Geiger in 1993. For more than 20 years, Ward Bennett led the creative team, and the company also found success with designer Timothy deFiebre's Woven, Collegeville, Emile and La Brea chairs in the early 1990s. The Geiger Brickel partnership led to outstanding new seating and table products, as well as an expanded textile portfolio.
A strategic alliance was formed with Herman Miller, Inc., in which Geiger Brickel manufactured and marketed three Herman Miller product collections. This alliance encouraged Herman Miller sales and dealer organizations to specify Geiger Brickel products where appropriate, while providing one-stop shopping for corporate customers requiring mid-price wood case goods, seating or system furnishings.
During this time, Geiger Brickel worked with three prominent designers: Anthony Garrett, Brian Graham and David Allan Pesso. These talented individuals expanded the company's product offerings, while also garnering industry acclaim. Geiger Brickel was awarded one Design Journal Award for Design Excellence in 1997, two in 1998 and two IIDA Product Design Achievement Awards in 1999.
Four years after forming the alliance, Herman Miller acquired Geiger Brickel. The name was simplified to Geiger, and the company continued to design quality-conscious wood casegoods and seating.
Geiger introduced Settings, a revolutionary product designed by Jordan Goldstein, Ehren Gaag and Ken Baker, based on a simple framework of struts that support linear aluminum extrusions. In the same year, Geiger was awarded the Design Journal Best of Show Award for the Lumen Table System at the NeoCon World's Trade Fair. Geiger also earned the IIDA Southern California chapter's Acclaim Award for best new guest chair, David Allan Pesso's Quiver stack chair.
In 2003, Tablet casegoods, designed by architect and designer Robert Allen, was unveiled at NeoCon. Featuring a phenomenal array of colors, textures and materials, Tablet facilitated new ways of segmenting private and collaborative space, such as rolling, co-planer work surfaces. Tablet was awarded the prestigious Connecticut AIA Award for "Architecture as Encompassing Art," and the Southern California IIDA Acclaim Award for best new furniture system.
In collaboration with designer Timothy deFiebre, Ward Bennett Business Classics were reintroduced at NeoCon in 2004. Bennett's H-Frame Storage Unit won a Best of NeoCon Gold Award, and Geiger was honored with the IIDA Creative Excellence award for exhibit design. Two years later, Geiger was again recognized with a Best of NeoCon Silver Award for the Foray Chair, an ergonomic executive chair that combined Herman Miller's Harmonic tilt technology with Geiger's classic style.
Geiger introduces Caucus Tables, also designed by Robert Allen. Timeless and architectural, the Caucus aesthetic resonates in contemporary environments where design integrity and material continuity matter. As a work surface, Caucus facilitates productive sessions with elegant and discreet power, video, voice and data connections.
In 2008, Geiger continues to evolve and lead the industry with exciting new lounge seating and occasional table introductions. Created in separate collaborations with designers Eric Chan and Mark Goetz, the new offerings give designers a fresh vocabulary for creative expression while meeting the evolving performance needs of high-image lobby, office and reception areas. The designs extend the Geiger and Brickel legacies of classic design, matched with superior wood finishing and upholstery.
Also in 2008, Geiger added four auxiliary products to its successful Caucus table line, to introduce a complete Caucus Conferencing Suite. In addition to plinth and leg tables, the collection includes a media wall, credenza and lectern.
At NeoCon 2008, Geiger earned two Best of NeoCon Silver Awards: the first for Eric Chan's Lissome table and the second for Robert Allen's Caucus Conferencing Suite.
In 2009, the Millennial Collection was introduced, to address the shift in work style behaviors and office design priorities in multigenerational workplaces, influenced by the influx of Millennial-age workers. Consisting of Geiger Levels casegoods, designed by David Allan Pesso, and Peer tables, designed by ai3, the Collection provides furniture for more efficient private offices as well as collaborative meeting areas in modern offices.
Also in 2009, Geiger earned FSC Chain of Custody Certification at its primary manufacturing facility in Atlanta. The certification enables Geiger to use FSC-certified veneers and substrates to create certified versions of its casegoods and conference table products.
Geiger is guided by initiative Perfect Vision 2020, committing to a set of dramatic sustainability targets: zero landfill, zero hazardous waste, zero air and water emissions, LEED Silver construction and 100 percent green energy. Two of these goals are met in 2010: zero landfill and 100 percent green electrical energy.
Geiger adds to its portfolio with multiple platforms of new guest chairs and tables: 2 by 3 stool by AI3, A Line and Deft chairs and A Line tables by Khodi Feiz, Saya chair by 5D Studio, Full Twist chair by Mark Goetz, and Advocate and City Hall chairs by Brian Graham. A new plinth table base is added to the Caucus table collection, and a hospitality cart joins the Caucus Conferencing Suite.
Master cabinet-maker John Geiger founded Interiors International Limited, the predecessor of Geiger International, in Toronto in 1964.
John Geiger's children, Jonas and Petra, atop a Classic Series sofa.
Legendary designer Ward Bennett created a collection of chair and table designs for Geiger International in the 70s and 80s.
Geiger acquires renowned seating company Brickel Associates, long the creative home for designer Ward Bennett. Geiger is then known as Geiger Brickel for the next six years.
Geiger introduces Tablet casegoods, featuring rich materials including acrylics and rice papers, and a unique mobile runoff desk option.