is an international office furniture company founded in 1912 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is located on the Grand River about 40 miles east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 774,160 and a combined statistical area, Grand...
— as The Metal Office Furniture Company
. The company at the time specialized in file cabinets and safe
A safe is a secure lockable box used for securing valuable objects against theft or damage. A safe is usually a hollow cuboid or cylinder, with one face removable or hinged to form a door. The body and door may be cast from metal or formed out of plastic through blow molding...
s. Today, the company sells products related to interior architecture, furniture and technology. In 1914 The Metal Office Furniture Company received its first patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....
for a steel waste basket. The steel waste basket was called the Victor fireproof waste basket, an innovative product for its time. In 1954 The Metal Office Furniture Company changed its name to Steelcase.
Steelcase had owned a majority stake in the design firm IDEO
IDEO is an international design and innovation consultancy founded in Palo Alto, California, United States with other locations in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Boston, London, Munich, Shanghai, and Singapore, as well as Mumbai, Seoul, and Tokyo. The company helps design products, services,...
since the 1980s and began divesting its shares in 2007 through a five-year management buy-back program.
The company was founded in 1912 as The Metal Office Furniture Company, specializing at first in file cabinets and safes, and changed its name to Steelcase in 1954. Today, its portfolio spans the three core elements of an office environment: architecture, furniture and technology products. Steelcase has been a publicly-held company since 1998, with a large portion of its stock held by members of three founding families, including the family of Peter M. Wege
In 1989, Steelcase opened its pyramid-shaped, seven-story, 575,000 square foot (other sources site the building as 663,671-sq.-ft) Corporate Development Center, after a five year gestation. The company touted the facility, located in Gaines Township
Gaines Charter Township is a charter township of Kent County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 20,112 at the 2000 census.The township is about 13 miles south of downtown Grand Rapids. It is directly south of the city of Kentwood. The Charter Township of Caledonia and Village of...
, as the most comprehensive research center for a national office-furniture manufacturer. The building featured testing laboratories, project team areas and a sound-proof room for measuring the noise created by furniture. The building was designed by the achitectural firm The WBDC Group of Grand Rapids at a construction cost of $111 million and featured 333,000 sq. ft. of office space, 242,000 sq. ft. of research and development space, a full-service cafeteria, data center, two-story photo studio, exercise and locker rooms, card-access security, on-site video surveillance and 1,014 parking spaces. In 2009, the company announced it would consolidate operations at the main headquarters location and that it would vacate and sell the Corporate Development Center.
In 1996, Steelcase was found at fault in a patent infringement
Patent infringement is the commission of a prohibited act with respect to a patented invention without permission from the patent holder. Permission may typically be granted in the form of a license. The definition of patent infringement may vary by jurisdiction, but it typically includes using or...
suit brought against
them by Haworth, Inc.
Haworth designs and manufactures adaptable workspaces, including raised floors, movable walls, systems furniture, seating, storage and wood casegoods. Family-owned and privately held, Haworth is headquartered in Holland, Michigan in the United States. Haworth serves markets in more than 120...
, another furniture company. Steelcase was ordered to pay $211.5 million in damages and interest.
In 2001, Steelcase’s wood furniture factory became the world’s first manufacturing plant to receive LEED
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design consists of a suite of rating systems for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighborhoods....
Certification for Environmental Excellence by the U.S. Green Building Council. Steelcase has the largest portfolio of products to receive McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry’s Cradle-to-Cradle certification for sustainable products.
In 2006 Steelcase received an MBDC Cradle to Cradle Certification for an entire powered workstation at the annual Green-build International Conference & Expo presented by the U.S. Green Building Council. The certification marked a first in the contract furniture industry[reference: http://www.steelcase.com/na/steelcase_answer_workstation_r_News.aspx?f=21532]
In March 2008 Steelcase announced a long-term financial commitment to a U.S. wind farm, including supporting the purchase of all the green power produced by the farm for at least the first five years of its operation. This was the first time a corporation has made an up-front commitment to purchase all of the renewable energy credits (RECs) from a U.S. wind farm in the financing stage. Experts believe that Steelcase's commitment to the wind farm will help pioneer new ways to reduce the United State's reliance on fossil fuels and shows how companies can leverage their environmental commitments to effect a massive change. http://www.streetinsider.com/Press+Releases/Steelcase+Inc.+Becomes+First+Renewable+Energy+Credit+Buyer+to+Sponsor+Commercial-Scale+Wind+Farm/3468722.html
June of 2010 marked the announcement of Steelcase using bio-based packaging material called EcoCradle™ developed by Evocative, a natural composite materials company. The material is made from agricultural byproducts such as cotton seed hulls and mushroom roots. Because the material is grown, it uses one-tenth of the energy to produce compared to traditional packaging. Steelcase's first product shipped using EcoCradle was Currency®, a ready-to-assemble laminate case good product.