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Gilbert Rohde Paldao Secretary Bookcase for Herman Miller


Gilbert Rohde large-scale bookcase with drop-front secretary desk and storage drawers in exotic burl paldao wood from his 1941 Paldao Collection for Herman Miller. Rohde's collaboration with Herman Miller (from 1932 until his death in 1944) is described as one of the most important and fruitful collaborations in the history of modern American furniture design. See: Phyllis Ross. Gilbert Rohde: Modern Design for Modern Living. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009 Fixed vertical Lucite dividers set within ebonized bookshelves. Book height allowance is ~12 inches. Recessed cubbies and slots for your desk accessories within the drop-front secretary cabinet. Two bottom drawers with bronze Minimalist pulls at base. Single hidden drawer immediately below drop-front. The writing surface is a black laminate. Possibly Micarta or Bakelite.


  • Date of manufacture
  • Period
  • Materials and techniques
  • Condition
    Excellent. Restored and polished and ready for your home. Writing surface shows some small divots from perhaps previous heavy use of a ball point pen. We can possibly have the writing surface re-laminated with Formica or covered with leather..
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions

    H 49 in. x W 60 in. x D 17 in.

    H 124.46 cm x W 152.4 cm x D 43.18 cm

  • Seller location
    Hingham, MA
  • Reference number

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About Herman Miller (Manufacturer)

No other business of its kind did more than the Herman Miller Furniture Company to introduce modern design into American homes. Working with legendary designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson and Alexander Girard, the Zeeland, Michigan-based firm fostered some of the boldest expressions of what we now call Mid-Century Modern style. In doing so, Herman Miller produced some of the most beautiful, iconic and, one can even say, noblest furniture of the past seven decades.

     Founded in 1923, Herman Miller was originally known for grand historicist bedroom suites: heavily ornamented wood furniture that appealed to a high-minded, wealthier clientele. The company—named for its chief financial backer—began to suffer in the early 1930s as the Great Depression hit, and D. J. De Pree, the company’s CEO, feared bankruptcy. In 1932, aid came in the form of Gilbert Rohde, a self-taught furniture designer who had traveled widely in Europe, absorbing details of the Art Deco movement and other modernist influences. After persuading De Pree that the growing middle-class required smaller, lighter household furnishings, Rohde set a new course for Herman Miller, creating sleek chairs, tables and cabinetry that were the essence of the Streamline Moderne style.

     Rohde died suddenly in 1944. The following year, De Pree turned to George Nelson, an architect who had written widely about modern furniture design. Under Nelson’s leadership, Herman Miller would embrace new technologies and materials and audacious biomorphic forms. Some of the pieces the company produced are now emblems of 20th century American design, including the Eames lounge chair and ottoman and Nelson’s Marshmallow sofa and Coconut chair. As you can see on these pages, such instantly recognizable furnishings have become timeless—staples of a modernist décor; striking, offbeat notes in traditional environments.

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