Mark Goetz knows that people feel close to their furniture. So his goal is to design furniture that fits into people’s lives as well as it fits the human body. “I want you to feel my designs are yours, like your favorite things in your home,” Mark says. “I don’t just want to design pieces you respect, I want to design objects you love.”
Mark began designing objects to be loved as a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. During his years at Pratt, he was strongly impacted by hearing George Nelson and later Isamu Noguchi lecture. He also met Ray Eames, who participated in a review his work. “Getting to meet these design masters in person fueled my excitement for the future,” Mark recalls. “It also taught me that humility is essential for a lifetime of learning.”
After graduation, Mark was hired by a number of respected New York design firms, with whom he worked on a range of projects, including consumer products and exhibits for the American Museum of Natural history. Later, at age 24, he started his own design firm. And while he enjoyed creating children’s products for Marimekko, tote bags for Le Sportsac, and crystal for Steuben, his true passion has always been for furniture.
Over the course of his career, Mark has designed a desk used by a former U.S. President, lounge chairs used for interviews on NBC’s “Today,” and the seating for the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington DC. His contributions to the Herman Miller Collection include the Goetz Sofa, which was designed to elegantly stand alone or beautifully complement some of the classic home and office products that define 20th-century design. “If I was again sitting in a room with Nelson, Noguchi, or Eames, I would still be listening rather than talking,” Mark says. “My favorite experiences come when I am learning. When designing the sofa, I took on that role, trying to understand the qualities of the Collection that make it so wonderful. I wanted to create something that respectfully adds to it." More recent contributions to the Collection include the Full Twist Chair, which Mark designed for Geiger, a Herman Miller Company.
While the products Mark has designed demonstrate his range as a designer, they embody similar themes. “I try to give my pieces a reserved, quiet expression so they’re appropriate in a variety of environments,” he says, “but I also try to make interesting forms that people really respond to—original and inspiring.” Above all, he says, “I want people to feel comfortable with my work, so they feel it’s created especially for them.”