Join us at deSalle Auditorium on Thursday, April 4 at 6pm, for this year’s annual Knoll Lecture in Design, A Conversation with John Edelman: The Culture and Business of Design. The lecture is free and open to the public. Cranbrook Art Museum’s galleries are also free and open late on Thursdays. Please arrive early to see their current exhibitions before the lecture.

Edelman has a long legacy in the world of design, currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Heller, which he purchased in 2022. He also currently serves as the Executive Chairman of Crypton Fabrics and sits on the Board of Directors of Chilewich.

He launched his career at Edelman Leather, where he spent 14 years, including six as President and Chief Executive Officer. Along with longtime friend and collaborator, John McPhee, they transformed the company into a global trademark by expanding into the luxury lifestyle categories of private aviation, hospitality, and corporate and residential interiors. In 2007, Edelman Leather was sold to Knoll, Inc.

In 2010, Edelman purchased Design Within Reach with McPhee, and revitalized the company through retraining, improved industry relationships, adding trade and contract divisions, and expanding the product development sector. In 2014, the company was purchased by Herman Miller Consumer Group, and Edelman stayed on as Chief Executive Officer of both companies until 2019.

Edelman has served on the Board of Trustees of Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, the Board of Design Leadership Network, the Be Original Americas Board of Directors, and most recently, the Board of the New York School of Interior Design.

He also received an honorary doctorate and the Larry Kravet Design Industry Leadership Award from the New York School of Interior Design.

The Knoll Lecture in Design at Cranbrook was established in 2004 by Knoll, the residential furnishings company founded by Cranbrook Academy of Art student Florence Schust and her husband Hans Knoll. Each year, the endowed Knoll Lecture Fund brings to the Cranbrook campus the world’s most distinguished and innovative designers and thinkers to speak about their practice and to work with tomorrow’s design leaders studying at the Academy. Past speakers have included Jonathan Olivares, Steven Haulenbeek, Aldo Bakker, Martino Gamper, Bertjan Pot, Lindsey Adelman, Stefano Caggiano and many others.

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