Alan Heller, BA ’65, Returns to The New School for ‘Technology First, Designer Second’

Since graduating from The New School in 1965, Alan Heller has built a reputation as one of the world’s leading furniture manufacturers.

He cultivated enormous success through his namesake brand, Heller Inc., working with the likes of Massimo & Lella Vignelli, Philippe Starck, Mario Bellini, Vico Magistretti, De Pas, D’Urbino & Lomazzi, and Frank Gehry.

Now, more than 50 years later, Heller is coming back to his alma mater to dish on his career in Alan Heller — Technology First, Designer Second, on Thursday, February 9, 6-8 p.m. at Parsons School of Design, 2 West 13th St., L1201 (The Sky Room).

In his talk, Heller will discuss the creation of Heller Inc. while describing his vision around integrity and authenticity and recounting developing products with a range of designers. Incorporated in 1971, Heller Inc.’s first product was a line of stacking dinnerware designed by Massimo Vignelli, who also designed his distinctive brand. Winner of a Compasso d’Oro award in Italy, it is included in the Museum of Modern Art permanent design collection.

Heller has created a simple paradigm: good design, industrial production and reasonable prices.