In the 1920s Herbst was dubbed “l’ homme d’acier” or ” man of steel”. Herbst was indeed a pioneer in the use of steel in furniture. More generally, he was an ardent advocate for the “democratisation” of design and hence of industrial production of furniture. Herbst’s early experiences were in London, the in Russia and Italy. In 1921 he participated for the first time in the Salon d’Automne. In 1924 he presented a dining room suite in mahogany with bas-relief decorations to the Salon des Artistes décorateurs. The following year he made his first nickel-plated tubular-steel furniture. In 1930 he was among the founders of Union des Artistes Modernes. His design include furnishings for Begum Agha Khan.