Better World, Design, Products
March 15, 2010
Have you tried one of those online carbon footprint calculators yet? According to this one, my family of three is adding around 51 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year. But another online tool gauges my annual household emissions at 36,411 pounds (about 18 tons). Clearly, calculating carbon footprints is not yet an exact science.
That doesn’t stop our Design for the Environment (DfE) group from trying, though. They’re working to gather the information required to determine the carbon footprints of Herman Miller’s products. No easy task, given that most are made of multiple parts–the Aeron chair, for example has around 200–and you have to know the composition and manufacturing process of each (and how it’s shipped and where from) before you can factor in the energy used to assemble the chair and translate the result into carbon emissions.
In a recent interview with Metropolis magazine, DfE manager Gabe Wing, explains that the challenge is “finding a standardized way to determine carbon footprints. Right now there is no single standard.” Still, if it isn’t yet possible to measure carbon emissions exactly, Wing says, it is feasible to lower them by setting benchmarks for new product designs, choosing materials that have inherently low carbon footprints, and encouraging suppliers to use renewables in their own manufacturing processes.
March 12, 2010
John Berry believes West Michigan has what it takes to bounce back from its current economic woes: great designers and design resources. “Design is an integral part of our economy. And it’s time for all designers—interior, industrial, graphic, architectural, engineering, and so on—to join together to demonstrate our value and bring new work to regional companies,” says Berry, Executive Director of Design West Michigan, a collective group of professionals whose goal is to do just that.
A lot of other people agree with Berry and have partnered with the organization to help make it happen; its nearly 50 regional and national members and supporters include Herman Miller, Kendall College of Art and Design, the Upjohn Institute, and several economic development organizations.
As Peter Lawrence, founder of the Corporate Design Foundation, said recently, “West Michigan has all the right ingredients to make an impact. You have the design community, the in-house corporate designers and companies with an interest in design, and the design schools. And remember, the industrial design profession really began in the depression, when companies saw design as a way out of the abyss.”
Berry is excited about the possibilities. “This is the first time all the design disciplines have come together to solve a common problem: how to tap into that valuable, but intangible asset, design, to create innovative new opportunities for growth in our region.”
And he may be on to something. After all, isn’t solving problems what good design is all about?
March 10, 2010
The Envelop desk has received considerable attention for its versatility and unique ability to move with the user. But what’s the best application for such a cutting-edge design? That’s the question we posed to interior designers in the Envelop Design Challenge—a competition Herman Miller initiated last December. The answer? Anywhere and everywhere.
Given the versatility of the Envelop desk, it was no surprise when we received over forty entries displaying the desk in myriad ways—ranging from private offices to group work settings to classrooms. With all of the great designs, it was a challenge in itself to choose the winners.
After considerable deliberation, our team of designers selected four winners who displayed the most creativity with their use of Envelop. Our first place winner, Angela Glenn, placed Envelop in a beautiful work environment by incorporating Teneo storage furniture and Meridian filing and storage (above).
In contrast, our two second place winners, Christa Markey and Gretel Lott, stepped out of the office environment: Christa brought Envelop into a campus coffee shop…
And Gretel built the desk into an air traffic control room.
Our third place winner, Susan Weisenfeld, used one kit of parts for two different types of workstations; both centered on the Envelop desk.
Check out The Be Collection to learn more about our winners and see renderings of these unique applications.
Better World, Design, What's Up
March 8, 2010
Photo via: The Cool Hunter
New eco-treehouses are a far cry from the ramshackle tetanus hazards we cobbled together and fell out of when we were young. Still, today’s amazing treehouses touch the kid inside us, as well as the responsible adult.
The world’s first major public exhibition of green-design treehouses—“TreeLife” by The Cool Hunter—will unveil innovative and creative sustainable design coexisting with urban life. The Cool Hunter, a fun and hot culture/design website, says “Tree Life” will debut in a to-be-announced major city in 2010.
For the event, top international architects, artists, and designers are creating modern treehouses made from sustainable and recycled materials.
Photo via: The Cool Hunter
According to The Cool Hunter, “Treehouses have become creative eco-statements in the design world. They allow people to literally be ‘in’ nature and peace above the stressful street level of life.”
We’re on the lookout for further treehouse details. I can’t wait. Maybe I can climb up into one and sort my baseball cards on solid, recycled flooring.
Better World, Herman Miller Journal
March 5, 2010
You may think it’s for the exercise. There is that, since otherwise I wouldn’t do much all winter, me not being a skier or a health clubber.
It could be the scenery, because Michigan is a place of pure beauty. And that certainly plays into my decision; few things are more lovely than a winter sky or sun (when we see it) glinting off snow.
But, why I really ride for is the money or, more accurately, the chance to win it. Herman Miller believes in conserving the world’s gas and burning employees’ calories, so it does a monthly drawing for a $50 gift card. You log your miles biked each month (in my case 5 miles each way) to enter. There’s a similar drawing for carpoolers.
I’ve yet to win, but I keep on biking in the hope I will, which is good because I’ve spent my yet-to-be-realized gift card several times over on goggles, balaclava, and other gear.
Design, What's Up
March 3, 2010
Photo via: Flickr: KleineFenn
Travel + Leisure magazine handed out its 2010 Design Awards in the March issue. And whadya know, the Best Restaurant design is Nomiya in Paris—furnished with 12 Eames molded plastic side chairs. Only 12 because that’s the seating capacity. Reservations are a must for the communal-style dinner.
Photo via: Flickr: KleineFenn
Designed by Laurent and Pascal Grasso, Nomiya is a concept restaurant—to put it mildly. The dining room is a glass-paneled structure installed last year on top of the Palais de Tokyo museum (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris).
Nomiya is modeled after tiny Japanese restaurant/bars called izakayas, and the design suggests the inside of a glass box. The classic Eames chair, with its clean, sculpted form, is perfect for this work of modern art. And did you know the chair’s wire base was originally called the “Eiffel Tower” base?
Photo via: Nomiya Restaurant
Dinner is about 80 Euros. Not bad for such an incredible view and wonderful food.
Sounds great. But hurry. Nomiya is more than a restaurant. It’s also a museum installation, scheduled to be taken down July 1, 2010. That intrigued the Travel + Leisure judges, who call Nomiya “a meditation on permanence, transcience, and style.”
Before Nomiya, the Hotel Everland, a one-room traveling luxury suite, occupied the rooftop exhibition space. It went for 444 Euros a night, double occupancy, weekend rate. Sadly, it was Everland’s last stop before retirement.
Photo via: Hotel Everland
March 1, 2010
Of course Mark Goetz designs furniture that looks good and functions well, but to him, that’s not enough. He wants people to like his pieces, too. “You could live with a good solution and not really like it. Objects should be loved and wanted as well as provide a solution,” he says.
Over the course of his career, Goetz solutions have found their way into the headquarters of the Chicago Bulls, the Kennedy Center in Washington, and the president’s office at Harvard. He’s designed an extensive collection of chairs, casegoods, and tables for Bernhardt Design and others.
A daunting challenge for Goetz was to create a sofa for the Herman Miller for the Home collection that would complement its classic Eames, Noguchi, and Nelson pieces. The result is the Goetz sofa, a clean, unfussy design with a veneer shell and padded upholstery and pillows that is substantial enough to relax in or even to nap in. Goetz also created the Aside chair for Herman Miller.
Here are 7 questions for Mark Goetz: