Furniture is David Pesso’s passion and professional specialty. And with 18 patents and licenses for 300 designs, he’s left his thumbprint on the industry. Since 1989 he has worked from his New Studio office, now located in Boca Raton, Florida.
His work is clean and unfussy. “I focus on economies of scale, and my goal is to attain more with less,” he says. Case in point: the Celeste chair and the new Geiger Levels casegoods collection, which debuted at NeoCon in 2009. With a less-is-more aesthetic and attractively concealed outlets for every conceivable electronic gadget, Levels is meant to appeal to the mobile and tech-savvy Milennial generation.
Since he is clearly not risk-averse, when Pesso isn’t designing furniture from his home-based studio, he’s out climbing the “14ers” in Colorado or some other scary foolishness.
Restored in the early 1990s, the art deco masterpiece features furnishings and works designed not only by Eliel Saarinen, but also by his wife Loja, a textile artist, his son, Eero, and Cranbrook students and instructors, too.
Saarinen, Cranbrook’s first president, intentionally planned that the home be a complete work of art, where one room flows to the next. Every aspect of it works in harmony, from the patterns in the rugs to the details of the silverware. Even the bathrooms are perfectly symmetrical, with streamlined sinks where no faucets clutter the view.
Whether you are an architect, a designer, or someone who simply appreciates well-crafted, finely-made objects from an era long gone, you must put the Saarinen House on your top 10 list of places to see. (And while you’re there, take a look around; the Saarinen-designed campus is designated as a National Historic Landmark.) Photo via: Cranbrook Academy of Art
Imagine the many changes in hospitals and patient care over the 39 years that I have been a registered nurse! Equally remarkable are the changes I’ve observed and experienced in nursing leadership, evolving from being a director in the mid-1980’s to “moving to the C Suite” in the 21st century.
As a director of nursing in the 1980’s, my role was limited to scheduling staff, staying within budget, having policies and procedures consistent with regulatory requirements, and supervision and direction of my direct-report head nurses. My role evolved over the years into that of leader, as did the role of most nurses in administration.
Leadership, so well outlined by Max De Pree in Leadership is an Art, is about relationships. Broad in scope and content, it involves the use of inspiration and influence to achieve a common goal, or shared purpose.
In the 21st century, the nursing leader, frequently titled Chief Nursing Officer, or CNO, inspires and influences the culture of nursing and the quality of patient care in the organization or system. He/she manages a highly complex environment and has a broad scope of responsibility and accountability for patient care departments, clinical quality, and patient and staff satisfaction. According to the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), nurse leaders “design, facilitate, and manage care.”
Given the breadth and depth of their leadership skills, knowledge, and experience, nurse leaders are in the best possible position to inspire and influence the delivery of care across the full healthcare continuum—never forgetting that their most important relationships are with the patients and families they serve.
George Nelson, Herman Miller’s first director of design, always had the answer. He said, “Design is a response to social change.”
With urgent human challenges like climate, dwindling resources, growth, hunger, waste, poverty, and health—all on a global scale—Nelson’s celebrated quote is never more true than today. Why design now? Because more than ever, the design world needs to respond to change with solutions that are sustainable, practical, affordable, and safe. And we need solutions that inspire, raise questions, and help us move forward.
There are over 130 enlightening designs: from carbon-negative concrete made from a process similar to how corals make reefs (please, don’t ask me to explain), to self-adjustable eyeglasses (mass-made for the developing world), to the Viet Village organic urban farm near New Orleans. Go see it. These inspiring and exciting designs are helping to give people worldwide the means to improve the environment, improve their lives, and thrive.
That was Stephen Boyd’s response to the Herman Miller Education Solutions team’s question for college students: “Where Do You Learn Best?” Boyd was the first place winner of our first video contest encouraging students to capture on camera what makes an ideal location for learning. The contest was targeted toward full-time students attending 2-or 4-year U.S. colleges or universities.
Contest entries were accepted from January 22 through March 26, 2010. Representatives from the Herman Miller Education Solutions team selected three finalists who best represented creativity, originality, and appropriateness to the theme. Prizes were in the form of Visa gift cards: $2500 for first place; $1500 for second place; and $1000 for third place.
“We get that learning can happen anywhere,” says Jeff Vredevoogd, Herman Miller’s Director of Education Solutions. “This became clear in the student submissions. Each video shares a student’s story and captures where they learn best. Not only did they tell us where they learn best, they also told us why those places were their best places.”
Common themes that came out of the videos include the students’ desire for comfort, personalization, collaboration, and inspiration. Today’s students want options and they want the opportunity to make their own choices. So today’s campus must be able to respond.
Vredevoogd adds that the results will be of great interest to campus leadership as well as faculty and students. “This contest will promote discussion about the rapidly changing needs of students and how higher education facilities can respond to those needs,” he notes.
Our healthcare experts—many of whom are registered nurse managers with clinical and administrative experience—work to help our customers increase the quality and performance of healthcare facilities. They understand the complex relationships in healthcare delivery systems—from patient care to code compliance, from staff retention to construction planning. Together with our product offering, they translate their expertise into workable solutions.
The AONE conference was the perfect opportunity for Herman Miller Healthcare to help fulfill the vision of AONE: “Shaping the future of health care through innovative nursing leadership.” Our experts gleaned knowledge from the CEUs and networking opportunities, while our booth displayed a range of product solutions from our family of healthcare brands to help make the workplace better for nurses and facilitate patient care:
What do you get when you get when you tell students at Pratt Institute to immerse themselves in another culture and create products that demonstrate they understood what the experience was all about? Well, you get boxes that turn into chairs, ceramic wallets, kinetic toys—and a whole lot more.
It’s all part of a partnership with Herman Miller whereby industrial design students were charged with coming up with a theme, then executing their ideas in a competition. The prize? A booth at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), held in New York City May 15-18. The students’ theme “Empathy for Culture” and the resulting creations won them a place at the show.
Herman Miller lent some of its people, namely Fabienne Munch, Gary Smith, and Tim McLoughlin, to provide guidance to the students throughout the creative process.
“Empathy for culture is beyond feeling for others,” said Fabienne, Director of Ideation for Herman Miller. “It appeals to a peculiar understanding of a culture’s own dialectics: what’s visible, what’s invisible or taken for granted; what’s felt, what’s cognitive; what’s conscious, what’s unconscious; what’s symbolic, what’s ephemeral?”
“They helped us to not only focus on our concepts, but also made us realize that our ideas were valid as designers,” Sara McBeen, a graduate student at Pratt, said about the guidance provided by Herman Miller. “Each of us found our own way to stay true and honest to the messages we were trying to communicate with our pieces. These kinds of opportunities are invaluable in shaping where we will go from here.”
McBeen’s project, the Aata table, “reflects the coming together, socializing, and sharing so strongly exhibited in Middle Eastern culture,” which she chose to investigate after traveling there and “appreciating their generosity, goodness, and hospitality.”
“This project gave me a chance to experience design expression in its purest form by translating my passion for Buddhism and meditation into a physical manifestation,” said Ivey Lian, another Pratt grad student, who was inspired by 10 days she spent at a silent Buddhist meditation retreat in Thailand.
Her piece, the Enso Wall Light, was based on a Zen Buddhist symbol showing the moment when the mind is free to let the body and spirit create.
“Every day distances within the world are shrinking,” said Mark Goetz, the students’ instructor at Pratt, who initiated the partnership with Herman Miller. “Pratt, an international gathering place for talent, is uniquely suited to express these issues. The exhibit represents a sincere effort from our students to express a deeper understanding a respect for cultures different from our own.”
And what better way to prepare them for the global village they’ll be part of as industrial designers?
If you’ve ever meandered the paths in the rolling landscape around Herman Miller’s GreenHouse facility, you might not think you’re on the grounds of a manufacturing plant. But flowers and trees and critters are exactly what you’ll find surrounding the GreenHouse. Even the name of the building reminds you of the natural environment.
The bees in the apiary on the east end of the property pollinate this landscape and help it to blossom each spring and summer. (Learn more about Herman Miller’s honey bees in this video, “Sweeter Solution.”)
Facing north, truck trailers are framed by a hillside designed to be left wild.
Just over the rise is a pond where geese congregate and a pair of resident swans call home. This landscape—in all its wildness—is not the result of a neglectful, uncaring owner. Instead it’s an example of how Herman Miller incorporates our environmental policy to provide green spaces around each of our facilities.
I’m sure many of us drive to and from work, hardly noticing the beauty of our surroundings. Personally, I enjoy taking a closer look at the residents we share this space with: Songbirds, bees, dragonflies, butterflies, ducks, geese, and swans—just to name a few—call this space home. We pass these neighbors every day to enter our workplace, which sits in the middle of their outdoor habitat.
Even the grass at this facility is special. Instead of the usual manicured lawns that adorn most commercial building grounds, Herman Miller has chosen a variety of buffalo grass, which requires less water than other grasses, and very little mowing. Every few years, we conduct a controlled burn, which helps the grass thrive the same way it would in a wild environment.
For much of the year, all around the GreenHouse the grounds bloom with a variety of wildflowers and provide habitat for a multitude of creatures. It’s one way we help create a better world around us.
Today is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. It’s also the last day of National Nurses Week. It seems like an appropriate opportunity to highlight the dedication and hard work of the nursing profession.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a week shadowing nurses in a hospital emergency department (ED) as part of a pre- and post-occupancy study Herman Miller Healthcare is conducting to compare the hospital’s existing facility to a new space that will be ready later this year.
It was a privilege and a humbling experience to spend 50 hours with the ED nurses. I expected the nurses to be caring and professional to all patients but I did not fully appreciate the difficult and stressful conditions under which ED nurses must maintain their professionalism. The tremendous respect I have for them and other health professionals has only grown.
Everyone who came through the door was treated with equality and received the same quality of care, whether it was someone with a sore throat who should not have been in the ED, or a frequent visitor to the ED hoping for a few pain relievers, or a chest pain sufferer who needed immediate attention. Large or small, frivolous or urgent, everyone was respected and cared for. The nurses certainly were frustrated with patients or worn down by a busy day in the ED but I never saw this come out during an interaction with the patient.
Thanks to all the nurses for their dedication to their patients. And special thanks to the nurses that allowed me to spend time with them. Florence Nightingale would be proud.
A nice tribute by Steven Heller appeared in The New York Times’T Magazine this week, honoring Don Ervin, a graphic designer and sculptor who was killed this year at the age of 85.
Ervin was known for the ads he created for Herman Miller, such as this one showing silhouettes of our classic furniture surrounding our logo mark in the center.
In addition to the logos he designed for Conoco, Met Life, Transamerica, Cargill, Abbott Laboratories, and TRW, he also created the title and poster for the 1961 film “The Misfits.”
With a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in industrial design from Carnegie Mellon University, Ervin’s career focused on corporate identity—from packaging to signage. Over the years, he worked for Architectural Record magazine, George Nelson & Company, Lippincott & Margulies, Sandgren & Murtha, Tempo Ltd., and Siegel & Gale.
Heller notes: “What stands out in Ervin’s oeuvre, and should be included in graphic design history books, exhibitions and courses (where there is nary a mention), are the logos and trademarks he created, like the Abbott Laboratories ‘a,’ which Ervin said was derived from the serpent wrapped around the staff of Aesculapius, the traditional medical symbol; the four ‘Ms’ of Metropolitan Life Insurance, designed to give the ‘gray lady of insurance companies’ a contemporary look; and Transamerica’s flowing, bifurcated ‘T.’”
Ervin had the talent to make his clients stand out. We’ll miss him for his keen eye and good ideas in graphic design.