June 11, 2010
According to Samir Balwani, “When you’re building an online presence, the most important aspect is your website. It’s your hub and your first impression.”
This week Herman Miller company Geiger International unveiled a new website, which better reflects the Geiger brand and includes an improved user experience. The goal for the website is to better connect with visitors by serving as a resource that provides more information about the company, its enduring designs, and environmental initiatives. It also includes new tools such as an enhanced search capability and image library that allows visitors to view product details and options—all in one place.
A manufacturer of high quality wood furnishings, Geiger carries a reputation for outstanding craftsmanship and has worked with notable designers such as Ward Bennett, Eric Chan, and Mark Goetz. The company was founded as Interiors International Limited in 1964 by John Geiger, a master cabinet maker, and in 1986 became Geiger International. In 1996 the company formed an alliance with Herman Miller and three years later Herman Miller acquired Geiger to better accommodate customer requests for high end, private office furnishings.
Geiger’s premium wood selections make its casegoods, freestanding furniture, and seating products a popular choice for those who prefer a mix of beauty and functionality. Capturing the exquisite finish details was a priority for the website design team. As a result, the website carefully utilizes white space and larger, representative images that highlight the company’s dedication to the care and treatment of wood.
A first impression only takes seconds to form and in this case it can impact future business. The new Geiger website addresses the importance of a purposeful brand presence and the needs of a design savvy audience. It will evolve and adapt as needs change and technology advances, but it’s off to a good start. That’s my impression.
June 9, 2010
Many individuals are in good health and can independently perform their activities of daily living. Unfortunately, this is not the case for over 14 million Americans who receive some form of long-term care. From 2000-2025, the 65-plus demographic will double and increase the demand for long-term care by 100 percent. The current elder care system leaves many elders’ needs unmet and as the demand for long-term care increases the problem will get worse.
Innovators already tackling this problem include the Business Innovation Factory and its Elder Experience Lab, a platform for creating partnerships and prototyping solutions to improve the elder experience, and The Green House Project, a nationwide project rethinking skilled nursing care environments.
This is a complex problem without a right answer, but we can become part of the solution. Ultimately, the goal is to increase elder well-being, which for elders means staying engaged, being connected, and having a sense of purpose. Contact your local AARP chapter to see how you can start improving the lives of elders in your community or think about the elders in your family and how you could improve their experience. A quick phone call telling them how much they mean to you is a good place to start!
Photo via: Business Innovation Factory
Design, What's Up
June 7, 2010
Paging through the May Bon Appetit, a seductive photo of a rich mélange called Galician Pork and Vegetable Stew stopped me cold. Mmmm. Leeks! A pound of kale! More meat than you should eat in a week!
I finally tore myself away and continued to page until I was stopped again—this time by an ad with an outline drawing of a classic Eames wire chair and the words “Pull Up Your Favorite Chair.” It’s part of a promotion for Architectural Digest’s AD Roundtable, an “online design community.” (AD and Bon Appetit are both Condé Nast publications.)
The site is designed to let roundtable members discuss design, express opinions, receive “exclusive offers,” and win prizes. But once you join, you find out, there are no discussions to join—at least so far. There are no surveys to be taken. No offers to accept. No prizes to be won. “Stay tuned,” it says.
To join, you’re asked to take a pretty long survey with some pretty personal questions. So that might turn a lot of people off. Still, once the site receives some attention from AD, it could be an interesting place to visit.
Products, Technology, Well-Being
June 4, 2010
A research summary published by Herman Miller ranks the option to position a computer in a suitable location as one of the most important attributes of a comfortable workspace.
I saw this need addressed during a recent visit to a trading floor located in New York’s World Financial Center. The Herman Miller company Colebrook Bosson Saunders supplied this particular floor with Wishbone monitor arms and posts that can support up to four monitors. Most people on a trading floor work with at least two screens, although many work from four and sometimes six.
The Wishbone monitor arm fits well in this environment because anyone can reconfigure it to support a variety of needs. In fact, the monitor arms on this trading floor are reconfigured up to three times a week.
Monitor arms also carry ergonomic benefits. They allow the technology to move with the user, while contributing to an ergonomic posture and reducing eyestrain.
Unfortunately, from 2008-2009, an estimated 9.3 million working days were lost to work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Having proper ergonomic support, however, creates safer, healthier environments that help to prevent these disorders.
Whether you work on a trading floor or in an office like mine, the appropriate technology support, such as a monitor arm, is a smart investment.
June 2, 2010
As a healthcare architect in private practice, I remember redoing the same space for a healthcare customer three times in three years. And it’s not because it was bad design! Initially, the need in the space was a doctor’s lounge; then medical records; finally, the space was converted into a cardiac care unit for the Emergency Department. Each time, the space was gutted and rebuilt!
Functional needs just change too fast for healthcare providers to effectively predict their future needs. As architects and designers, we must own this problem for our customers, not be a part of the problem. Designs must be planned to accommodate continuous change with minimal downtime and capital costs. We can no longer believe that our design statement is the perfect solution to a program since the program will likely change at some level—even prior to occupancy.
A five-year usage of a space is a long time; imagining 50 years is only wishful thinking. How we plan, design, and construct spaces that can change gracefully is the new basic requirement for sustainable design.