Design, What's Up
September 29, 2010
The Henry Ford Museum has a wonderful new website called OnInnovation, where some of today’s (and yesterday’s) great minds “think out loud” and talk about their work—and breakthroughs—in on-camera interviews. These are people, says the site, “who have challenged the limits of what’s possible, developed bold solutions to big problems, and transformed the world.”
Included are designers Don Chadwick and Bill McDonough, architect Toshiko Mori and automotive designer Carroll Shelby, as well as numerous others in various fields, who all have fascinating things to say.
Chadwick, for example, talks about how he and Bill Stumpf, co-creators of Herman Miller’s Aeron chair, had a lot of common interests that influenced their work, like toy collecting and jazz. He explains how they came up with the idea for the chair’s suspended elastic fabric by studying woven cane, “the idea of something that’s porous and breathable and stretched…”
He also tells us that the Equa chair was actually a by product of a larger project they had been working on for Herman Miller: Designing the “Office of the Future.”
It’s all great stuff, so sometime when you’re looking for inspiration—or maybe just needing a break—have a listen to what some real innovators have to say.
Video via OnInnovation.com
Design, What's Up
September 27, 2010
Did you know that we figured out a way to get a man to the moon before inventing a suitcase with wheels? Have you ever been to Disneyland and noticed the typeface of the engravings on its storm drains? Have you taken the time to really consider what kind of swamp you are living in today?
Neither did I until attending the 2010 CUSP Conference at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Sponsored by Herman Miller for the third year in a row, CUSP explores the design of everything. Unusual and intriguing questions like the ones above are common.
The conference hosts professionals and presenters from all walks of life—designers, marketers, social entrepreneurs, and a hip hop artist who translates Darwin’s “Origin of Species” into the poetic art form of gangster rap.
People from all over the country come to absorb these unique insights for inspiration and the inside track on what’s coming next. It’s this convergence of diverse perspectives that makes CUSP so beneficial to those who attend.
September 27, 2010
Thanks to an idea from our Presence Marketing team, the volunteers working at The Hub during ArtPrize are wearing the latest in eco fashion. If you look closely at their aprons, you’ll see that we created them from the same fabrics we use on our chairs.
In a quandary about what to do with extra fabric from our Greenhouse seating production facility, the team decided to literally put it to work.
With the design and sewing expertise of the Greenhouse cutting department, more than 100 volunteer aprons now are a part of our sponsored space at The Hub.
It’s a project that required the help of several people, including Jill Woods who works at the Greenhouse. Adds Jill: “I was thrilled to be one of the links in this effort to connect the community, the workplace, and people in a collaboration that ultimately will be enjoyed by thousands of visitors during ArtPrize.”
Better World, Design
September 24, 2010
By day we’re Herman Miller employees. By night we’re collaborators on a large art installation in this year’s ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
With mutual interests in art and design, and a desire to create a piece of art that represented the city of Grand Rapids, Chris Hoyt and I began working on our piece last April called Collectively Skated.
Collectively Skated from Carissa Carter on Vimeo.
Collectively Skated includes a wall and ceiling made of 44 canvas-covered skateboards suspended in mid-air to demonstrate an examination of the physical and ethnographic texture of our city.
Along the way our family, friends, and co-workers from Herman Miller came together to help us pull it off. In fact, 15 people from Herman Miller’s Stitchers Club came together during lunch one Thursday to help us sew!
If you’re able to visit the city during ArtPrize, from now until October 10, stop by to see Collectively Skated at Premier, 14 Weston St.
You can vote for it, too! Up: 44071. Down: 44070.
September 23, 2010
If the current methods of healthcare delivery remain unchanged, treating chronic diseases will elevate healthcare spending and insurance costs to unforeseen levels. Chronic illness currently accounts for 75 percent of our global healthcare spending and is the leading cause of death and disability. By 2030, two out of three Americans will be living with a chronic condition.
Our current system of healthcare delivery is not organized to treat those with chronic conditions holistically. More efficient and cost-effective healthcare management calls for new approaches to our current model of siloed and fragmented care delivery.
Improving patient self-care, building teams of care providers that are accountable as a team, and introducing tools of technology to better communicate and share information, all guided by clinical leadership that wants to change, are required in order to shift from a siloed, fragmented system to an integrated, cooperative—and sustainable—one.
Design, What's Up
September 22, 2010
2009 photograph by Brian Kelly courtesy of ArtPrize
Herman Miller’s former President and CEO Max De Pree once advised us all to “make room for people who have unusual and creative gifts.”
Enter ArtPrize—the international art show and competition based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Grand Rapids is a burgeoning city that is making its mark among design and innovation circles. It also happens to be minutes away from our Zeeland headquarters.
ArtPrize provides us a fantastic opportunity to support creativity within our local community. In fact, we’ll be sponsoring a central resource center for ArtPrize called The Hub, which is located downtown in the Old Federal Building.
From September 22 to October 10, The Hub will host a visitor center, voter registration area, artist lounge, and volunteer offices—all furnished with our products.
ArtPrize and its prize money—totaling $449,000—have proven to attract a tremendous amount of talent and votes, but they also attract a community excited about art and its city. It’s a great event and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.
September 20, 2010
Herman Miller’s West Michigan facilities host customers from all over the world, but it’s especially fun when students stop by to see what’s behind our doors.
In fact, our Inclusiveness and Diversity team recently welcomed area students from the ¡Adelante! America youth program—a part of LAUP (Latin Americans United for Progress)—to our Greenhouse and Design Yard.
The visit was a great way for the students to learn more about us, our industry, and the types of careers available at the company.
Two students offered these comments about their visit:
The tour of the Design Yard gave me the opportunity to see some of the work engineers do, which I found very useful because engineering is one of the careers I am considering pursuing in college.
This experience opened my eyes to how much work it takes to just make a chair. The process of making a chair or any other piece of furniture involves a large amount of work, creativity, lab testing, and much more.
Meeting with area students also helps us connect with our community and understand what we can do as a company to make a difference—and a better world.
September 17, 2010
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just sit your cell phone or your MP3 player on a spot on your desk and it would magically recharge without having to deal with all those pesky plugs and cords attached to the devices? Well, you may be able to do that in the near future, thanks to eCoupled wireless technology featured in June at NeoCon.
For the past five years, Herman Miller has been working in partnership with Fulton Innovation, the creators of this marvelous technology that transmits charges to devices using inductive coupling, eliminating the need for device-specific power adaptors.
eCoupled transmitters can be built into practically anything from desktops to kitchen countertops to car consoles, so you don’t even see it. You just lay your enabled device on the surface, and viola, it charges automatically.
Last month, a global interoperability standard, Qi 1.0 (pronounced “chee”), was launched for smaller “low power” devices. That means electronics manufacturers can now make their products compatible with eCoupled wireless charging transmitters. And that paves the way to putting those transmitters in things like work surfaces, shelving, and desk tops for charging small devices such as cell phones and iPods.
Standards for “medium power” devices, such as laptops, have not been issued yet, but hopefully that will happen within the next year.
September 15, 2010
According to the The Journal of Nursing Administration, “Nurses tend to overlook their physical environment and ‘do their job.’”
This is unfortunate because the physical environment should assist nurses, as well as doctors, patients, and other staff, with doing their jobs. And it should adapt to them when those jobs change.
Herman Miller Healthcare is continuing to research this issue by listening to those who work in healthcare environments and experience problems and workarounds when doing their jobs. It’s important to ensure that any solution we develop supports them and has a positive impact on their job satisfaction.
Photo via: workingnurse.com
September 13, 2010
I climbed a narrow flight of stairs to the third floor of a cool old building in downtown Holland, Michigan, to visit Rick Edwards Design and see what the proprietor was up to for his latest project with Herman Miller. Rick has worked with Herman Miller for many years, and they had reached out to him to help develop new applications for Meridian filing and storage.
Specifically, the challenge was to reconfigure existing Meridian elements to support and even inspire group work. Filing and storage is traditionally configured and placed for individual use or archival storage purposes, so Rick had to think outside the file to design solutions.
The results are evident when you walk in Rick’s door. On a Resolve input table, he displays his scale models of new Meridian Group Furniture applications. “People are intrigued by models,” he says. “They interact with them, they’re accessible, and it’s a starting point for creative conversations. We’ve had great discussions and input.”
It’s a tribute to Meridian’s versatility that its modules can be reconfigured to create and define areas where people gather, share, and connect. Plus, there are applications that can accommodate power and data for people’s technology and equipment.
“We want people to be attracted to these places,” Rick says, “so they naturally come together and collaborate.” And with Rick’s models to illustrate, it’s easy to see how Meridian does it.