Products, What's Up
October 29, 2010
Designing anything is a challenge, let alone a chair. So what did it take for designer Yves Béhar to “grow” the SAYL chair?
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look, from inspiration to final product. And why the connection to unframed? As Yves says, it’s the “parallel between SAYL’s literally ‘unframed’ suspension back and my belief that we humans progress by ‘unframed’ expressions of our potential.”
October 27, 2010
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Design Research Conference hosted by the Interdisciplinary Design Institute of Washington State University.
I heard several presentations about the latest research surrounding architectural and environmental design for health care environments, but one story from a keynote speaker has stayed with me. It focused on how our total health goes beyond our physical health, and how biophelia—a love for the natural world—plays a large role in it.
Interior designer Barbara Huelat, with Huelat Parimucha Ltd., asked the audience to think about the last time they really felt alive and energized. She then asked us to raise our hands if that experience was in nature and about 90 percent of the hands went up. Mine did, too.
Biophilia is a familiar concept to me and Herman Miller Healthcare, but Huelat’s story is a powerful reminder of the restorative power of nature.
October 25, 2010
When Herman Miller’s Materials team asked the award-winning Maharam Design Studio to create some new proprietary textiles, the designers there did what they do best. They created three new textiles that demonstrate “the industrial beauty of what textiles can be,” says Mary Murphy, the Studio’s Vice President of Design.
The Gloss, Glisten, and Gleam textiles use a simple structure that combines luster, sheen, and tonal combinations to accentuate Herman Miller’s neutral and metallic palettes. Plus the reflective qualities of the textiles will help our customers bring more light into the workspace.
According to Marsha Skidmore, Director of Materials at Herman Miller, “Partnering with Maharam’s design team brings the expertise of a premium textile company to our proprietary offer and gives the best value to customers for the Maharam touch on our products.”
Maharam also is part of Herman Miller’s Textile Alliance Program, which offers our customers a multitude of materials created from the best in the world of textiles.
October 22, 2010
This post is a contribution to Honda’s “Kick Out the Ladder” thought leadership series. Herman Miller was invited to provide a unique perspective on how our corporate philosophy and culture encourages innovation. During the third week of October 2010, four other organizations also provide their own thoughts on the subject. Details and links to what others are saying about “Kick Out the Ladder” can be found at www.facebook.com/honda
This week, Honda launched its “Kick Out the Ladder” series on innovation and graciously invited us to provide Herman Miller’s perspective on the subject. So we’re using this opportunity to debut our new “Design Values” video. It highlights our culture and how we foster innovation in everything from product design to our people practices.
Our mission is to solve problems. And by thinking outside the box to find solutions, we’ve transformed the ways people think about the comfort, style, and function of furniture and their interior environment.
The new SAYL chair family by designer Yves Béhar is our latest example of taking an innovative approach to solve a problem. By rethinking every part of the chair, Béhar and our development team were able to create a better, smarter chair at a remarkable price, setting a new reference point in its class for performance, quality, and appearance.
Focusing also on the idea that people at their best live ‘unframed,’ we worked together to design and build a chair family that gives form to that spirit. In fact, on October 27, we launched liveunframed.com to celebrate the design approach we took with SAYL.
As the Golden Gate Bridge inspired Béhar, we think everyone has the ability to think outside the box, kick out the ladder, and live unframed.
October 21, 2010
Because almost all of our Herman Miller Healthcare products are used by nurses, we believe it’s important to be aware of research that could affect their work.
As the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, nurses will continue to play a key role in overcoming challenges and fulfilling the promises of our rapidly changing healthcare system.
The latest research about the nursing comes from the Institute of Medicine in a report called The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.
Four key recommendations emerged from the report:
• Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training.
• Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
• Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States.
• Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and an improved information infrastructure.
Judging by the number of healthcare media references, The Future of Nursing report has started an important conversation about the role of nurses in providing care.
This report will also inform our conversations with customers about environments such as patient rooms and unit cores and how they will support nurses in the future.
October 20, 2010
Herman Miller’s LGBT Inclusiveness Resource Team recently asked employees to celebrate National Coming Out Day with them by displaying rainbow balloons in their offices.
The team hoped to have 50 balloons displayed around the company. Through simple word-of-mouth, the balloon requests quickly grew to over 160 balloons! The entire executive leadership team also requested them.
On October 11, balloons were delivered to employees and accompanied by a card that explained the meaning of the Coming Out Day celebration.
The team also shared the colorful and cheerful balloons with a local children’s hospital where the balloons brought a rainbow smile to staff, patients, and their families.
Employee Rick Westra contributed to this post.
October 19, 2010
Designer George Nelson believed properly designed modern furniture should be able to function anywhere. It’s a belief that influenced his modular storage solution called the Basic Cabinet Series, which was available from Herman Miller from 1946 until 1958.
We believe the Basic Cabinet Series is just as useful today as it was more than 60 years ago. That’s why we choose to bring it back.
Nelson, who said, “Design is a response to social change,” recognized the postwar period in the 1940s was bustling with change. He understood that Americans had become mobile and that they needed furniture to support the new American life style.
He went on to create the Basic Cabinet Series, which includes modular, easily movable furniture pieces that serve more than one purpose. The pieces save space, while providing lots of efficient storage.
The four chest-cabinet combinations adapt to a variety of configurations and rooms, including those for living, dining, sleeping, or working. And they look great together with the Nelson platform bench. Most of all, they’re beautiful and efficient, which makes for a good combination—then and now.
October 18, 2010
Choice is good, especially when it comes to deciding where to buy our furniture so you’ll know you’re buying the genuine article. The new HermanMiller Store does that and more.
Beyond ensuring authenticity, the HermanMiller Store takes you deep and wide. Wide as in the full range of products you’ll find—everything for living, dining, and working on the homefront.
Deep in terms of the content. Three examples: zooming in on front and back views, seeing every product option on screen, getting in-depth design stories.
So check out the HermanMiller Store today. It’s another way—with our authorized retailers’ online and brick-and-mortar stores—that you can buy genuine HermanMiller products.
October 13, 2010
This summer, a team of 30 University of Florida students traveled to Madrid for the Solar Decathlon, an international competition that requires building the best self-sustaining house using solar energy and other energy efficient technologies.
The students spent two years designing RE: FOCUS, a modern interpretation of a Florida “cracker house” and their wish list included Herman Miller furniture. The students approached the company about an in-kind donation and it gladly sent a Setu lounge chairs for the project.
It was easy to say yes, says John Kim, Better World marketing manager at Herman Miller, because it was a good fit with the company’s values. “We have a strong connection to higher education, and this was an interesting way to support the students’ learning and to help push the boundary of what makes an environmentally friendly home,” he says.
While the RE: FOCUS project didn’t win the competition, it did take first place in the Communications and Social Awareness category and second place in the Energy Balance category. The Setu lounge chairs helped the team meet the sustainability criteria (it’s 93% recyclable). And, because it’s comfortable and has breathable material, it provided a place for visitors seeking respite from 95-degree heat.
Photo 1 courtesy of the University of Florida
Photo 2 courtesy of Pete Vastyan
Design, Products, What's Up
October 12, 2010
Last week our new SAYL chairs made their public debut at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Designed by Yves Béhar for Herman Miller, this chair has been in the works for the past few years.
Béhar described this chair as one of his toughest design challenges because a chair “leaves nothing to hide.” And judging by the looks of the crowd, they’re glad he didn’t hide a thing.
Béhar and SAYL will make a few more stops in Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco before they head to Germany for Orgatec.
You can follow #SAYL, #liveunframed, and @yvesbehar on Twitter for real-time updates about the chair and its launch events.