November 29, 2010
On a casual drive from the Baltic Sea to Thuringia, the “green heart of Germany,” the most striking feature of the landscape are the wind turbines. They are everywhere, on the hills, in the fields, in the sea— herds of them.
Turns out, Germany actually paid attention to the wake-up call delivered by the energy crisis in the 1970s and 80s. The country has been funding R&D and deploying mostly wind and solar forms of renewable energy ever since. Its Green Party became a political force in Germany after a series of chemical spills in the Rhine in the late 1980s.
Over the past two decades, Germany has become a global leader in renewable energy. In 2003, Germany had 40 percent of the world’s installed capacity for wind energy and was second only to Japan in installed photovoltaic (solar panels) energy.
As countries like Germany and companies like Herman Miller discovered long ago, meaningfully switching to renewable energy is a complex and challenging issue that requires a deep commitment, a long-term outlook, and a multi-faceted approach.
Photos courtesy of Anne Kunze.
Herman Miller Journal
November 26, 2010
Marigold Lodge chef David McClimans concludes this latest recipe series with White Chocolate & Walnut Bread Pudding.
White Chocolate & Walnut Bread Pudding
1 loaf brioche bread, cubed
¾ cup white chocolate, cut up into small pieces
8 whole eggs
2 cups half & half
1 cup milk
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups walnut pieces
¼ cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Coat a 2-inch high stainless steel pan with non-stick spray; add cubed brioche and level with the height of the pan.
2. Sprinkle the white chocolate pieces evenly over the brioche.
3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half & half, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix well.
4. Add the mixture to the pan of brioche, making sure all the bread is moist.
5. Wrap it tight and refrigerate overnight.
6. In a mixer, combine butter, sugar, pecans, corn syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well blended. Place in bowl, wrap, and set aside at room temperature until needed.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
8. Remove the pan of brioche from the refrigerator. Using a straight-edge spatula, spread the praline topping evenly over the brioche.
8. Place into the oven for about 40 minutes or until done.
November 24, 2010
As we continue to expand our Meridian filing and storage product line, it’s interesting to think about how it all began with a unique concept brought to market by company founder Edsko Hekman.
Hekman (1914-2000) started the Spring Lake, Michigan,-based Meridian in 1970 with a concept new to the industry: stackable, lateral filing cabinets with an exterior depth of 20 inches, rather than the traditional 18 inches, for more filing capacity.
He also had the idea to sell by the drawer module, not by the cabinet. This unique approach makes it possible to reduce a customer’s cost per filing inch. After all, thought Hekman, customers are paying for storage, not the metal box. Gain more floor space for customers became a unique advantage for Meridian.
Meanwhile, Herman Miller, located about 45 minutes south, was looking for a broader breadth of filing and storage. In 1987, Herman Miller developed a marketing alliance with Meridian. Three years later, Meridian became a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Over the years, Meridian products have gained favor with architects and designers because the company can create custom colors for the individual cabinet modules and match heights to architectural details.
In 2008, Herman Miller began producing Meridian products in the U.K., so that our international customers could experience the same kind of flexibility.
Hekman has been described as “brilliant with mechanics,” and we’re excited that customers all over the world can now benefit from his savvy.
Design, What's Up
November 22, 2010
On November 4, the Art Directors Club inducted designer, architect, and author George Nelson posthumously into its Hall of Fame. Every two years the Club honors individuals who have made “significant contributions to art direction and visual communications, and whose lifetime achievements represent the highest standards of creative excellence.” The others inducted this year include Fabien Baron, creative director; Matthew Carter, typographer; and Brigitte Lacombe, photographer.
Nelson is a big part of Herman Miller’s history. He was director of design here from 1946–1971 and he designed many iconic pieces, including the coconut chair, the marshmallow sofa, and the platform bench. And we think his design philosophy—“total design is nothing more or less than a process of relating everything to everything”—is more relevant than ever.
If you’re in New York, you can see works by the new inductees free of charge at the ADC Gallery until November 23, 2010.
Nelson’s work is also part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.
November 19, 2010
At the recent Greenbuild conference, I had the chance to interview television journalist Lisa Ling. A special correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and host of National Geographic’s Ultimate Explorer, she’s tenacious about reporting the stories of those who often don’t have a voice. She’s also an advocate for environmental sustainability—as we are—which led to her interest in attending the show.
“Everyone I’ve talked to is so enthusiastic about what they’re doing,” she says about the exhibitors. “Our country is in the midst of an economic catastrophe and this green movement is the answer to our economic woes. That’s why Greenbuild has the highest attendance numbers ever. People are intrigued by what’s going on here.”
Ling is no stranger to building green. She’s about to move into the first energy-neutral home in Santa Monica, California–it’s a place she hopes will inspire others to make their homes more environmentally friendly.
“I try to be the vehicle from which people hear about a situation, with the hope that they want to effect change,” she adds.
Catch Lisa Ling in her new series called “Our America” on the Oprah Winfrey Network, beginning in February 2011.
Herman Miller Journal
November 19, 2010
This recipe for Breast of Duck Au Poivre from Marigold Lodge chef David McClimans is très magnifique. It requires only a few ingredients and takes minutes to prepare. Pair it with risotto to create an elegant entrée.
Breast of Duck Au Poivre
6 8-ounce boneless duck breasts
4 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh thyme
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1. Place the duck breasts on a cutting board, skin side up. With a knife, slice four or five cuts across the skin. This will prevent the breast from turning up while cooking. The fat also will render faster.
2. Rub each duck breast with salt and thyme, and generously sprinkle them with black pepper.
3. Preheat a large skillet without oil. Place each duck breast skin side down. Sear until golden and crisp. CAUTION: The duck breasts render a lot of fat while they’re cooking. To prevent splattering and flair up, turn the stove’s flame off before turning each duck breast.
4. Place the duck breasts on a sheet pan and place into a preheated, 375-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and place it in a warm spot to rest for 5 minutes. Cut duck breasts into ½-inch slices and arrange on risotto.
Watch for another recipe from Marigold Lodge next week!
November 17, 2010
Every year, we put together our Better World report to let you know how we’re building a better world around you through environmental advocacy, inclusiveness and diversity, health and well-being, and community service. Are we perfect and do we always reach our goals? Of course not. Building a better world is not so much a goal as an everyday way of life.
Here are some highlights from the past fiscal year:
• Herman Miller employees logged 13,640 volunteer hours, exceeding the goal of 10,000.
Inclusiveness & Diversity:
• “Corporation of the Year” by Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council.
Health & Well-being
• 3rd consecutive year on FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.
• Surpassed overall footprint reduction goal with 91% overall reduction.
• 100% green electrical energy usage worldwide.
If you have any questions or comments about the report, please feel free to share them with us here.
November 16, 2010
This week in Chicago, thousands will gather at Greenbuild to see the latest in environmentally sustainable products and building practices. This must-see event has emerged as one of the office furniture industry’s largest trade shows in North America.
Hosted by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the annual event is celebrating 10 years of raising awareness about the importance of thinking and building green.
Herman Miller is a founding member of the USGBC and has exhibited at the event since the beginning. This year, conference attendees will be able to experience several of our latest environmentally conscious products, including the SAYL family of seating, the Thrive Portfolio of ergonomic office tools and accessories, and the Energy Manager device.
Driven by our Perfect Vision initiatives, we’re on track to achieve by 2020 zero waste to landfills, zero hazardous waste generation, the use of 100 percent green energy, and 100 percent of product revenue through sustainable designs.
Tomorrow, we’ll release our fourth annual Better World report, which highlights our progress toward these initiatives. In some cases we’re ahead of schedule, which is good news for us and the planet.
November 15, 2010
We’re happy to add MBDC Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Silver certification to the list of “eco-creds” for the new, non-FR, U.S.-produced SAYL work chair. Combined with its GREENGUARD certification and the process of eco-dematerialization that was at the heart of Yves Béhar’s design, SAYL can proudly add “good to the environment” to its other attributes, including good looks, ergonomics, and great price point.
November 15, 2010
Reports are in from those with Herman Miller Healthcare who attended this year’s Healthcare Design 2010 event in Las Vegas. There was a lot of enthusiasm about the products shown in our booth, including the Compass system and Nemschoff’s Dex guest chair.
The booth experience is one way we were able to provide insight into how Herman Miller Healthcare and its subsidiaries Nemschoff and Brandrud are bringing a new voice to healthcare.
Thanks to everyone who was able to stop by!