Design, Healthcare, Products
February 28, 2011
Photo via Popular Science
Think about crutches. Most of us don’t until we experience the difficulty and discomfort of using them. Crutches can damage nerves, arteries, and tissue, and it’s easy to slip and cause more pain or more injury.
Here’s a better way. It’s called Mobilegs, from Mobi, a Minneapolis-based designer of mobility products. Mobi, born out of Studio Weber + Associates, seeks to transform our perception and function of mobility devices like crutches, making them more comfortable, better-designed, and more customizable.
Mobilegs is so innovative, it was named Best of What’s New for Health for 2010 by Popular Science magazine, which reads, “Mobilegs takes the design to the 21st century with modern materials and careful attention to ergonomic factors (which should come as no surprise given that their inventor helped design the Aeron chair).”
That inventor is Jeff Weber, of Studio + Weber, who also designed Herman Miller’s Embody chair, Caper chair, and Envelop desk. “I work to humanize the relationship between people, products, and the world around us,” Jeff says. He was inspired by a 2005 foot injury that made him all too aware of the crutch problem. “The traditional crutch was not designed to accommodate the mechanics of the human body. Mobilegs does just that.”
February 25, 2011
As a company committed to improving healthcare environments through better design, Herman Miller is pleased to tell you about how one man’s idea turned into a wonderful addition to the new Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
It’s all about art. Kids’ art.
The idea, which originated with Dr. Bob Connors, head of the hospital, was to fill the facility with art created for and by children. And when the doors opened in January, more than 600 original creations, by nearly 9,000 West Michigan-area children, decorated the 14-floor facility.
“It was truly a community effort,” said Scott LaFontsee of LaFontsee Galleries/Underground Studios, who helped coordinate the huge effort that involved schools and other organizations as well as local artists who volunteered to help.
“When kids come to this place, they know it’s a children’s place,” said Dr. Connors, who was extremely pleased with the outcome.
Photo credit: Emily Zoladz, The Grand Rapids Press
February 23, 2011
I recently participated in the Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) Learning Spaces Collaboratory roundtable event at Herman Miller’s Los Angeles showroom. Herman Miller was a co-sponsor for the event facilitated by PKAL’s Jeanne Narum and Herman Miller’s Susan Whitmer and Bob Cox.
For more than two decades, PKAL has been one of the leading advocates in the U.S. for building and sustaining strong undergraduate programs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The event brought together a mix of architects, interior designers, and scholars who understand that a great learning experience isn’t only about the instructor, course content, or even the subject. An innovative, inspiring environment is paramount and a fundamental element in the overall curriculum.
Better World, Design
February 21, 2011
If I was a designer or architect who’s going to be in New York City between now and May 21, I definitely would make a point to see the Center for Architecture’s current exhibit, which opened February 10. Called “Jugaad Urbanism: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities,” it’s all about how to design for today’s large urban cities by studying the inventive “make-do”s of India’s slums. That’s right, India’s overcrowded, packed-in living spaces have a thing or two to teach us about using limited resources, a subject Herman Miller has always had an interest in.
In fact, the term “Jugaad” specifically refers to the resourcefulness and innovation that Indian people demonstrate every day, from jerry-rigging cars and busses to turning plastic pop bottles into street lamps.
The exhibit, says Margaret Castillo, president of the AIA New York chapter, aims to educate both local and international audiences about the critical issues of growing cities. “While Mumbai may seem a world away, the lessons learned from its empowered citizens and designers can be applied to rapidly expanding cities such as Rio or Guangzhou.”
The exhibit is organized by resources — land, water, energy and transportation. It and features everything from products and prototypes, including a new low tech concept for community toilets, to lectures and Bollywood films.
“There’s always this narrative of failure and tragedy when one discusses Indian urbanism,” said curator Kanu Agrawal. “But this represents solutions; people respond creatively where there are shortages of resources.”
It’d be worth checking out even if you’re not a designer, don’t you think?
Photo 1: Jugaad canopy, New Delhi. Photo credit: Sundeep Bali.
Photo 2: Mumbai’s chawls, built in 1916. Photo credit: Rajesh Vora.
Photo 3: A jugaad chandelier constructed from cables and recycled bottles. Photo credit: Rajesh Vora.
February 17, 2011
Innovation spaces are a relatively new phenomenon on college campuses. Often called Innovation Centers, they function outside the traditional parameters of the school calendar, taking interdisciplinary groups of students through rigorous projects in which they design, fabricate, and test a prototype that solves an assigned problem. The centers are not classrooms, but highly flexible, dynamic spaces that must meet a wide variety of demands, often on a 24/7 schedule.
Students work in groups in a designated place. There are no set hours, but rather a time frame within which a project needs to be completed. The student who gravitates toward this learning experience is moving away from the traditional instruction paradigm toward a more creative, self controlled experience that emphasizes experimentation, encourages learning by doing, and fosters creativity.
Because we believe the physical environment can nurture creativity and serve as a catalyst for innovation, we recently hosted a roundtable with leaders of innovation spaces on college campuses from across the country. During the session we focused on the key characteristics of great innovation spaces, which we defined as spaces that support collaboration, alone/heads-down time, formal and informal instruction, communication, and rest.
Earlier this week during a session at ELI 2011, we shared these characteristics with a group of our fellow Educause members. They added the characteristics of openness, access, and visibility to this list.
A key conclusion from both groups: space and the elements in it really do matter.
February 16, 2011
Healthcare design is a growing part of our business, and our research in this area has helped us develop a portfolio of problem-solving products and enabled us to partner with healthcare organizations interested in building and designing efficient spaces for staff and patients.
Much of our research includes evidence-based design, which is why I decided to pursue Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC) from The Center for Health Design. Evidence-based design is the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes. It’s still in its infancy and not without skeptics. Yet, it’s a rapidly growing field and it’s making important contributions to the design of healthcare environments.
The accreditation program provides participants with an understanding of how to incorporate findings such as the restorative effect of nature into healthcare building design decisions. For example, views of nature reduce a patient’s use of pain medication and reduce stress. We also know that private patient rooms reduce the spread of infection and improve communication between caregivers and patients and family.
Overall, I’m looking forward to putting this accreditation to work and becoming part of a community that focuses on the education and assessment of an evidence-based design process.
Design, What's Up
February 15, 2011
Have you seen one of our products in a movie, television show, or commercial? Have you elbowed your neighbor and pointed out an Aeron chair or Eames lounge and ottoman?
We know how you feel. And we want to hear from you.
Beginning today, you can share your product sightings with us on our Facebook page. For the next five weeks, we’ll post a photo of one of our products and we’d like you to tell us where you’ve seen it.
So, what’s the first product to kick-off this campaign? The Aeron chair, of course. Look for the Show & Tell post and photo of the Aeron on our Facebook page and include your comment about where you’ve seen it (Hint: You might have seen it around the office or maybe you could ask your brothers and sisters?).
And if you’ve seen another product that’s not on the list, please post that on our Facebook page as well.
We’re looking forward to your participation!
Design, Herman Miller Journal
February 14, 2011
During this time of year, people often express love or feel loved. We’re delighted that so many people share with us how they love our furniture. Over the past year, we’ve collected wonderful photographs of Herman Miller products graciously submitted by fans to our Facebook page and blogs. It’s an honor to have our products in your homes and offices. Thank you for the opportunity to share these photographs with the rest of our community.
Above: Photo submitted by Isabelle Roy
Above: Photo (L) submitted by Alison Vryhof, Photo (R) submitted by Isabelle Roy
Above: Photo (L) submitted by Amy Cadwallader, Photo (R) submitted by Shellie VanSickle Ayres
Above: Photo (L) submitted by Anthony Kuzub, Photo (R) submitted by Omer Lifshitz
Photo submitted by Noel O’Malley
February 11, 2011
Brian Kane came to design early and has pursued it obsessively for 40 years. Fresh out of college with a degree in industrial design, he worked for Silvio Coppolo in Milan, Italy. Still in his early 30s, he became partner, part-owner, and vice president of development and design of Metropolitan Furniture Corporation (Metro) in New York City. A dozen years later, in March 1989, he established Brian Kane Design Studio in San Francisco where he’s been ever since.
Kane’s seating resides unobtrusively in some of the most recognizable cityscapes in the world, from Manhattan to San Francisco. He also recently designed Swoop lounge furniture for Herman Miller.
Here are seven questions for Brian Kane:
1. What are you working on right now?
My current projects include the completion of the Swoop lounge area concept. Other elements are needed, such as café stools and tables, lighting, privacy screens, technology cabinets—all the things required to supply the needs of this ‘working lounge’ collaborative environment.
2. Which of your projects are you most proud of?
For sure, the Swoop collection for Herman Miller. Watching the way people act in public spaces and providing a whole-room solution for that environment was a great design problem—and I’m very happy with the final design.
I’m also proud to have my Landscape Forms’ bench solutions all over the streets of New York City and San Francisco.
February 9, 2011
Charles Eames said, “Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” It’s a quote several interns took seriously last year when John Aldrich, our VP of New Product Development, asked them to experiment with one of the most recognizable Eames designs—tandem sling seating.
You’ve probably seen it before. Designed for O’Hare International Airport in 1962, the sleek, contemporary design remains in style for all kinds of public waiting areas, especially airport terminals.
However, as airports continue to update their facilities with trendy shops and an increasing number of dining options, the challenge to find electrical outlets to recharge cellular devices, tablets, and laptops remains the same.
After meeting Charles Eames’ grandson, Eames Demetrios, Director of the Eames Office, the interns received his support for moving forward with adding electrical outlets to the tandem seating design.
The interns began working with John Berry, a representative for the Eames Office, and with his help they developed several different electrical outlet options.
“Respecting and maintaining the aesthetic of the Eames chair was the overall goal for the project and with John Berry’s insight we were able to honor that,” says Andrea Nelson, who recently received a master’s degree in Interior Architecture and Product Design from Kansas State University.
After testing and monitoring the use of their designs for four days at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the team knew it was something special. And the airport facilities team also liked the idea, says Nelson.
The team now is refining their ideas, but has established that it will place the outlets between the seat and back.
Adds Aldrich, “It’s a premium product, so it deserves a premium design.”
Intern project team:
Andrea Nelson, Kansas State University
Anthony Herrera, Grand Valley State University
Jane Zhang, Auburn University
Adam Koehler, Kettering University
Jacqueline Xu, Thunderbird University
Brian Chuang, University of Michigan
Jep Cohen, Rose-Hulman
Update: This solution is currently in development and is not commercially available.