From their respective offices in New York and Los Angeles, Nelson and the Eameses oversaw multidisciplinary firms that designed everything from exhibits to films to catalogs. The vintage print ads, above, are just a few examples of the graphic design contributions that defined the visual identity of the Herman Miller brand for decades.
To check out high-resolution versions of the ads, Read more
What is ailing in fine furnishings? “Nature,” answers design duo Craig Bassam and Scott Fellows. “I really feel that a connection to nature is what makes Modernism human,” says Bassam, who sees their work as an antidote to novelty-driven and mass-produced design.
Principally made from hand-finished wood, brass, and leather, furniture designed by BassamFellows follows their belief in “core luxury values”: honesty of material, solidity of construction; utility and beauty without elaboration. With the Tuxedo lounge seating, part of the Herman Miller Collection, the goal remains the same: an attention to luxury detail that doesn’t compete with the rest of the room.
Designing a sofa for the Herman Miller Collection was a “daunting challenge,” says Goetz. “If I were sitting in a room with Eames, Nelson, and Noguchi, and we were discussing design, I would be listening rather than talking,” he said. “When designing the sofa, I took on that role, trying to understand the qualities of the Collection that make it so wonderful. I wanted to create something that echoes the Collection and respectfully adds to it.”
Understanding that design is deeper than styling, Goetz made sure that his sofa would be comfortable, no matter what position you are in. He conducted research and consulted experts to arrive at a seat depth that provides ergonomic sitting support as well as room to lie down.
The result is a design that shares good company with the works of Eames, Nelson, and Noguchi.
The cover of Bill Birchard's book Merchant of Vitrue.
What role does design play in sustaining the earth? “The biggest role,” says writer, journalist, and Merchant of Virtue author Bill Birchard. An environmental advocate and proponent of business sustainability, Birchard shared with us his thoughts on caring for the earth, the importance of measuring environmental performance, and of course, design.
There’s always a lot of press coverage around Earth Day. It’s hard to know whether we’re doing better or worse at caring for the earth. What’s your view?
I think it’s useful to distinguish between consumers and companies. As a consumer, it’s sometimes hard to see whether we’re doing much better. On the corporate side, we’re doing a lot better. And that’s significant, because corporations have a huge amount of leverage compared to consumers. A recent Sloan/MIT study showed that 68% of companies had increased their commitment to sustainability in the last year, compared to just 25% doing so two years ago. Companies still have a long way to go, but the trend toward greater responsibility by the most powerful institutions on earth—corporations—appears irreversible. Read more
BassamFellows design is “about merging the rationality and clarity of Modernism with the warmth and texture of nature” and marks the return of true craftsmanship and beauty to contemporary living. “We want to mix the timelessness and attention to detail of the modern classics with contemporary design, and blend it with honest materials, solid construction, beauty, and utility,” expresses Bassam. Read more
The truth, Charles and Ray realized, is that numbers only represent one percent of the world of mathematics. From a pinball demonstration of celestial movement to a 1,000-year timeline of mathematical discoveries and influential events, Charles, Ray, and the entire Eames Office worked hard to bring mathematics to life without numbers. Read more
In the 1950’s George Nelson characterized the ultimate office environment as “a daytime living room where work can be done under less tension with fewer distractions.” Today we work whenever and wherever we are most comfortable—Nelson’s goal is closer to reality than ever before.
Recognizing this, Herman Miller introduces the Herman Miller Collection. The Collection offers you the ability to select, furnish, and create complete environments in myriad settings—from the boardroom to the backyard. We believe that design goes much deeper than styling. Each piece in the Collection represents a solution that is as purposeful as it is beautiful. Read more
Back in 1948, Herman Miller was in need of a new catalog to show off its pioneering modern designs by George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames. Rising to the challenge, Nelson proposed a sophisticated catalog printed on high quality paper and full of beautiful photography. The problem? As DJ De Pree, founder of Herman Miller, made clear, the company could never afford to produce it. Read more
What good is a chair with holes? In the case of the Mirra, it’s the holes—567 of them to be exact—that provide the chair’s backrest its characteristic flex.
Envisioning a chair that acts as a second skin, Studio 7.5 designed Mira’s TriFlex back to move with the sitter. They worked with us to design and engineer holes of varying shapes and sizes. It results in the one-piece molded polymer back that has been fine-tuned to create three zones of flexibility. Each zone offers a different level of pliability for proper ergonomic support.
So, while holes in your desk chair are often cause for concern, in the case of Mirra, a back full of holes is a good thing.
“Toys and games are preludes to serious ideas,” Charles Eames once observed. Realizing that creativity is often sparked when least expected, Eames encouraged the staff of the Eames Office to find time to play a game or pose for a silly photo. But if inspiration can strike anywhere, then why do so few people find that place to be the office?
Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine, believes it’s because people don’t have time for creativity at work. Chaining yourself to your computer in search of an answer, Lehrer argues, is only going to leave you frustrated. “You may look productive, but you’re actually wasting time.” Instead, he advices “go for a walk. You should play some ping-pong. You should find a way to relax.” Read more