September 27, 2012
Let’s be honest. For a time, you might enjoy the quiet and manage to get lot of work done. But after awhile, your work might start to suffer from a lack of collaboration—the unique human ability to turn connection, cooperation, and ideation into tangible products and solutions.
A recent outdoor installation by Montreal artist Nicolas Baier explores the concept of a workplace devoid of humans. The piece, on display in front of Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, is housed in one-sided glass and features ten Eames Aluminum Group Chairs surrounding a conference table—all rendered inert by reflective nickel. Baier encases the stereotypical artifacts of a meeting—a water bottle, a coffee cup, a pair of glasses—in mirrors.
You may wonder how such a lifeless sculpture commemorates the anniversary of a community icon like Place Ville-Marie, a place populated by people for the past fifty years. But Baier’s piece achieves just this; it reminds us just how important human connection is.
Design, What's Up
September 24, 2012
Ayse Birsel sees herself as a designer of life. “Design is imagination, and if you can imagine something you can make it happen,” she believes. “If I design my life, maybe I can build more coherence and align myself with my values.”
Coherence and alignment, along with innovation and problem solving, are all attributes of Birsel’s work. Her secret? Deconstructing preconceptions (both hers and those of others) in order to see things from a fresh perspective. When she reflects on her life, Birsel applies much the same technique—because, like design, a good life is a harmony of what you want and what you need. When the two are in balance, the results can break new ground.
Learn more about Ayse Birsel’s approach to designing life on Why Design, a new video series featuring designers from Herman Miller’s creative network. There are eight videos in total, with a new one debuting every Monday. Stay Tuned; next week is designer Irving Harper.
September 20, 2012
How many companies can say that and mean it, literally? Not many. Over the years we’ve learned that one of best ways to keep backaches and pains at bay is by properly supporting and aligning a person’s spine while they sit—particularly for the long periods of time they spend sitting at work. That’s why we design the best ergonomic chairs we can.
Consider the Embody office chair, designed by Bill Stumpf and Jeff Weber. More than 30 professionals, physicians, and PhDs in the fields of biomechanics, vision, physical therapy, and ergonomics worked with Stumpf and Weber to develop the instinctive back of the Embody Chair. Sit in it and you’ll feel the backrest automatically adjust as you move and shift positions. The result keeps your spine aligned and healthy.
When we say, “We’ve got your back,” we mean it.
Interested in the science of sitting? Check out Herman Miller’s research here.
Design, What's Up
September 17, 2012
“The camera has always been a guide,” reflects designer Don Chadwick. “It has allowed me to see things and focus on things that maybe an average person wouldn’t even notice.”
That ability, to see the world in a new way, is exactly what helped Chadwick, along with Bill Stumpf, to create the Aeron Chair. Together they designed the first chair to replace foam and fabric cushions, typical of most office chairs, with a mesh-like suspension material that was not only more comfortable, but offered healthier ergonomic support as well. Aeron Chair has since become an icon of design innovation and is the world’s best-selling ergonomic work chair, with a new one produced every 17 seconds.
What would the world be like if Don Chadwick, and designers like him, saw things like you or I? It’s hard to say, but it would certainly be harder to find a comfortable place to sit.
Check out Don Chadwick’s contribution to Why Design, a new video series featuring designers from Herman Miller’s creative network. There are eight videos in total, with a new one debuting every Monday. Stay Tuned; next week is designer Ayse Birsel.
Well-Being, What's Up
September 13, 2012
Our bodies aren’t designed to stay in one position for long periods of time. That’s why having the freedom to move is so important. In the office, this means having an ergonomic chair, one that supports your body and encourages a variety of postures throughout the day. Sit up, sit back, and recline; shift and stretch; the more you move, the more your body will thank you.
With this in mind, our London office recently launched “The Freedom Movement,” a new citywide campaign for the SAYL Chair—which features a frameless backrest designed to move with you. If you’re in London and happen upon one of our new ads (like the one above), snap a picture and send it our way.
Design, Products, What's Up
September 10, 2012
A good surfer makes the idea of riding a wave seem effortless; but as those of us who have tried (and fallen) quickly learn, it’s not easy. “There’s the water; there’s the ocean; and there are split-second decisions—it’s different every single time,” observes avid surfer, Yves Béhar. “It’s not all that different from designing.”
Béhar is known for design, and he makes it look effortless. Whether it’s the frameless back of the SAYL Chair or the biomorphic curves of the Ardea Light, Béhar and his fuseproject team bring years of practice and experience to every product they design.
For Yves Béhar it’s simple: “Let’s try it. Let’s see if it crashes down on top of me. Let’s see if I can actually get through it.” Is he talking about design or surf? In his mind, there’s no difference.
Yves Behar, and his passion for surfing, kicks off Why Design, a new video series featuring designers from Herman Miller’s creative network. There are eight videos in total, with a new one debuting every Monday. Stay Tuned; next week is designer Don Chadwick.
Design, What's Up
September 6, 2012
From his studio in Melbourne, Australia, designer Fabio Ongarato provides identity design, publishing, art direction, and placemaking expertise to clients in architecture, fashion, and retail. Collaborating with Herman Miller on the recent Then X Ten exhibition, Ongarato helped select the ten contemporary artists commissioned to create new poster designs.
What was the thinking that led to the concept of the Then x Ten exhibit?
[We] looked to the past to shape the future. The poster designs created for Herman Miller by Armin Hofmann in the 50s were our inspiration—we imagined what would the modern versions look like today and who would be invited to create them.
Was there challenge in balancing the posters from the past with the new ones?
I wanted them to have equal value—a mirror reflection of past and present. The contemporary image-makers provide a view of Herman Miller today, while the posters of old reconnect people the value of what came before. Steve Frykholm, one of Herman Miller’s most famous poster designers, has helped curate the past images.
Do you have a personal favorite?
The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman poster by Mrzyk & Moriceau has become one of my favorites; it’s a simple black and white drawing depicting amorphous figures sandwiched between two lounge chairs. It’s daring, surreal, absurd, humorous, and sexualized, but most of all, it’s very memorable.
Design, What's Up
September 4, 2012
Long before interdisciplinary design was a buzzword, there was George Nelson—a man for whom no single title was entirely fitting. this fact is acknowledged by George Nelson: Architect | Writer | Designer | Teacher, a traveling exhibit currently on display at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Open until October 14, 2012, the exhibit showcases the many products, graphics, books, videos, and exhibits that bear the mark of Nelson’s multi-talented approach to design.
Can’t make it to Cranbrook? The next stop will be the Nelson’s alma mater, the Yale School of Architecture.