Design, What's Up
November 29, 2012
George Nelson was a talented writer, a rare gift for someone equally gifted in design, architecture, and the visual arts. With just a few select words, Nelson could guide a reader through an intricate, visual world or define a philosophy in broad sweeps. The author of 11 books and at least 179 articles, Nelson was also prolific.
As Jordan Pierce of the Yale Daily News recently noted, “Nelson stands apart for his wit, lucidity and ability to incorporate a thoughtful, human perspective.” True of Nelson’s writing, as well as his design work. “Nelson tore the numbers from clocks,” explains Peirce, “he put clutter in ‘storage walls’ and turned workplaces into ‘Action Offices.’” By doing so, Nelson earned his position as a founder of American Modernism.
For an opportunity to see Nelson’s writings, alongside his other works, be sure to visit George Nelson: Architect | Writer | Designer | Teacher, a traveling exhibition currently showing at the Yale School of Architecture gallery.
Not in the New Haven area? The new George Nelson Foundation website is another great resource. Check it out here.
November 27, 2012
The last thing designer Marcel Wanders wants to be is boring. “There’s enough of that in life,” he says. “I’m interested in designing things that excite people and make them feel alive.” With a chair made out of knots and a chandelier called Happy Hour in his portfolio, Wanders is certainly on the right track.
For the Troy Chair, designed for Magis, Wanders created an intricate pattern inspired by the lush motifs of damask fabrics. The pattern, molded into the back of the chair’s plywood seat, imparts the modern profile with a romantic sensibility. The result is elegant, and, explains Wanders, a “lovely balance between new and old.”
Wanders’ prolific body of work, ranging from fashion accessories to lavish hotels, is represented in museums around the world, including the Museums of Modern Art in both New York and San Francisco and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Design, What's Up
November 26, 2012
How would you describe the Eames Lounge and Ottoman? For Charles Eames, the chair invoked the “warm receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s glove.” Composed of tufted-leather cushions and richly grained molded-plywood shells, the chair has been seen by others as a modern interpretation of a traditional English club chair.
Introduced in 1956, the Eames lounge and ottoman has become an icon of design—an icon built to last. Combining high-quality materials and craftsmanship, Charles and Ray Eames designed the chair to withstand the rigors of everyday life. And, much like Charles’ baseball glove, the lounge and ottoman only gets better with use.
If you’re interested in designs built to last, be sure to visit the HermanMiller Store or authorized retailer to shop the Herman Miller Sale. Save 15 percent on classics like the Eames Lounge and Ottoman, now until December 10, 2012.
Better World, Design, What's Up
November 20, 2012
In 2008, we began encouraging our employees to carpool and bike to work. Four years later, the program has resulted in 474,997 miles saved—that’s the equivalent of 19 trips around the earth’s equator.
Every year we collect information like miles saved, environmental emissions, and charitable activities into our Better World Report. We do this to let you know what we’re doing to reach our goals in four areas—community service, inclusiveness and diversity, health and well-being, and environmental advocacy. Are we perfect and do we always succeed? Of course not, but we believe every trip around the equator saved is a step in the right direction.
To learn how we turned 16 into 15,992, check out the new Better World Report.
Design, What's Up
November 19, 2012
In 1963, the Eames Office encouraged people to “Beware of imitations” and “Enjoy the comfort of the real thing.” Fifty years later, the issue of knockoffs has grown even more troublesome. That’s why Herman Miller has joined with Thonet, Maharam, and other manufactures, retailers, and designers to support the Authentic Design Alliance (ADA). A nonprofit organization, the ADA advocates stricter copyright laws to protect the quality, craftsmanship, and integrity that come with authentic design. One way you can show your support is by signing the ADA’s online petition. Open to everyone to sign, the petition will be delivered to Australian lawmakers in the ADA’s first effort at affecting change.
If you’re interested in authentic design, be sure to visit the HermanMiller Store during our holiday sale to save 15 percent storewide. Sale ends December 10, 2013.
Design, What's Up
November 15, 2012
For nearly 20 years, the Bouroullec bothers, Ronan and Erwan, have been partners in design. Working side by side, the two siblings have developed a close relationship that influences their approach to design. “We discuss everything openly and honestly with each other,” explains Erwan, “that’s important because often creativity does not come from a rational point of view but an emotional one.” Designs that balance problem solving with innovation and production process—the Steelwood Chair being a good example—are typical of the brothers’ work and proof that their approach works well.
An exhibition of Bouroullec designs is currently at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The show is entitled Bivouac—a word meaning a lightweight shelter that can be adapted to its environment—an apt metaphor for a traveling exhibition which immerses people in all aspects of the brothers’ designs, including sketches, prototypes, and objects large and small.
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec: Bivouac will be showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago until January 20, 2013. Learn more here.
November 12, 2012
In a big world, sometimes it’s the little things that stand out. A Mini Cooper zipping through traffic or a little iPad that fits in your pocket, some designs owe much to their diminutive size. The Eames Wire Base Low Table—LTR for short—is one such piece.
On it’s own or arranged in a row, dark tops beside light tops, veneer next to laminate—there’s no right or wrong way to use the LTR. Charles Eames demonstrated the fact in this photo shoot on the patio of the Eames House. So, if you’re in need of a place to serve hors d’oeuvres or a low stool or a part-time plant stand, don’t be afraid to grab this little table and get creative—Charles would be delighted if you did.
Looking to make a statement? Check out the Select Eames Wire Base Low Table, available for a limited time in three bold colors—cobalt blue, red-orange, yellow-gold.
November 8, 2012
Finding space to keep your things is just as much a problem today as it was in the 1940s, when George Nelson and fellow architect Henry Wright devised the Storagewall. It was designed to take the place of the traditional walls between the rooms in a home, and offered storage tailored to the function of the room.
Their concept for the multi-functional wall was presented in the 1945 Life article, “Storage Wall”—the first in a series of articles on the unique design challenges of what would soon be the postwar American home. Life built it’s own version of the Storagewall, and installed it in a New Jersey home. The article documented the many ways Storagewall could be used to provide structure, space delineation, and storage for any room—a clever solution for a culture enamored of the ephemera of the home.
It’s a solution that’s also timeless. The Storagewall concept could easily apply to current design challenges, like the increasing overlap between our work and personal lives. And the influence of Storagewall on contemporary storage designs is clear. Consider Herman Miller’s Meridian Storage, designed to offer more than just a place to keep files, paperclips, and rubber bands. The modular pieces function as seating, collaboration spaces, and power sources—a versatility reminiscent of Nelson and Wright’s pioneering design.
You can see Storagewall and other Nelson designs on display at the Yale School of Architecture Gallery until January 26, 2013, in an exhibit titled “George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher.”
November 5, 2012
Trained as an architect, but proficient in all manner of activities, Alexander Girard was introduced to Herman Miller through Charles Eames and George Nelson. In 1952, Girard established the Herman Miller Textile Division and served as its Director of Design until 1973. From his outpost in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he designed over 300 textiles, multiple collections of wallpaper, decorative prints and wall hangings, an expansive group of furniture, and both decorative and useful objects.
Introduced in 1952, Girard’s first textile collection for Herman Miller included a range of bold colors and versatile textures. To this foundation he went on to add woven patterns and printed designs. Unhampered by the style and taste of his day, Girard explored different approaches to color, pattern, texture, mood, and production method. The resulting body of work is not only staggering in volume and creativity, but due to its beauty and usefulness, remains completely relevant today.
Our first re-edition of Alexander Girard Textiles focuses on textures. Though often heralded for his patterns, Girard produced a body of woven textures for Herman Miller that are timeless and versatile. Each textile is faithfull in weave and color to its original, with one enhancement: each now uses the most advanced environmental constructions and materials available.
November 1, 2012
We believe that design is a process that begins with people. This philosophy began with our first Design Director Gilbert Rohde who said that design was the only honest way to make furniture that served people.
In healthcare, serving people means giving special attention to patients, nurses, doctors, and other people involved in the continuum of care. Herman Miller does this by understanding and empathizing with each person’s experience. We then do our best to share these insights with product development teams through reports, hallway conversations, and workshops. The results become the award-winning designs like the Oasis Overbed Table and Compass System.
Our people-approach to design was recently recognized by Planetree, a nonprofit and long-time advocate of patient-centered care. Invited to become a member of their Planetree Visionary Design Network (PVDN), Herman Miller works with the organization and its partners to inspire and create healing spaces that begin with people.