Design, What's Up
June 19, 2012
George Nelson: Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher, is a traveling exhibit exploring many facets of Nelson’s peculiar brand of genius, from furniture designs to urban planning to essays and criticism.
As Herman Miller Design Director from 1946-1972, Nelson believed a problem should never been viewed in isolation from the context in which it exists—the most important being people. He observed this to be “an approach that is more likely to create trends than follow them.” Nelson was right, and his philosophy drew the Eameses, Isamu Noguchi, and Alexander Girard to Herman Miller.
The exhibit runs until October at the Cranbrook Museum of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and marks one of just five stops in the U.S. for the extensive collection of artifacts and Nelson furniture.
June 27, 2011
As part of Design Now, a series connecting important designers and thinkers with Herman Miller, I had the opportunity to meet Sam Hecht and Kim Colin, founders of London-based Industrial Facility. Together, they shared their perspective on the junction between industrial design and the world around us. Here’s a bit from our conversation:
What influence does the landscape have on a product? And the product on the landscape?
Hecht: “If people are in equilibrium with the objects, the furniture, the room, and so on, then you begin to change the way you perceive the object. It becomes more truthful.
The example we often give is a glass of water. You cannot just see a glass of water without seeing the surface it sits on, the room it is in, the building that holds the room, the city where the building is grounded… that simple glass of water is no more or less important than the landscape and the people around it”.
Colin: “The products we work on, we hope, acknowledge more of the world in this way. Sometimes they don’t have to do as much, because other things are already doing it—they don’t always need to do more. It’s also important to think of the object beyond its moment of use. There is another function beyond this — living with it.”
Your clients are all over the world, is it possible these days to design something for one culture?
Colin: “We are often asked to design for a specific market. But because of the way we question what we are given, we naturally make the problem larger. The brief is specified for a local condition, and the product must make a local connection. But there are many global influences that lean on the local condition–a kind of ambient influence. So we identify with those as well. The product must be small (local), as well as big (global).
Mostly, we see how [a product] fits within a much broader picture, not just in the world culturally, but how it fits with the way behaviors are changing, not just here, but as much as possible, everywhere.”
April 12, 2011
Last Thursday night, in the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th Street in Manhattan, the glitterati of the graphics world gathered to honor two companies and three individuals. The American Institute of Graphic Arts awarded our Herman Miller colleague and graphic design superstar Steve Frykholm its Gold Medal. This award recognized Steve for a lifetime of achievement, much of it on Herman Miller’s behalf. His leadership and spirit have shaped Herman Miller’s graphics for 40 years. Now he joins a list of every other noted graphic designer I’ve ever heard of.
The AIGA also honored Tiffany & Co. and Method for corporate achievement. Two other Gold Medals went to John Maeda and Jennifer Morla. Steve was in good company and good form. He and his wife, Nancy Phillips, beamed the entire evening.
Herman Miller Journal
November 4, 2010
Last Monday, The Today Show began a three-part story about civility in the United States–or rather the lack of it. From political leaders to sports figures to everyday people on reality shows, there seems to be a growing lack of respect in word and deed. Some blame technology (read “cell phones”), some blame parents.
This is not a new problem. One of Herman Miller’s iconic designers, Bill Stumpf, and I wrote a book about the subject 12 years ago. He and I explored civility–a long-time interest of Stumpf’s–and how people can restore to their lives through design. That is, in fact, the subtitle of the book: The Ice Palace that Melted Away: Restoring Civility and Other Lost Virtues to Everyday Life.
Watch the segments on The Today Show, read Stumpf’s book, and become an advocate for civility in your workplace, your relationships, and your life in general. We will all be better for it.
Herman Miller Journal, Well-Being
February 26, 2010
One of the great design features at our Design Yard facility in Holland, Michigan, is a walkway that extends from one end of the building to the other. Lined with windows and without doors to negotiate, the walkway is a great space to meet people, exhibit art and creative projects, look outside, and exercise.
This last option fits in with our Health Management Program, which includes bicycle commuting, fitness programs, and flu shots. Why just the other day, as I was walking to lunch, I was nearly run over by the group in this picture. As I rounded a corner, they came barreling along, talking away, and intent on doing their noon-time walk. We all smiled, said hello, and I thought, “That’s one of the things I like about this place—work is part of life, and not the other way round.”
Herman Miller Journal
August 3, 2009
You can’t imagine how great it is to see our company newspaper, Spirit, come out for the third year in a row. We do it on a shoestring budget with volunteer help from many employee-writers, photographers, and editors. I’m one of the editors, and reading Spirit is the best way to find out about all the great things that go on at Herman Miller—environmental work, volunteer programs, business triumphs. In a company of 4,000 employees, it’s amazing the variety of interests and depth of feeling among Herman Miller people all over the world. Spirit is 40 pages of life at Herman Miller over the past year!
By Clark Malcolm
Herman Miller Journal
June 26, 2009
Herman Miller recently lost a great friend, and in many ways, a founding father, Carl Frost. “Jack,” as many friends called him, died at the age of 94.
June 7, 2009
There’s a changing of the guard going on at Herman Miller when it comes to design. We are working with the new convenant partners to guide design at Herman Miller for the next couple of decades. Don Goeman, Herman Miller’s executive vice president of research, design and development, interviews five design partners.
May 4, 2009
Illustration credit: Marina Sagona
What do I know about the Web? Does it connect me and my office at home to anything meaningful? Does it weigh a package so that I don’t have to schlep down to the post office for the right postage? Does it ask me how I’m feeling and wish me a good day? Does it explain a sunrise or keep me in touch with my brothers hundreds of miles away? Well, yes and no.