Advancements come in all shapes and sizes. Some are big ideas, like the suspension material of the Aeron Chair that replaced the foam and fabric typical to so many office chairs. Others are smaller advancements, resulting in an improved process, or, in this case, a better way to build a chair.
A recent advancement on our SAYL Chair assembly line is saving time, money, and nearly 25,000 pounds of packaging materials a year. How? By developing reusable packaging, we’ve eliminated handling steps and material waste. Previously, the Y-Towers of the SAYL Chair were bundled, boxed, wrapped, and shipped to the facility with the assembly line. Upon arrival, the towers were unboxed, placed on a cart, and moved to the line. Now the Y-Towers simply arrive ready for assembly.
It’s part of our culture to look for advancements, whether they’re the Aeron Chair or a new way to package parts.
Fifty years ago, Alexander Girard, the head of Herman Miller’s Textile Division from 1952 to 1973, introduced this playful design and called it “January.” Girard’s distinctive combination of color, originality, and spirit came from his love of folk art, his world travels, and his delightfully curious personality.
Here’s hoping the optimism of Girard’s design inspires you in this new year. Click here to download one of six free desktop wallpapers featuring “January” for your computer, mobile, or tablet device.
Apparently, when it comes to snowflakes, we’ve been misinformed.
Adriana, a young and energetic participant in We Care, fills me in, “There’s a factory up in the clouds, stamping the snow, and that’s what’s shaping the snowflakes. They could be the same or different—it depends.”
It’s undetermined whether this explanation had anything to do with the holiday card she was decorating at the time—covered in silver ink-stamped snowflakes.
Here in Holland, Michigan, Adriana was one of 225 kids and 50 employee volunteers stamping, gluing, and coloring during the Herman Miller-sponsored arts and crafts extravaganza known as We Care.
Steve Hightower, a Herman Miller employee and avid volunteer of six years, said his favorite part is “seeing the kids smiling and running around. They get a chance to do crafts that maybe they wouldn’t otherwise. It’s really cool.”
This year marks the 16th anniversary of We Care, our partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of America and local design firms. We Care reaches 30 communities across North America and this holiday, more than 6,000 youngsters came to craft.
“I never thought of myself as an artist and couldn’t bear the word.”
She objected to the generality of the label, but her comments about her interdisciplinary approach to art and design provide an intriguing contrast:
“It was natural for me not to separate them, you know—now you study history, now you study dance, now you study music, or now you study pottery or whatever it is—it all seemed to be one thing. “
Of Ray’s many artistic pursuits—painting, film, textiles, fashion, and furniture design—perhaps the most personal was her proclivity for making interesting arrangements with found objects. Of her curious habit, she said:
“Almost everything that was ever collected was an example of some facet of design and form. We never collected anything as just collectors, but because something was inherent in the piece that made it seem like a good idea to be looking at it. “
It’s always a good idea to revisit the work of Charles and Ray Eames, especially in light of the 100th anniversary of Ray’s birth on Saturday, December 15, 2012. We celebrate Ray’s life and work as a painter, collector, and designer.
Drawing 680 galleries, 2,000 artists, and more than 50,000 collectors from around the globe, Art Basel Miami Beach is one of the world’s premier art shows. If you’re an art lover, it’s the place to see works from cutting-edge newcomers alongside pieces by renowned artists.
For the second year in a row, we were the show’s exclusive furniture sponsor. Across the venue—in lounges, restaurants, and VIP areas—people took a break from browsing art and enjoyed furniture from the Herman Miller Collection.
Also on display at Art Basel was a sneak peek of Then X Ten, a traveling exhibition celebrating Herman Miller’s rich history of poster design.
Art Basel was December 6-8, 2012. Couldn’t make it? Check us out on Facebook for more photos from the event.
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.
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.
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.