What's Up, Work/Life
August 30, 2012
Maybe you prefer jazz while on the job, or to waltz while at work. Alliterations aside, if you’re not listening to music in the office, you may be missing out.
“Music breaks you out of just one way of thinking,” explains Dr. Lesiuk of the University of Miami in a recent New York Times article. Music does this by improving our mood, which reduces stress and encourages creative thinking. A study conducted by Dr. Lesiuk even suggested that music can benefit productivity, as long as a person is not a novice to the task at hand.
So which type of music is best? Dr. Sood of the Mayo Clinic recommends music without lyrics. But most importantly, it should be something you enjoy. So if the song stylings of Weird Al bring a smile to your face, then that’s all that matters—just be sure to invest in a good pair of headphones to be kind to those around you.
What do we listen to while at work? Visit Herman Miller’s Lifework Blog for a weekly playlist from our creative network.
Design, What's Up
August 21, 2012
George Nelson was passionate about design and when he joined Herman Miller he quickly set about transforming us from a small manufacturer of residential furniture into a company driven by design. In his introduction to the 1948 Herman Miller catalog, Nelson articulated a set of principles that continue to guide us today: what we make is important; design is integral; the product must be honest; we decide what we make; a market for good design exists.
In 1984, George Nelson sat down and reflected on his time at Herman Miller. The resulting essay is insightful, honest, and full of stories told with keen recollection. We decided to share the essay with FastCompany, which began publishing it as a series beginning this week. Check it out and let us know what you think.
Design, What's Up
August 20, 2012
From product ads to movie propaganda to concert promotions, posters are a compelling vehicle for telling stories, communicating ideas, and capturing history.
Then X Ten: The Power of the Poster is a new exhibit showcasing unique Herman Miller posters designed by ten of the world’s foremost graphic artists. In addition, a collection of vintage Herman Miller posters, curated by Herman Miller Creative Director, Steve Frykholm, is also on display.
Showing at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne, Australia, Then X Ten: The Power of the Poster is free and open to the public from August 14th through August 25th.
Design, What's Up
August 13, 2012
You may not know his name, but you’ve likely seen Kam Tang’s art grace the album covers of The Chemical Brother and Gnarls Barkley, or in ads for Burberry and Adidas. His work is typified by meticulous attention to detail and constant reinvention. Invited by Herman Miller to create a poster for Then X Ten, Tang choose the Aeron chair—the work chair of choice in his home studio.
Herman Miller’s Asia Pacific blog recently spoke with Tang:
Can you share with us some early ideas of what you will be working on to create your poster for Herman Miller?
I’ll be creating a poster for the Aeron chair. I use one myself and love it on many levels. At the moment I’m exploring which facet to communicate.
What are some of your tools of the trade?
My brain, pen and paper, graphic design software like Illustrator and Photoshop, and a camera.
Describe a typical day at the office?
Morning cup of coffee, check some emails and news feeds, then start working.
Do you have any rituals before beginning an illustration?
No rituals, I just read the brief and starting with a pen and paper.
Has technology influenced your work?
It has taken a lot of the mundane and time-consuming aspects out of the process, but not without the dangers of removing the human touch.
Do you feel like a citizen of the world in terms of your trade, or are there geographic anchors to your work as an illustrator?
Yes, with the internet every person, act or event is on the global stage. Geographically, I can pretty much work anywhere with my laptop, but you can’t beat being at home!
August 7, 2012
Photo: Molly Wald, Best Friends Animal Society
Where can you get your daily fix of all three? Pinterest
, of course.
Online content sharing sites like Pinterest help you sift through infinite online content to find images and messages that surprise and delight. Using Pinterest, we can all be curators of our own little digital museums, where we can organize and share beautiful, interesting, funny, and helpful images found during our travels online.
Pinterest is a great way to find meaning and inspiration in the dizzying barrage of information that’s just a touch or click away. We also think it’s a great place to view images of mid-century modern furniture, as well as cool ideas for offices at home and in the workplace.
Check out Herman Miller on Pinterest.
Design, What's Up
August 6, 2012
A self-described jack-of-all-trades, artist Sanghon Kim moves seamlessly between media and often mixes them up in mysterious ways. Watercolor, drawing, or computer graphics, the viewer can never really be sure. With such a strong visual language, it’s not a surprise that Kim has attracted the attention of clients like Nike, Hermès, and most recently Herman Miller. One of ten collaborators to Then X Ten, Sanghon Kim has applied his considerable skill to create a new poster for the upcoming exhibition.
Herman Miller’s Asia Pacific blog recently spoke with Kim:
You choose the Eames Walnut Stool, can you tell a little about how you will incorporate it into your poster design?
It’s about the content and the container. I wanted to take the stool and use it to create architecture. There are columns which can be seen as trunks of a fantastic forest. I also referred to the material. Walnut Boy, a character was inspired by one of my daughter’s drawings, lightens the scene and symbolizes the joyful spirit of the Eames. He is smaller than a man so that the columns can look bigger.
How did your style come about? When did you know it was right?
My style was influenced by all the artists that I admired. I guess you know it’s right when you feel free enough to have your own ideas and do your own thing.
How has your approach design evolved? Do you have any rituals or routines?
I take more time to think and take notes before even sketching.
Design, What's Up
August 2, 2012
Old family photos, 1950s fashion catalogs, and other paper ephemera are the building blocks from which illustrator Eda Akaltun constructs her detailed collages. Invoking a sense of nostalgia, her unique style has graced the pages of The Telegraph, Harvard Business Review, and, most recently, the BAFTA awards and invitations. Herman Miller has commissioned Akaltun to create a new poster to be unveiled at Then X Ten, an upcoming exhibition celebrating the power of the poster. Akaltun has been kind enough to give a sneak peek at her early concept.
Can you tell us a little about the poster you’re creating for Then X Ten?
I am working with the Eames Molded Plywood Chair and was inspired by its creators Charles and Ray Eames and their famous house. The Eameses were playful in their approach to design and created pieces that were meant to work in any environment: home, school, or in the office.
In my poster I’m illustrating four rooms, each depicting a different contexts for the chairs. Charles and Ray will be characters interacting in the spaces. I want the image to be as playful as they were.
You have a unique style, how did it come about?
When I was at Central Saint Martins, the pace of projects was so fast that I began using collage to express myself quickly. While there I also became interested in all forms of printmaking. I ended up merging these techniques and over time the style I work in today began to develop.
What are some of the tools you use?
I have a large collection of old photos, magazines, fabrics, catalogs, and general ephemera, mostly from the 1950s. I also kept prints I made during university and use them as textures in my collages. All of these help me build layers, textures, and colors in my digital work
July 31, 2012
From a Bauhaus dollhouse to Pee-wee’s Playhouse to Slinky and the Sims, design for children is the topic of a new MoMA exhibit entitled, “Century of the Child.” Among the postwar contributors are designers Charles and Ray Eames.
It should come as no surprise that a couple like Charles and Ray, who showed such child-like exuberance themselves, would have designed for children. Animal masks, kites, “The Toy” building kit, a “Do-Nothing Machine,” and the House of Cards are all playful examples. On view at MoMA are the Hang-It-All and a child’s chair—one of the Eameses’ first successful molded plywood furniture designs.
“Century of the Child” is open now through November 5, 2012.
Design, What's Up
July 30, 2012
Swiss graphic designer Felix Pfäffli lives and works in Lucerne, where he runs his own studio and lectures at the Lucerne School of Graphic Design. On August 14, Felix will be unveiling a new Herman Miller poster he designed as part of Then x Ten, an exhibition celebrating the power of the poster.
Herman Miller’s Asia Pacific blog recent spoke with Pfäffli:
What led you to pursue a career as a graphic designer?
I don’t know. I kind of always enjoyed designing things. And to be honest, I really do not know what else I could do. It is simply the thing I enjoy most.
Do you have and any rituals or routines you follow before embarking on an design?
I usually start with some comprehensive research. I read myself into the subject, talk with people who are well informed, collect images, write down thoughts, and look for correlations between the subject and the visual language.
I work almost exclusively on the computer, but I’m pretty sure I never had a useful idea in front of a computer. The ideas come from somewhere: on a walk, shopping, talking to someone. The computer is simply my design tool, as the brush is for the artist.
What element of design could you not live without?
I create and look for the beauty in things every day, but to be honest there isn’t one element that’s more important to me. It is much more about the moment when I see something beautiful, something perfect, that moves me. It’s the surprise.
What advice would you give to aspiring art makers?
Make big plans.
Design, What's Up
July 26, 2012
What if someone sculpted the objects in your office in nickel, turning everything into a mirror? What would the scene say about you, your work, and your world? Nicolas Baier’s “Vanitas,” inspired by the artist’s own office, poses these questions and more.
The installation is like a fun house hall of mirrors eerily devoid of human reflections. Baier houses the sculpture in one-way glass and covers the objects—a computer, a tangle of chords, an Eames Aluminum Group Chair—in mirrors. You can look at the installation and the objects within as you would an exhibit in a zoo, but you cannot see your own reflection.
The mirrors in Baier’s office may not reflect, but they do cast light on a compelling truth. Whether you are an artist, an architect, a designer, or an engineer, your office tells a story about who you are and the way you work.