This is the second of a two-part series about Herman Miller’s Materials Program. To read the first post, see “Materials Website: So Simple Even I Can Do It.”
I don’t envy designers their task of deciding which fabrics and finishes to choose for furniture. With so many choices and constraints to deal with, I hear it can be a complex and frustrating process. But it’s also typically the favorite part of their job because it’s a chance to get creative. So to make things easier, more gratifying, and more fun, Herman Miller revamped its Materials Program. They’ve made it simple, logical, and closely aligned with how designers and specifiers like to think about and use materials.
In addition to the online Materials Program, Herman Miller developed a new way for designers to interact with the choices the company offers. The Materials Collection, a sensibly-sized, permanently bound, recyclable set of books, contains complete swatch presentations for the entire textile and finish offering. The Collection is housed in four Baltic birch plywood slipcases. Nice. Reliable. Easy to use. So easy even a writer could do it.
Susan Lyons, who designed the invigorated offering, says, “We approach material design just as we approach the design of a product: honoring our legacy while looking ahead to the future and guided by the same principles.” They include:
Honest: The design of the product and its materials are inextricably joined.
Satisfying: The materials experience must deliver pleasure and contentment.
Respectful: We recognize that materials are made from precious and dwindling resources.
Healthful: Our materials must be good, feel good, and look good.
Smart: Our products use technology thoughtfully and with purpose.
Lively: Materials should be fun. They should delight, surprise and make you smile.
Unified: Materials must be logical and systematic, working across product lines, while allowing for differences and personalization.
Simple: Easy to use, easy to maintain. The content and organization of the Collection corresponds with the website, so they can be used hand in hand.