We’ve been observing, too. Our connections there began with George Nelson, Herman Miller’s famous design director. Here he is taking music lessons, flanked by his teachers. The photo is probably from his two-month tour of Japan, late 1957 to early 1958. A guest of the Japanese government, Nelson lectured in several cities and met with designers, manufacturers, and students.
Nelson first traveled to Tokyo in 1951, and became enamored of the city. He was fascinated by the care he observed in the design of all things. Even the most ordinary items received an attention that he found fascinating, as did the noted Japanese graphic designer Hikeyuki Oka. Nelson added a foreword to Oka’s book How to Wrap Five Eggs, a mid-60s classic of Japanese design.
Writing in the foreword, Nelson said that “what we have lost for sure is what this book is all about: a once-common sense of fitness in the relationships between hand, material, use and shape, and above all, a sense of delight in the look and feel of very ordinary, humble things.”
A sense of delight continues to energize us, as does a real connection to Japan. Fast forward 60 years after Nelson’s first trip there, and you’ll find our latest touchpoint: the Herman Miller store in Tokyo. Opened in January of this year, the store makes great design available to consumers, from chairs and desks to games and toys.
Help Us Act
As with everyone in Japan and the world, we are preoccupied with helping the country rebuild after the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the Sendai area. The disaster has prompted us, and our employees, to make donations to the relief efforts. Find out more about what we’re doing and how you can help make a difference. Thank you.