What's Up, Work/Life
July 12, 2012
Many things, of course, and certainly the workplace’s architecture and furniture (maybe even where the boss sits). But primary among them is to know something about how people are feeling, what they’re thinking, what motivates them, and, yes, what irritates them. Community Pulse—an interactive tool we offered recently to our website and trade show visitors—gauged what’s on people’s minds when it comes to work. Their answers fed into a real-time infographic that added to responses from the larger community. We hope this Q&A exercise will get all of us thinking about what fosters community in the workplace.
June 11, 2012
Every year around this time in June, Herman Miller joins others in Chicago for NeoCon, a contract furniture tradeshow. Much like the major auto shows, this is when brands debut their new designs. This year we have some new treats on display. Explore the slideshow to learn more.
See what else we’re up to at NeoCon 2012, click here.
What's Up, Work/Life
June 7, 2012
If your job were a game, would it be like Angry Birds? Or Whack-A-Mole? See how your answer compares with everyone else’s by taking the Community Pulse—thought-provoking questions on work, life, and that fuzzy area in-between.
You can answer just one question, or all of them. It’s up to you. After you answer each question, a real-time infographic will show you what the larger community is saying.
Join in the conversation by taking the Community Pulse, click here.
Design, What's Up
June 13, 2011
People work together–in pairs and groups large and small–collaborating in the workplace is a way of life. And it happens everywhere in the office, not just at the workstation. This year, our focus at Neocon is supporting the places–formal and informal–where people are working together.
NeoCon is the annual contract furniture tradeshow held every year at the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago. Today is the first day and our showroom is packed with well-dressed people sitting, standing, and meandering as they check out our latest products.
Stop by if you’re in the area, Neocon runs June 13-15, and see what we have to offer, or just have a seat and rest your tired feet–we have lots of good choices. The Herman Miller showroom is located on the third floor of the Mart, or visit the Herman Miller Lounge on the first floor in the south lobby.
Design, Technology, What's Up
April 11, 2011
Free-flowing action with smooth adjustability, a unique visual indicator weight gauge, and compatibility with touch screen technology–these innovations appear together in our Flo monitor arm, which is sweeping design competitions around the world. And not just any design competitions. Most recently, Flo received a 2010 Red Dot award from what many consider the largest and most distinguished international design competition. It also received the office furniture industry’s coveted 2010 Best of NeoCon award in Technology Support and the 2010 National Ergonomics Conference and Exposition Attendees’ Choice award.
Flo is one of several technology support products designed by our U.K.-based subsidiary Colebrook Bosson Saunders (CBS). In fact, CBS manufactured the market’s first monitor arm back in the 1980s. The company is committed to providing adjustable workspaces that promote a healthy and productive working environment, which makes it exciting to spread the news about products like Flo.
August 23, 2010
Designers have such fun jobs, don’t they? Take Debra Toppel, for example. She created the gorgeous floral arrangements for Herman Miller’s showroom at NeoCon. From there, she joined the crew as head greens foreman for the movie, “What You Don’t Know,” starring Vince Vaughn and directed by Ron Howard, where she oversaw “many, many hundreds of square feet” of landscaping on the set.
“I love it all,” said Toppel about her wide-ranging projects, which sometimes call for “inventing” her own creations.
Toppel started out as a retail florist in Chicago, where her reputation for excellence led to set design jobs for movies being filmed in the Windy City. She says her favorite projects are those that require her to “invent something I’ve never done before, where I have to take my experience and say, All right, how can I Frankenstein this into something that will work…”
Like when the American Girl doll company asked her to create a winter fantasy forest with 12-foot oak trees looking like they were lining Michigan Avenue. Or when companies like Glade and Herbal Essence want her to create flowers for their packaging that don’t really exist in nature. “I go to the hardware store and find things that are made for one purpose and use them for something else,” says Toppel. “I love to let my eye expand, to look at (an object) and then morph it into what it needs to do for the particular situation.”
She says she has a “wild passion” for her work and enjoys the small jobs as much as the large ones. “I still like doing corporate work because it keeps my hands in the real world, seeing what the trends are, what’s happening in real life. When you’re working on films, it’s like ‘acting’ with flowers; it’s more about the whole show; nothing should pop out at you.” The arrangements she did for Herman Miller, however, did pop out at you – in a good way. “NeoCon is almost a visceral experience for me,” states Toppel. “It’s like the Superbowl of floral design, demanding the highest attention to detail and quality. And I have to say, working for Herman Miller is a true honor. There are certain design standards in the industry that are considered exceptionally important, and we all know where Herman Miller stands on that.”
Toppel says she’s humbled by her success, especially in the film industry. “I actually have a degree in film production so it’s interesting how I turned left and wound up in the center, you know?”
It is. And Ron Howard, among others, is probably pretty happy she did.
July 2, 2010
Herman Miller’s beautiful outdoor plant display, created for NeoCon, has a new home. Although it wasn’t designed as a healing garden, it will surely be a source of comfort to the women and children of Madonna House, a homeless shelter for victims of domestic violence, where the trees, flowers and bushes now reside.
It was all part of a plan that blossomed into a feel good story with a great outcome. It started when the Herman Miller folks responsible for the plant display decided to donate it after NeoCon. Herman Miller’s A&D Rep in Chicago, Alan Almasy suggested Designs for Dignity (D4D), a non-profit group whose mission is engaging the design community to bring good design to those who can least afford it.
D4D volunteers had completed the interior of the shelter last winter, so the timing was perfect. “And a garden is such a serene and wonderful healing environment,” says Michelle Weiner, who serves on the D4D board and is V.P. Strategic Development at Interior Investments, Herman Miller’s Chicago dealership.
So on Friday, June 18, a hot, muggy morning, volunteers from Herman Miller, Interior Investments, area design firms, students, and the Madonna House/Catholic Charities Administrative team arrived with shovels in hand to transform a barren backyard into a lush, green garden.
Christy Webber, owner of the landscaping company that originally created the display for Herman Miller, also donated her services, equipment and manpower to help out. “It’s the best volunteer crew I’ve ever seen!” she said of the hard-working task force.
And the people at Madonna House couldn’t be happier with the results. As Morgan Henington of Catholic Charities said, “This ‘forever gift’ is so pretty and vibrant. It’s already attracting butterflies and will bring so much pleasure to our moms and their children.”
And get this: to complete the circle, the garden will be maintained by a city-sponsored program called “Green Corps Chicago,” which provides green-industry training and permanent job placement for dozens of Chicagoans every year.
And to think it all started with one little idea someone planted that just grew…and grew…and grew…
June 25, 2010
If you didn’t make it to NeoCon this year, you missed something quite surprising and lovely – a stately “green oasis” sitting serenely alongside the truck convoy at the Merchandise Mart. It was a startling break from tradition (major manufacturers always line up their semis at the Mart), and it all started with an idea…that grew…and grew…and grew…
“It was disruptive, but in a very positive way,” states Sheila Warfield, Director of Presence Marketing for Herman Miller about the flower, plant and tree-lined display. Which is exactly the reaction she and her group hoped for when the idea sprouted to do something different at this year’s show.
“It was a way to express who we are as a company in a manner that was not only literally green, but that showed we think differently. We wanted to send a subtle signal to people that Herman Miller is always the first to step outside the box and do something fun and innovative.”
As she further explains, “At NeoCon, we only have three days to show and tell a lot. Our environmental message is typically woven throughout the story of our furnishings and our long-standing commitment to sustainability. This display allowed us to send that message in a quiet, way, with grace and humility.”
And charity. Because what’s even cooler is that Herman Miller partnered with Designs 4 Dignity, a non-profit group based in Chicago, to donate the entire display to Madonna House, a homeless and domestic violence shelter serving women and children.
More about the planting day next week.
Design, What's Up
June 18, 2010
It’s back to business as usual at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. From June 14-16, however, tens of thousands of architecture and design professionals, facility managers, and dealers and distributors traversed the halls and showrooms in the massive Mart, which spans two entire city blocks on the bank of the Chicago River.
After 42 years, NeoCon has developed into North America’s largest design exposition and conference for commercial interiors. It’s a time when exhibitors such as Herman Miller introduce new products and services for the workplace and discuss concepts behind future product introductions, including the eCoupled technology. Ask anyone from the office furniture industry about NeoCon and the response usually begins with an amenable smile followed by a description that includes a comparison to what the North American International Auto Show means to the North American auto industry.
And always popular with NeoCon exhibitors and attendees are the awards. It was a thrill to be recognized this year for our product designs and manufacturing practices. Our Healthcare division took home two prestigious awards, including the Large Showroom award in the IIDA Showroom and Booth Design Competition and a Best of NeoCon Gold in the Healthcare Furniture category for its new Compass system. In addition, the Flo monitor arm by Herman Miller company Colebrook Bosson Saunders received a Best of NeoCon Silver award in the Technology Support category and the OFDA presented us with the 2010 Manufacturer of the Year Gold award.
NeoCon also is a time for reconnecting with customers and friends, making new acquaintances, and demonstrating the qualities that differentiate us from others in our industry. Next year’s show already is on the calendar for June 13-15, and the increase in attendance this year indicates that it will remain a very popular event for this industry.
June 16, 2010
This week at NeoCon, Herman Miller Healthcare celebrated the opening of its new showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart and its recognition as a Large Showroom Winner in the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Showroom and Booth Design Competition.
The prestigious award honors originality of design, visual impact, effective use of materials, and the outstanding use of space, color, texture, lighting, and graphics.
NeoCon showrooms typically consider the convergence of a company’s employees, products, environmental sensibilities, and graphic expressions. Our new space particularly was designed to convey our knowledge about healthcare facility design and practices, and comprehensive product portfolio.
With the recent acquisitions of Brandrud and Nemschoff, Herman Miller Healthcare possesses the most comprehensive healthcare furnishings portfolio in the industry. We chose to demonstrate this portfolio through a broad range of applications that feature a variety of products, including our award-winning Compass system.
Together, Herman Miller Healthcare, Brandrud, and Nemschoff have a tremendous portfolio of innovative, high performance products designed to improve the healing environment.