That was Stephen Boyd’s response to the Herman Miller Education Solutions team’s question for college students: “Where Do You Learn Best?” Boyd was the first place winner of our first video contest encouraging students to capture on camera what makes an ideal location for learning. The contest was targeted toward full-time students attending 2-or 4-year U.S. colleges or universities.
Contest entries were accepted from January 22 through March 26, 2010. Representatives from the Herman Miller Education Solutions team selected three finalists who best represented creativity, originality, and appropriateness to the theme. Prizes were in the form of Visa gift cards: $2500 for first place; $1500 for second place; and $1000 for third place.
What do you get when you get when you tell students at Pratt Institute to immerse themselves in another culture and create products that demonstrate they understood what the experience was all about? Well, you get boxes that turn into chairs, ceramic wallets, kinetic toys—and a whole lot more.
It’s all part of a partnership with Herman Miller whereby industrial design students were charged with coming up with a theme, then executing their ideas in a competition. The prize? A booth at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). The students’ theme “Empathy for Culture” and the resulting creations won them a place at the show.
Herman Miller lent some of its people, namely Fabienne Munch, Gary Smith, and Tim McLoughlin, to provide guidance to the students throughout the creative process.
“Empathy for culture is beyond feeling for others,” said Fabienne, Director of Ideation for Herman Miller. “It appeals to a peculiar understanding of a culture’s own dialectics: what’s visible, what’s invisible or taken for granted; what’s felt, what’s cognitive; what’s conscious, what’s unconscious; what’s symbolic, what’s ephemeral?”
“They helped us to not only focus on our concepts, but also made us realize that our ideas were valid as designers,” Sara McBeen, a graduate student at Pratt, said about the guidance provided by Herman Miller. “Each of us found our own way to stay true and honest to the messages we were trying to communicate with our pieces. These kinds of opportunities are invaluable in shaping where we will go from here.”
McBeen’s project, the Aata table, “reflects the coming together, socializing, and sharing so strongly exhibited in Middle Eastern culture,” which she chose to investigate after traveling there and “appreciating their generosity, goodness, and hospitality.”
Last week, Herman Miller’s own creative director, Steve Frykholm, was named one of three recipients of the 2010 AIGA Medal–the highest honor of the graphic design profession. It’s awarded to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements, services, or other contributions to the field of design and visual communication. Along with John Maeda and Jennifer Morla, Steve will be presented with the award at the AIGA Design Legends Gala in 2011.
AIGA executive director Richard Grefé said, “AIGA is proud to recognize the 2010 Medalists for their exceptional contributions to the field of design. Each has contributed to the way design can intrigue the spirit, engage curiosity, enhance business, explore creative use of visual technique, and communicate value that is respected by business, society and our popular culture.”