Balance, Design, Products
December 1, 2010
We are really excited to be part of this Sunday’s episode of Extreme Makeover. As you can see from these photos we trucked in quite a bit of furniture! You’ll have to wait til Sunday to see how it all comes together but we can tell you to keep your eye out for the Eames walnut stool, Yves Behar’s Leaf light and the Nelson platform bench (there’s actually a long list – which you can check out here. I don’t think you’ll have trouble spotting!) I’m fascinated to see how they have folded our pieces into what looks like a pretty traditional house.
And if you see anything you like we’ve collected all the pieces that appeared on the show here.
Design, Products, Technology
October 18, 2010
This week we’ve joined many of our authorized retailers‘ online and bricks and mortar stores and opened our own virtual doors. We are inviting you to come and explore Herman Miller’s own official store. From a home office angle there’s a ton of great designs to choose from with the content broken up by rooms (just choose the ‘Working‘ tab in the Shop by Room category). Also make sure you check out the Care and Maintenance section – it’s a feature we think you’ll like. How do you clean chrome? Or wood veneer? Or laminate? All the info is there now at your fingertips.
Let us know what you think about the new site. It’s always good to hear from you.
Design, Products, Technology
September 27, 2010
We continue our interview series with the artists behind the Design for You painted Eames rockers. Here’s Christopher Lee, a graphic artist with a penchant for toys and organized chaos.
How long have you worked in your current studio? And where is it? I left my job last October to work as a full-time freelance illustrator. My studio is the second bedroom in the townhouse that I rent.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? I experiment with a lot of different styles and don’t really feel bound by just one. My favorite style to work in usually mixes handmade textural qualities, muted color palettes, simple characters and type. I would describe my aesthetic as minimal but with whimsical undertones.
As an artist how do you keep your space organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? I shove all of my paperwork under the rug! I actually wish I had more formal places for things. My closet is fairly messy but all of my pens, paper, packing supplies and other various things I use on a daily basis are close at hand. Actually my whole office is organized chaos because I like to fill my space with as much inspiration as possible. It’s a little messy in that regard but I have a whole house that I can keep clean. In regards to my computer, I find FontExplorer X Pro invaluable for organizing my fonts. I’ve tried other programs in the past, but this one takes the cake for me.
Tell me about the experience of painting the Eames chair? How much prep did you have to do? What inspired the final design? Painting the Eames chair presented a bunch of different challenges for me. This was the first time I’ve ever painted anything. That was was probably the biggest hurdle for me to get over. I sketched the piece first and then brought it into Illustrator where I planned the colors and finalized the composition. I printed out the illustration and started mixing colors and writing down the ratios so that when it came time to painting the actual chair I could focus on just the painting part. I was inspired by the idea of a shepherd in nature. An entity of sorts that guides and oversees all that is living.
What inspires you? I really dig the mid-century modern furniture and architecture. There was just so much design history during that period. I’m also a fan of this DIY “Etsy” movement that is influencing a lot of things these days. My girlfriend is always a constant inspiration along with our Boston Terrier, Ponzu.
What would you change about your workspace if you could? I wish I had more space. Everything is pretty cozy at the moment.
What do you most love about your space? I love my vintage 80’s/early 90’s toy collection. The corner that my desk is situated in is my own little nostalgic retreat. If I’m feeling stressed all I have to do is glance at something and I’m transported back to 1989.
September 24, 2010
With all the prizes now unlocked in our Design for You competition all you need to do is enter your email to be eligible to win. There are still 5 designs to win plus the painted Eames rockers. And, as a little – or rather big – extra we’ve also included an Aeron chair. The way to win that chair is to get your friends and family to sign up. The one with the most signatures will win the chair. You can read all about it here. Good luck!
Balance, Design, Products
September 22, 2010
Susan Huls, the editor of our sister blog, Discover reported on Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize. Sounds like a great event.
“Herman Miller’s former President and CEO Max DePree once advised us all to “make room for people who have unusual and creative gifts.” Enter ArtPrize—the international art show and competition based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Grand Rapids is a burgeoning city that is making its mark among design and innovation circles. It also happens to be minutes away from our Zeeland headquarters.
ArtPrize provides us a fantastic opportunity to support creativity within our local community. In fact, we’ll be sponsoring a central resource center for ArtPrize called The Hub, which is located downtown in the Old Federal Building. From September 22 to October 10, The Hub will host a visitor center, voter registration area, artist lounge, and volunteer offices—all furnished with our products.
ArtPrize and its prize money—totaling $449,000—have proven to attract a tremendous amount of talent and votes, but they also attract a community excited about art and its city. It’s a great event and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.
September 20, 2010
This week’s Design for You prize is a signed copy of Steve Frykholm’s Lemonade poster (below). Here Frykholm and Clark Malcolm, who has been a writer and editor at Herman Miller for more than 20 years, chat about the company picnic that began the poster series, Lilliputians, the Peace Corp and how you decide to stop printing such iconic posters.
But first a bit of background: Frykholm, who is Herman Miller’s Creative Director, VP and recipient of the 2010 AIGA Medal, has been in charge of forming Herman Miller’s image and graphic identity over the past 40 years. One of the many tasks he took on was to design a poster every year for the company’s annual picnic. He produced 20 posters between 1970 to 1989.
Over the years the posters have won critical acclaim and been included in exhibitions and collections all over the world including the New York Museum of Modern Art, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Danish Museum of Decorative Art, and the Library of Congress. The posters often surface on Ebay fetching anywhere from a $150 to $700. While a full set of posters went for $7000 at a New York auction in 2009.
Clark Malcolm: When you started working at the company the picnics were a real big event right?
Steve Frykholm: They were a real event and that’s all caps. It was a big deal to the employees and their families. They hired me in February of 1970 and Joe Schwartz came in and said to me, ‘Now you are our first internal graphic designer could you design a poster for the picnic. Would you?’ And I said sure, it sounds like fun. He said, ‘Well the name of the picnic this year is sweet corn festival.’
CM: Why did they call it that?
SF: It was one of the few that had a name. But, you know, who was I to challenge it. I was the new kid on the block and I knew a little bit about screen-printing. They really just needed them to put up around the buildings. There was another designer working with me at the time, his name was Phil Mitchell. I said, ‘Why don’t we just do an ear of corn? I will stick it in my mouth and you draw it.’ So we did. And I cut the stencils and we had the screens made and printed them after hours down in the basement because the fumes were pretty intense coming from the ink.
Read on for the rest of the interview.
September 15, 2010
Los Angeles-based Phil Lumbang is one of the five artists chosen to paint an Eames rocker in our Design For You contest. Here he shares his workspace with us and a little bit about the process of painting.
How long have you worked in your current studio? And where is it? Well, I work out of my apartment, but I have a pretty big balcony where I can paint and get all my work done. My place is only a few block from MacArthur Park in Los Angeles and I’ve been here for about a year.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? Simple is best. Bold black lines and a sense of wonder. I have these characters that I always draw; bears, birds, and elephants mostly. I like to keep them very iconic and easily recognized.
As an artist how do you keep your space organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? Oh boy, I’m probably the most unorganized person I know. Paint, brushes, paper everywhere, but in that pile of mess I know where everything is! My computer is the same way, I just toss everything on my desktop. Luckily there is a fancy search feature for when I forget where things are. I have a degree in graphic design so Photoshop and Illustrator are some of my favorite programs to use.
What would you change about your workspace if you could? MORE SPACE!
What do you most love about your space? It’s outdoors and I can work in the sunshine.
What inspires you? Cartoons are my biggest inspiration. Anything thats makes me smile. And just having a crazy imagination.
Tell me about the experience of painting the Eames chair? How much prep did you have to do? What inspired the final design? Painting the Eames chair was really fun. I am use to painting on flat surfaces and it was a welcomed changed. I’ll be honest I didn’t have anything planned out, I had a loose idea in my head but kept adding things as I went. First I put down white as a primer but as soon as the white hit the blue I thought it looked pretty awesome. Then I went on from there. The final design is a bear sitting down in a snow-capped valley with chocolate syrup being poured down the mountains… I really dont know how it turned out that way… I guess I was hungry!
September 9, 2010
As a company Herman Miller is known for great design and working for a better world around you. This contest celebrates both of those things by giving you lots of chances to win great designs and have fun doing it.
How will it work? The more people who enter, the more prizes are unlocked. Each prize is better than the last. For the grand prize, you could win one of five artist painted Eames Rockers (above left to right: Andrew Holder, Philip Lumbang, Christopher Lee, Mark Giglio, and Josh Cochran). Each chair is one-of-a-kind. Stay posted for interviews with all the artists and sneak peeks of the chairs.
Simply enter your name and email address to be eligible to win. You only need to enter once to be eligible to win throughout the contest.
A drawing takes place each week if we reach the sign-up goal for that week. If we don’t meet the goal, there is no drawing. The contest goes on to the next prize. For a list of all the prizes click here.
Make sure to get all your friends and family to sign up because getting others to enter is another way to win. Get the most people to sign up and you can win an Aeron chair. So enter now and good luck.
The first prize? A signed copy of John Berry’s Herman Miller: The Purpose of Design, with a foreward by Eames Demetrios. According to Berry the idea behind the book was “to support the understanding that design is about problem solving and is broader than just products. The current/second version added three chapters and updated the timeline to 2009.”
“I joined Herman Miller in 1980 as Director of Corporate Communications, later becoming Vice President of Corporate Communications reporting directly to the CEO. That included a range of responsibilities that grew and changed over the years. The archives were under my responsibilities, so I had a good understanding of what was there. My first week was spent with George Nelson who came to Zeeland to provide my orientation.”
“I was also asked to be HMI’s liaison to the Eames Office. Charles had died in 1978. I became close to Ray. She introduced me to Eames Demetrios while he was still a student at Harvard. I was a frequent visitor to the Eames Office, 901 and the Eames house. When I left HMI in 1996, Eames Demetrios asked if I would become part of the Eames Office to function as their PR consultant and be their liaison back to HMI. I continue in that role today.”
Design, Products, Technology
September 9, 2010
Designers excel at thinking about form and function. They are less adept at thinking about objects as cultural expression, says Prasad Boradkar, an associate professor of Industrial Design at Arizona State University and author of a new book, Designing Things: The Cultural Meaning of Objects.
“It’s not a part of normal design discourse to talk about theory—to talk about how we [designers] think about objects,” he says. He hopes the book, which is an interdisciplinary look at the cultural meanings of the things we use every day and the designer’s role in that process, will be the impetus for more discussion.
The book also explores the worth of things, the making things, the greed imperative, planned obsolescence, and even fetish objects, all the while using product examples from companies like Nike, Bling H2O, and Herman Miller.
He was inspired to include Herman Miller in the book not just because of the iconic nature of some products but also because of the company’s values, including the way it embraced design early and for the right reasons, its emphasis on durability (the 12-year warranty), and sustainability. And he admires the way the company engages external designers. It’s a great way, he says, for the company to get “a fresh perspective every time.”