This is the first in an occasional series where we will highlight some of the extraordinary talent at Herman Miller. Wayne Susag has had a variety of design-related roles at Herman Miller since he began as a design consultant at the company back in 1988. He is currently part of the Research and New Product Development team. Here’s a few more things you may not know about him.
1. Tell us a few things you’d like us to know about you. I met Ray Eames at a cocktail party in Minneapolis. I am a dedicated textile junkie - I have textiles from all over Europe, Africa, South America and the Middle East. Ironing is my therapy. Not PETA approved but when a small child (that’s me on the bottom right) I had trapping lines and would sell my pelts to a Canadian furrier.
2. Which is your favorite piece of Herman Miller design? I think the Nelson Marshmallow Sofa fits this bill. It is bold and has personality. The strong visual form of the sofa asks for round tables and artwork with complementing geometry. I like the idea of letting its form, color, and hue work together to make the statement.
3. What Herman Miller piece do you wish you had at home? I have coffee spoons, pastry forks and pate knives that all need a home. The BCS Large Cabinet is on my list for the perfect companion piece.
4. What should you keep in mind when setting up a home workspace? Transparency can trump scale by making any form appear as though it’s occupying less space. And your desk chair is a good place to start. The SAYL chair, for example, is comfortable and supportive, but it has a transparency that doesn’t cramp your space visually. Chair, desk, storage cabinet—whatever you choose—arrange them so they complement how you work. Don’t get hung up with doing all your tasks in this primary work zone. Keep only the essentials there and move all the secondary materials elsewhere.
5. What inspires you? When it comes to designing interiors, I take it personally. I’m trained professionally in design, but I always relate any challenge to those I’ve faced in my own home. Take the rug I inherited from my aunt early on in my design career (it is pictured above). It’s a beautiful Iranian Sarouk. I remember sitting on it as a young boy and being fascinated by the pattern and colors and the amazing craft involved in making it. I made it the centerpiece of the room, and my inspiration. I picked the vibrant hues in the rug and everything—furniture, textiles, artwork, flowers—all work as accents to complement these colors.
When I add something, it has to harmonize. For example, I’m considering adding an Eames Molded Plywood Lounge chair. Its classic form, designed in 1946, would complement the rug, which I estimate is 80 to 90 years old. And it comes in a red that will make it an excellent accent.