March 5, 2013
A view from the corner office (or any office, for that matter) may be a natural craving after all. We asked Betty Hase, a workplace strategist and leader of Herman Miller’s Advanced Knowledge and Applications team, about the importance of an outside view when setting up your workspace. Here’s what she had to say.
Balance, Design, Products
October 15, 2012
Studio 7.5 believes the complexities of modern design are best managed with a team effort. And as we learn in week six of the Why Design series on Herman Miller, the design collaborative — whose work includes Mirra and Setu chairs — engages their collective problem-solving skills by joining together for lunch every day. In the spirit of their collaborative eating, check out these six ways to a working lunch. Read more
October 12, 2012
Take a look at what we’ve been bookmarking this week.
1. “Design Q&A with Charles Eames,” a short film from 1972, featured on Network Awesome.
2. A full tour of Jonathan Lo’s Solana Beach, CA, rental home at Old Brand New.
3. The Design and Architecture Crossword from the New York Times and Design Within Reach. (Here’s a hint for 95 Across.)
4. Speaking of married couples who design together (another hint for the crossword above), check out Design Is One, the documentary on Lella and Massimo Vignelli opening October 18 (via Very Short List).
5. The idea-filled chat about home offices with organizer Kacy Paide from the Washington Post.
6. Curbed’s look at the transformation of an NYC loft to accommodate a collection of Eames furniture.
7. 10 of Architizer’s favorite workspaces, including the Obscura Digital HQ in San Francisco, featuring our Setu Chairs (in the photo above).
8. This quick 1955 telegram from Alexander Girard to industrialist J. Irwin Miller at Documenting Modern Living.
9. Jaunted’s history lesson on Eames Tandem Sling Seating in airports.
10. The playfully inspiring design of this floating dreamscape made from hundreds of kites featured at Co.Design.
Photo: Obscura Digital / Architizer
August 2, 2012
The arrival of the Olympics always creates a stir of excitement. But is it just us, or do these summer games in London seem to hold a special sort of spark? Maybe it’s a surge of American spirit — or perhaps it’s simply the access we now have to live streams of every Olympic event on NBC’s website starting early in the workday and on into the evening.
Either way, we’re feeling it. And apparently, so is the bandwidth of Internet connections at companies across the country. In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, just a few days ago at L.A.’s City Hall, chief technology officer Randi Levin issued an email asking employees to stop watching the games, as its high-traffic demands were ultimately “impacting city operations.”
Network speeds, however, may not be the only thing affected. As reported by SmartMoney.com, the time spent viewing the events by workers (and not spent actually working) could create an estimated loss of $650 million for U.S. companies — a seemingly high price to pay for the chance to see if your favorite team can strike gold. Some inspiration could come from the downtime, though: South Florida’s Sun Sentinel lists a few lessons that employees could learn from watching world-class Olympians in action.
So what about you? Are you watching the Olympics at the office? How is it affecting your workload? And is it pre-approved by management, or is it in secret? (We won’t tell. Besides, we’ll probably be off watching today’s cycling events starting at 11am EST…)
Featured in photo: Setu Chair options
July 27, 2012
A quick review of where we’ve been keeping ourselves for the past seven days.
1. The “From the Desk of…” series from SPD, the Society of Publication Designers.
2. This month’s issue of FX Magazine featuring a review of our Setu Chair.
3. Think Charles Eames would have appreciated the “Play” issue of Google’s Think Quarterly?
4. Liking these Lath Lamps by Jonathan Dorthe for Atelier-D over at Design Milk.
5. The 10 best Eames designs, as determined by The Guardian.
6. Speaking of, did you make it to the screening of Charles and Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter at the White House?
7. The Great Discontent’s interview with Twitter NY design lead Yaron Schoen. (Especially this line: “Design is really about people; the more you understand humans, the better you will be as a designer.”)
8. The Conversation’s case for “an urban design revolution.”
9. The top 6 green buildings at the 2012 London Olympics via Inhabitat.
10. Slightly amused and very inspired by artist Jim Lamble’s colorful geometric tape installations (via Intralld).
Featured in the above photo: George Nelson Swag Leg Desk
April 5, 2011
Michael Townsend is an associate in the San Francisco headquarters of Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm. He is also behind a photo shoot that involved taking the Setu chair all over the city of San Francisco. “We were actually approached by Pivot Interiors and our local Herman Miller representatives about a competition they were hosting between a handful of local design firms called ‘Where’s Setu?’.” The competition guidelines were simple. ‘Setu is designed to fit all shapes and sizes. But, equally important, Setu is designed to fit virtually all spaces and places. YOUR MISSION is to take the chair and photograph it ANYWHERE! Use wardrobe, props, celebrities, back-drops, story lines and of course, location! location! location! Show us how Setu fits into your life’
“Essentially we were tasked with celebrating the idea of an “everywhere chair”! A small group of us that included Melissa Mizell, Rebecca Ruggles and Annie Book here at Gensler have really enjoyed working together in the past on the USGBC’s Sustainable Suites Competition as well as a packaging re-purposing design competition, so we jumped at the challenge. Not only are they fantastic ways to stretch ourselves creatively but they also lead us into research and design thinking in fields that we may not get much exposure to in our daily work.”
Can you tell us a bit about the idea behind the shoot? We embarked with the original plan of re-enacting some of our favorite movie scenes set in San Francisco with Setu as the lead role. With screen captures such as Steve McQueen in “Bullitt” or James Stewart and Kim Novak at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge in “Vertigo”, we loaded Setu in the company van and began to drive across the city. We made it halfway to our first stop before noticing an airstream trailer on the side of the road with the words “everywhere tour” painted on the side. It would have been downright irresponsible to not photograph the “everywhere chair” on the “everywhere tour”, so we stopped for a photoshoot. In the process, we met representatives of Threadless Tees, a fantastic company supporting great graphic design as well as partnering with the likes of Architecture for Humanity to support disaster relief efforts.
This was a tipping point for us and we all agreed we would likely build a better photo story just letting the beauty and randomness of city present itself to us. With only a loose plan, we set out to photograph the chair as if it were an integral part of the variety and energy that makes this place so great. Stopping in the marina green, we worked up the nerve to ask the Baracus Rugby Club to humor us by mixing the chair into their practice time. Our second day started at Dolores Park where we loved the character of the girls on the green bench and the nonchalant attitude they had in letting Setu join them for a smoke.
There was also a playfulness in rolling the chair to the dog park that really speaks to the spirit of Setu’s versatility.
Our last stop was in Clarion Alley in the Mission, which has an incredible array of street art in a district famous for its murals. There happened to be a vibrant trio being photographed in parallel to us who were more than happy to pose for a few shots with the chair.
We really feel like the warmth and spirit of the people and locations we visited tie perfectly with the intent of approachability and versatility of the Setu chair. Not only did we have a lot of fun doing it, but we also found out that it is possible to clean a wide range of grass, mud and dog stains from a stark white Setu chair!”
December 3, 2010
It’s a big week for us on the small screen. Extreme Home Makeover has chosen a truckload of Herman Miller furniture for their program that airs Sunday. And today Ellen gave away 425 Setu chairs! It’s Day 2 of her 12 Days of Giving and I went to the set to see what all the fuss was about…and let me tell you there was a lot of fuss.
We were kept out of the audience – it wouldn’t look good if I took a seat from a ‘real’ audience member now would it!
So I watched from the green room as Ellen had Hilary Swank guess a mystery word.
Once she’d guessed it (it was gummy bears) the audience were rewarded with a Setu chair. You can watch the show here.
It was such a thrill to be part of all that energy and well-wishing. Ellen gave away over $3000 worth of gifts to each audience member. And the audience was ecstatic. In the line to get to our cars after the show the woman in front of me turned around, wide-eyed and said “There wasn’t a second of down time. Where does she get all her energy?” I didn’t have an answer. But I knew that we were just the first show. Ellen was taping Monday’s show right after ours. Two shows back-to-back on Thursdays. Makes for an intense work week but one that gives you a bit of down time on a Friday!
October 5, 2010
This week’s Design for You prize is the Setu chair by Studio 7.5. Here’s their story:
“Burkhard Schmitz, Claudia Plikat, and Carola Zwick began their partnership in 1992. They were looking for the freedom to work on projects that interested them. And for the freedom to do so without bosses and titles.
And that’s pretty much how they’ve operated ever since. “Everybody does everything,” says Burkhard, speaking for the group that now includes Carola’s brother Roland Zwick. “That’s how we cultivate ideas and maintain our openness and curiosity.”
The group’s name—Studio 7.5—comes from an early idea to rent a 7.5-ton truck, put a model shop in it, and drive from one project site to another. Obviously, freedom of movement is a big deal for these designers. They move freely—and smartly—when designing products for their clients.
Going from concept stage to the model shop, sometimes within a day or two, they begin to create rough prototypes. And like kids let loose with a pile of clay, this is their favorite activity.
You really have to work in three dimensions when designing products,” notes Claudia. “So we don’t spend much time on fancy renderings. Computer drawings just don’t give you the feel, the touch, the smell.”
And they love designing furniture. “What’s so interesting about designing furniture as opposed to, say, a tape recorder, is that the designer who designs the recorder comes in last in the chain of command,” explains Roland. “It’s just the beautification or ‘packaging.’ With furniture, it’s far more holistic.”
They find designing office chairs in particular to be the most rewarding. One reason is their experience working with Herman Miller on their award-winning Mirra chair and their newest design called the Setu chair. “We define not only how the chair looks but how it performs,” says Carola. “We’re very involved with its physical behavior, because beauty is not only what you see, it’s also what you feel.”