Ayse Birsel on Design

From Noguchi to the human spine, Ayse Birsel talks about the inspiration behind furniture that helps people connect.
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  • Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), name Herman Miller's Resolve Office System a Gold award winner
  • Best of NeoCon, Gold Award, "Most Innovative" for Design on Textile program

What's In It For You

Resolve System

Product Story

Solving workplace problems is what we do. When sweeping changes were taking place, we realized it was time to re-solve some critical issues. The result was Resolve, a human-centered system that lets what's natural for people come naturally to the work environment. Its smart structure creates open, inviting, space-efficient workstations where people feel comfortable and connected. It creates the environment to suit your vision while using your resources effectively.

Resolve System

A Natural Approach

Resolve puts people into soothing environments that mimic the natural world, starting with the 120-degree angle, the most common in nature (think honeycombs) and screens and canopies, which provide a sense of enclosure.

Resolve supports a wide variety of environments, from traditional workspaces to innovative applications. Where people express their personality, pursue new ideas, and communicate. Blending function with refined design, Resolve invites you to feel valued and connected.

Resolve System


Resolve isn't an evolution of the panel system—there are no panels. The elegantly simple structure is based on poles with screens and canopies attached, an inventive approach that allows greater diversity of workstation patterns and more cost-effective use of real estate. There's also more openness and flexibility for collaborative environments.

Vertical poles in three heights (96, 60, and 48 inches) work with horizontal support arms to define work areas, provide a strong structural foundation, support hang-on components, and make power and data accessible to the user. Trusses attach to tall pole tops to route power and data cables overhead and delineate space.

Screens divide space, establish walkways, and complement the infrastructure. They attach to upper and lower support arms. Display screens in Bubbletack fabric allow for accessible vertical storage of work materials and display of personal items.

Resolve System


The Resolve design is based on the size, reach, and movements of people. And Resolve creates friendly work spaces; its shapes and openness encourage people to connect, interact, and collaborate.

Air and light pass through; people can see in and out and don't feel confined. Acoustical inserts absorb and block sound, and Qt Quiet technology reduces noise distractions.

Screens and canopies define personal territory; rolling screens let people control privacy.

Resolve System

Attract, Support, Retain

Resolve helps people feel comfortable, valued, and effective; they stay connected to their work and to each other. They stay, period. Resolve helps to attract knowledge workers, makes them feel eager to get to work, and keeps them on the job.

Resolve System

So Many Choices

Resolve helps organizations communicate brand through screen-customization opportunities. With the Customer's Own Image (COI) program, you can have your own graphics printed on screens, canopies, and flags.

Inclusive palette. The carefully constructed selection of warm and cool colors is grouped by value: light, medium, and dark; colors are designed to be used together. Resolve's spectrum of colors and finishes lets it integrate with traditional or progressive interior architecture.

Along with laminate and Formcoat finishes, Resolve offers a choice of Geiger natural veneers and cathedral recut veneers for a rich, refined look.

Resolve System

Value and Savings

Fast installation. The simple, lightweight infrastructure and concise vocabulary make installation quick and efficient; cables are all laid in.

Easy reconfiguration. Resolve is agile, designed for speedy changes that control churn costs and don't disrupt workers.

Efficient asset management. Compared to traditional systems, Resolve has about one-quarter the components and takes up one-third the space when knocked down in storage.

Optimum floor plan. The 120-degree geometry can create higher workstation densities while maintaining openness and comfort, saving on real estate costs.

Resolve System


Overhead pathway. Trusses carry power and data independent of the workspace below so workstations can be light, open, and easy to plan and reconfigure. A truss can hold a 6-circuit, 10-wire electrical harness and has capacity for 144 Category 6, 4-pair UTP cables at a 60 percent fill rate.

Pole capacity. Each pole face can hold 9 Category 6, 4-pair UTP cables at a 60 percent fill rate for a total of 27 cable drops; each pole has locations for 9 duplex receptacles.

Star topology. Cables in trusses can be routed in an efficient pattern that radiates from the center of a space to the perimeter, using significantly less cable than spine wall routing.

Zone distribution. Reduces time and cost when installing and reconfiguring data networks.

Resolve System


Less Is More. A Resolve workstation weighs one-third less than a traditional systems workstation and has a greater strength-to-weight ratio.

Highly recyclable. Workstations are 56% recyclable and contain 49% recycled materials. Every part is easily disassembled for recycling.

Low-emitting product. Resolve is level™ 1 and GREENGUARD certified, and may contribute to LEED credits.

Design Story

Designer Ayse Birsel says she focuses her designs on the user. "The day the user is alone with our product, they need to feel that someone took good care of them. It's hard to design just for the sake of creating something with a new aesthetic or style."

When we decided we wanted a completely new system to meet the needs of the new workplace and work force, we decided to collaborate with Birsel, who says that she sometimes knows less about a subject than the client—and that's a good thing. "Ignorance can be bliss," she says. "We can be more daring, challenge existing solutions, or find new answers to old questions."

Exactly what we wanted, as we sought to re-solve changing workplace issues.

Even since its introduction, the Resolve system's features have been updated and refined. With expanded capabilities and refined aesthetics, Resolve fits a wide variety of environments. It can meet traditional systems-based expectations—such as acoustical specifications, increased stability, and expanded storage capability—while integrating smoothly with sophisticated aesthetics.

Product refinements encompass the following:

Sight. Aesthetics, from colors and finishes to hardware, integrate with a broad range of interiors and create a unified appearance.Sound. The acoustical insert, installed between two Resolve screens, absorbs and blocks sound to make sure that people can concentrate on their individual tasks.Storage. Components have generous capacity and reliable security, and they accommodate a variety of applications.Stability. A highly engineered bracket secures the work surface to the pole.

Resolve System