Efficient spaces for enjoyable work

Given today’s plethora of work styles, even one-size-fits-all products are not broad enough to meet everyone’s needs. However, over-complex products that are expensive and hard to manage are not the answer. Instead, the solutions can be simple and just broad enough to meet most needs, whilst avoiding overcomplicated specifications. Herman Miller approached designer Tim Wallace to help them find the right balance between more functionality and cost.

Blue Mirra 2 office chairs paired with white Memo benching surfaces separated by a light grey screen.

Wallace explains his approach: “Typically, offices accommodate groups of workers in clusters of benches or desks, which provide one basic function regardless of what you’re doing. When Herman Miller asked me to look at the efficiency of this, I saw the opportunity to design a better type of bench — one that was not just more attainable but also provided people using it a pleasing work experience.”

A white Memo project table with light grey Aeron office chairs.
A rectangular Memo table surrounded by grey Keyn side chairs.

When looking at existing clusters of four to six desks, Wallace noticed that the central screen served as a unifying feature but didn’t have a structural purpose. He replaced the traditional beam with a simple panel — the central spine. With Herman Miller’s development team, he developed out-riggers that supported both legs and work surfaces. This new design is more robust and easier to adapt, and it dramatically reduces the number of components.

“New solutions are rarely obvious”

More about Tim Wallace

Product Designer Tim Wallace