Wednesday, 22 May 2013
The international art fair Art Basel makes its Asia Pacific debut in Hong Kong this week, May 23 - 26, 2013. More than 2000 artists from the region and around the world will be exhibiting paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs and video works from the 20th and 21st centuries. The show has been divided into four distinct sectors to help you navigate your way through and there is a great accompanying program of lectures and panel discussions to choose from. It will be quite the visual feast, so if you need to rest your feet you may just find yourself a Herman Miller chair to do so, as we are proud supporters of the show. See the Art Basel website for more details, including a full list of participating galleries and artists.
(above) The Past Moved (2010) by Bui Kong King. From participating gallery, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong
Monday, 20 May 2013
Design lovers in Singapore, prepare yourselves! REACH 2: The Power of Place, our second curated design exposition in the Asia Pacific, once again promises to fascinate, inspire and delight. Building on the success of the first REACH held in Hong Kong in 2011, REACH 2 Singapore offers a huge range of exhibitions, guest speakers and design to explore. Browse through our full range of products at the pop-up-office concept Spontaneous City, or learn about the evolution of task seating at the exhibition The Art and Science of Seating. Get to know 20th century icons Charles and Ray Eames a little better at the Essential Eames exhibition, or check out some newly commissioned contemporary designer and illustrators poster designs (alongside some vintage greats) at Then x Ten: The Power of The Poster. Once again we will be running the design lecture series HM Presents featuring a host of inspiring guest speakers including Eames Demetrious and Studio 7.5.
REACH Singapore will take place on 1st-2nd August, 2013 at Marina Bay Sands. To register, find out more and view the full program of events visit the REACH website.
Sunday, 19 May 2013
We are very proud to present Essential Eames: A Herman Miller Exhibition to Singapore, which will open at Marina Bay Sands ArtScience Museum on the 29th June, 2013. Lovers of Charles and Ray Eames furniture will delight in the exhibition that reveals the creative spirit and philosophy inherent in everything the design duo achieved, both in work and life. Among the exhibits are rare and unique pieces of furniture, original paintings by Ray Eames, a selection of some of the 125 films created by the couple, photography, toys (including a giant house of cards) and fittingly for the ArtScience Museum, a partial recreation of the couples much-celebrated 1961 exhibition Mathematica, which reduces complex mathematical concepts to simple forms.
The exhibition is based on the book An Eames Primer by Charles and Ray's grandson Eames Demetrious, who will open the exhibition and also provide a series of guided tours and a lecture about his grandparents legacy. In the coming weeks we will be posting a series of behind-the-scenes stories about the exhibition and some of the pieces and people featured in it here on the blog, so do keep checking back.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Alexander Girard's contribution to Herman Miller is legendary and so is his fascination with folk art. Reflecting on his love of folk art, Girard once said: “I think that I saw it as a way to recapture all the wonderful enthusiasm and the spirit of discovery that we experience as children but generally lose as we grow older". Girard's iconic wooden dolls are a unique mix of decorative object and colourful toy. Originally designed for Girard's own Sata Fe home, they draw their aesthetic from Central American, Italian and Eastern European Culture. They may have been designed to be distributed through the Herman Miller Textile & Objects shop in New York, which he ran at the time. Today they stand as a testament to his playful spirit representing as he said "a microcosm of man's world and dreams; they exhibit fantasy, imagination, humor and love."
We love this image of them, watching over a team in their office in Shanghai and reminding us that playfulness is a central part of life - even at work.
Monday, 13 May 2013
Part four from Album One: Extracts from Independent Thoughts. Our contributor today is a member of the Herman Miller team, Samantha Giam. Samantha is the Head of Marketing and Product Management for the Asia-Pacific region and is passionate about designing adaptable workspace solutions for the constantly evolving workplace environment, as she explains in the following extract from her article for Album One.
A Facility for Change
When I joined the strangely fascinating industry of office furniture, my first client was a semiconductor manufacturer based in Singapore. I was told to understand what additional furniture components the client needed to purchase for an extended space. The facility manager then proudly showed me their Action Office installation – an installation that was first purchased from Herman Miller in 1972. This was 2002. The client had been happily using the product for more than 20 years.
Since Robert Propst’s Action Office, the world of office furniture has quickly progressed from panels to frames and tiles; through pole systems to dematerialised bench solutions.
Footprints have shrunk from serious U-shaped real estate, to 1800, 1600, then 1400mm linear solutions, and many companies have started thinking about spaces that are more activity-based and human-centred.
So this begs the question: How many times have you disposed of your office furniture in the past ten years?
Often management want to use a dramatic change in the physical workspace as a visible lever to define organisational design and culture. Let’s throw out those clunky old panels; those bench systems you bought 2 years are too outdated, the fabric too old, the colour passé; Three-tier lateral files and swing doors cabinets should disappear with the arrival of cloud computing…Too quickly companies are throwing out the furniture they bought just a couple of years ago.
It’s now time to consider investing in infrastructure that allows you to change your mind tomorrow, next year or 5 years later.
Flexibility and elasticity are key in designing a facility for change. Like an evolving city, workspace solutions need to allow active preservation and demolition of spaces. We need to invest in designs that are future proof and will be able to support constant reinvention. The best thing we can do is to avoid disposal, that has the biggest impact on the environment.
Wednesday, 08 May 2013
Today we thought we'd look at some of the accessories George Nelson designed, as part of our ongoing series on his multi-faceted career. Many of you will be familiar with the George Nelson range of bubble lamps and clocks, but did you know Nelson & Associates (who included talented designers such as Irving Harper) also designed many other accessories including birdhouses, weather vanes, tableware, office accessories, toys, tiles and textiles? As with everything Nelson turned his attention to, the common element is a sense of thoughtfulness to the particular design problem they address and many are imbued with a great sense of playfulness, characteristic of much of his work. Here are a few of our favourites;
A delightfully graphic series of weather vanes, designed for the Howard Miller Clock Company, 1954.
Modernist bird houses made from heat-resistant thermoplastic shells for Howard Miller Plastics Division, 1954.
A series of toy prototypes for Trans-O-Gram, 1952.
Colourful Melamine Tableware for Prolon Tableware, 1952.
One of a series of graphic trays for Bolta Tempotrays, 1956.
(Images above courtesy of the George Nelson Foundation)
A selection of accessories designed by the Nelson office will included in the exhibition George Nelson: Architect | Writer | Designer | Teacher which will debut in the Asia Pacific region in Sydney later this year. And if you look, you may just find one or two still in production today, such as Nelson's textile design Pavement from 1950, currently produced by Maharam (and shown below in Rust colourway).
Catch up here on our previous posts if you missed them; George Nelson the Author and George Nelson the Architect.
Sunday, 05 May 2013
Our latest instalment on the many talents of George Nelson examines his contribution to architecture. In our last post we acknowledged some of his prolific writings on the subject, but what is quite remarkable and lesser known is the legacy he left behind in bricks and mortar. Nelson graduated from Yale University with a degree majoring in architecture in 1931 and established his first architectural practice with William Hamby in 1936. In 1941 Nelson and Hamby designed one of the first modern townhouses in New York for inventor an industrialist Sherman Fairchild. As you can see from the image below, it was striking for its modernist and minimal façade.
Although the economic impact of the war resulted in Nelson turning his attentions to other areas, he once again returned to his architectural roots in 1953, opening an architectural office with Gordon Chadwick which ran successfully alongside his industrial design practice. It was a fruitful collaboration realising a long list of residential projects, some of which still stand today such as the beautifully maintained Kirkpatrick House in Michigan of 1955 (below) as well as a number of ambitious proposals for works including gas stations, hospitals and shopping malls.
Some of Nelson's architectural works will included in the exhibition George Nelson: Architect | Writer | Designer | Teacher which recently toured the US and is on its way to the Asia Pacific region... we'll keep you posted!
Images courtesy of the George Nelson Foundation
Wednesday, 01 May 2013
Part three from Album One: extracts from Independent thoughts. Today's contributor is Andrew Schunke. As Senior Associate and Interior Design Discipline Leader at Hassell, Andrew has a breadth of experience and wide ranging skills from education, to corporate, hospitality and retail fitouts, furniture design and detailing. He is a fellow of the Design Institute of Australia, ensuring up to date knowledge on market trends and design theory. We talked to Andrew about how he got started in design and what element of design he couldn't do without:
What led you to pursue a career in design? During my senior schooling I had a wonderful teacher in drawing that inspired and encouraged me to pursue design based study.
How do you approach a design brief or new project? The client is always central to any solution. Each design is approached from first principles with no preconceived ideas to allow fresh and exciting design outcomes. It is important to discover the core drivers that are often below the surface of the functional briefing. Once this is established we use spatial, colour and material references to assist visualisation and to create a sense of place.
What element of design could you not live without? The smartphone that allows me to stay connected, research, review, draw, learn, explore, capture and talk.
What is your favourite Herman Miller design? The Eames Lounge and Ottoman
Enjoy this extract from Andrew's article for Album One below:
Making connections: Learning and workplace environments (abridged)
As we work across new workplace and educational environments, teaching and learning appear to be more aligned than ever before. In the shared areas where spatial variation and adaptation is encouraged, we see many similarities in the ideas guiding the formation of these places.
The employees of the near future are the current tertiary students. Many of them are already global citizens studying away from home, and thus embedded in their working process is the ability to study and work anywhere. Pervasive technologies enhance their connectedness, and spaces simply support their ability to focus, swarm and huddle. Skype booths, tablet tables, touch screen walls and three-dimensional projections sit alongside personal devices, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The ability to shape their surroundings to support ‘what they are doing right now’ requires spaces, furniture and products that are fluid and adaptable. The ideal outcomes are achieved when the spaces are created or at least informed by the users.
Students want links to home, connections to the outdoors, memories of childhood and ties to culture. They crave spaces that are visible and allow social interactions, but may have depth and variation to support group work and personal study.These learning and working hubs are generally ‘of the moment’ and fashionable in their aesthetic expression. The spaces also present as tactile and graphically enhanced, almost as an antidote to the sometimes overwhelming technology.
The furniture often has multiple uses, although not always as intended, such as ‘chair as bed’. The pieces allow sitting and standing to work, encourage private or group activities and support positive ergonomic use where possible. They support flexible working styles, hours of use and environments. This last statement is reflective of the core aspirations of activity based working, and marks the clear connection between learning and workplace environments.
We have found the best outcomes are always produced in partnerships with the users, not simply as part of a briefing process, but by defining the core objectives and shaping the key outcomes. Our most successful design solutions are those that encourage ownership, support fluidity and deliver real benefits.
Sunday, 28 April 2013
Today we bring you the fourth extract from the Independent thoughts section of Album One from Heidi Stowers, Partner at Gray Puksand. With over 20 years experience in architecture and interior design, Heidi leads the national interior design team at the company and her unique skill set and knowledge ensures a thorough understanding of interior design from a holistic standpoint. As a nine-year member of the Gray Puksand team, Heidi’s projects have included government and corporate organisations, with her work represented in all Capital cities. Specialising in workspace design, Heidi has completed successful and innovative projects with Amcor, Baulderstone, FleetPartners, Middletons, Australian Bureau of Statistics and City West Water. Heidi is a member of the Design Institute of Australia, and a committee member at the Property Council of Victoria. Through actively researching new methods and advancements in workspace design, culture and management styles, Heidi demonstrates a genuine curiosity, and a passion for creativity. We spoke to Heidi about how she started in design and what she couldn't do without:
What led you to pursue a career in design? I took an interesting path via architectural drafting, construction and business management. Passion and hard work drove me to find a place where I could develop my design vision. My broad background has enhanced my ability to design inspiring spaces in which people thrive and work, and I love what I do.
How do you approach a design brief or new project? Connection with the client is the most important part of my design process. Through in-depth workshops I ensuring an thorough understanding of my client’s culture; armed with that knowledge I am able to respond with a design to support and enhance their aspiration.
What element of design could you not live without? Colour theory; I love the challenge of gathering colours together to create an emotional response, or to enhance an experience. I enjoy finding balance; a harmony, and that special touch to make a colour scheme sing.
What is your favourite Herman Miller design? Noguchi table. I love the fluid design; the way the glass hovers above the timber structure. A perfect balance between sculpture and function.
An extract from Heidi's article is below:
Bandwagon On The Run: The truth behind successful ABW (abridged)
Activity Based Working (ABW) is a misused label plastered onto any shiny new workspace design. As companies jump on the bandwagon to embrace this new trend, the fundamentals that hold it up are being lost. Companies risk investing in a new fit-out that fails them from day one. The principles of ABW address the way a company goes about its business. If creativity, collaboration and communication are your company’s goals, then ABW may be the solution for you.
Plan for Performance
People are more productive, work more innovatively, and have a greater sense of wellbeing in an environment that encourages trust, allows flexibility and supports self-management. This environment includes:
· Choice around when people work, and from which location (home, office or park);
· How people want to approach the task at hand to ensure the best outcome;
· Opportunities to easily pull the best teams together;
· To encourage more innovative responses to challenges; and
· To embrace a truly agile workforce.
An ABW workspace, when and only when supported by a genuine culture change, can achieve improved performance of a workforce.
Design for Performance
Space planning is the most important element of the design response. How the workspace is laid out; how the internal spaces, and therefore the people, interact with each other; how people move and flow through the environment; how connections are made; how to make a space feel comfortable and individual, whilst still being transparent – solving these challenges provides for the true success of the ABW physical space. An ABW workspace will include various home bases, with some allocated seating, often for administration and support staff. This creates a hub and a focus for each team; a location where one can find a place to belong. The workspace plan will include areas such as library spaces and focus rooms for quiet individual work, large open and formal meeting spaces for team collaboration, and cafes and communal squares for incidental collaboration and knowledge sharing. The finishes, furniture selections, and look and feel, whilst important design elements, are a more individual choice. It is easy to jump on the bandwagon, and commission a new trendy workspace immediately. However, ABW is not merely a flashy interior design, or the current trend for workspace design. ABW is a holistic working environment, with quality and performance at its core.
Monday, 22 April 2013
Herman Miller China is currently running a “Design for You” campaign around the theme “Better World”, following in the footsteps of successful campaigns by Herman Miller USA and Japan.
“Design for You” is a campaign that unlocks prizes as more people enter. Among the prizes on offer include the Hang-it-All by Charles and Ray Eames, and the SAYL chair by Yves Béhar covered in fabric by the late Aboriginal artist Minnie Pwerle. The ultimate prizes are three Eames Rockers translated into pieces of art by three influential Chinese artists. Each Eames Rocker has been hand-painted in a different style: elegant Haipai style, conceptualized industrial design and urban illustration.
Shoubai Li is a Chinese contemporary heavy colour painter and paper sculpture master. His piece is called Flowing Memories and is inspired by traditional Chinese paper sculpture elements.
In this artwork, Shoubai presents his impression of an elegant and harmonious Shanghainese traditional wedding costumes in a modern context and highlights human relationships in connection with urbanisation. Shoubai has applied paper cutting contours and modern painting on a new medium: the Eames Rocker.
Raymond Choy is the founder of Toy2R, and as such he is passionate about applying toys into art.
Dr Choy’s piece is titled Qee Elemental + Miller. In this piece, he has used the image of popular toy “Qee” on the chair. The aim was to promote the idea of respecting nature through a combination of hand painting with natural elements and the Qee toy. The style of urbanization illustration reflects the inner hope of a better environment leading to a better world.
Wei Jia, is the founder of LKK Innovation, and widely regarded as the most talented commercial artist in China. As president of Design Committee, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Wei Jia blends Chinese culture ZEN, design trends and commercial value into his work. Wei Jia’s piece is titled Dialogue. In this piece he has incorporated elements of furniture from the Ming dynasty on the Eames chair. The mix-and-match of design and culture calls for a better way of inclusiveness and embracing all in society.
Keep an eye on Herman Miller China as new products are unlocked and stay tuned for news of the winners of these unique pieces of art. And of course, if you are based in China, join the competition for your chance to win iconic prizes from Herman Miller.