Herman MillerHerman Miller has been dedicated to design for more than 75 years. With a design legacy that began under the leadership of Gilbert Rohde and George Nelson in the 1930s and 40s, the company gained a worldwide following for its modern furniture collection by the early 1950s, with chairs, sofas and tables for home and office by designers like Charles & Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, George Nelson, and Isamu Noguchi. These icons of modern design developed products that still endure today. And, through continued innovation at the company and a new generation of designers and ideas, the products that Herman Miller makes today will endure for decades to come. Herman Miller works for a better world around you. They do this by designing furnishings that improve the human experience - from pioneering the way for ergonomic office seating and furniture to stewarding environmental leadership in its business and manufacturing processes, product material usage and product life cycles. Herman Miller's longstanding commitment to the world around us continues to drive design solutions for the modern home and workspace. The company continues to develop its designer relationships with names like Yves Behar, Jeff Weber and Studio 7 adding lighting, storage and office collections to its catalog of design classics.
When Carol Catalano was seven years old, she spent six weeks in bed with rheumatic fever. "To keep me from being bored, my dad gave me several books on drawing," she recalls, "and they opened a whole new world for me. That's when I decided I wanted to do something creative in my life."
Her creative interest found a focus when she entered the Rhode Island School of Design after high school and discovered industrial design. "After the first project, I knew I had found my life's work," she says.
Catalano says the training she received at RISD added a whole new dimension to her creativity. "They had a very hands-on approach, so I worked a lot with materials in the machine and wood shops." In fact, that hands-on training proved valuable when she was working on her Capelli stool. "One of the requirements for the International Furniture Design Competition in Asahikawa (Japan) was to build a full-size prototype," says Catalano, "which we did--in my garage."
The effort paid off: Her stool took a Silver Prize in the prestigious competition in 1999--one of only eight awards given and the only American design selected from over 700 entries from around the world.
Catalano has applied her creative talents to a wide variety of products since founding her business in 1987; current design projects range from "gig" bags for toting musical instruments to high-end audio speakers and other consumer electronics.
She finds learning about new industries one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of her job. "I love giving artistic expression to things I've learned," she says, "and I'm always looking for ways to 'cross-pollinate.' Just the other day, for example, I was meeting with a thermoplastics supplier, and he was showing me the elastomer pellets in their raw state before they're melted down and injection molded. My immediate reaction was to think, how can we use these pellets in other applications?"
Catalano likes to push the current boundaries of her field and has made a commitment to include much more thinking about the end user's experience in all her designs. "It's much different now than when I first started out," she says. "It used to be about just creating a good design. Now the first thing I think about in any project is how I can simplify and enrich people's lives."
With the energy and enthusiasm she shows for her work, it's clear Catalano loves the career path she's chosen. In her time away from the office, she and her husband, an architect, enjoy windsurfing on a little island off the coast of Venezuela and spending family time with their twins.
ID Annual Design Review, Honorable Mention, 2000
International Furniture Design Competition Asahikawa, Silver Prize, 1999
Exhibitor Magazine First Place Design Award, 1990
ID Magazine Annual Design Review, Best of Category in Consumer Products, 1987
Rhode Island School of Design Industrial Design Department, Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in Design and Invention
- from HermanMiller.comView other products by Carol Catalano