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.
As a kid, Jeff Weber was fascinated by the way things worked. "I was always tinkering - either building things or tearing them apart," he says. Watching his mechanical talents develop, his grandfather suggested that he consider becoming an industrial designer. Once he learned more, "I never really thought about doing anything else," recalls Weber.
Today he uses his considerable talents to improve the human condition by designing products that enhance people's lives - at home and at work. "There should always be a human benefit associated with whatever it is we're designing," he explains. "It's all about the experience, stimulating a person's senses in a positive or beneficial way."
With an emphasis on results, an integral and important aspect in his design process is research. When designing Herman Miller's Embody chair, for example, Weber and the Herman Miller team spent nearly two years talking with experts in various fields of medicine, from specialists in upper-extremity conditions to optometrists and neurologists. It was all in an effort to gain a real understanding of what it takes "to support a body in space in a healthful way and enable motion at the same time," he says. Studio Weber + Associates is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.View other products by Jeff Weber
Bill Stumpf once said, "I work best when I'm pushed to the edge. When I'm at the point where my pride is subdued, where I'm an innocent again. Herman Miller knows how to push me that way, mainly because the company still believes -- years after D.J. De Pree first told me -- that good design isn't just good business, it's a moral obligation. Now that's pressure."
Stumpf's association with Herman Miller began in 1970 when he joined the staff of the Herman Miller Research Corporation. After establishing his own firm in 1972, Stumpf created the Ergon chair, the first ergonomic work chair. Later, in collaboration with Don Chadwick, he produced the groundbreaking Equa and iconic Aeron chairs. He also was principal designer for the Ethospace system.
"I enjoy myself, and I do it through design," Stumpf declared in an interview a few years ago. "I love beauty, and I love the availability of beautiful things and useful things immediately around me."
When he looked around, though, too often he saw design that "denies the human spirit," architecture that acknowledged money and not people, offices that were "hermetically sealed in artificial space." He constantly battled against such designed indignity -- a battle that began in the 1960s at the University of Wisconsin.
"Everything goes back to those days at the University of Wisconsin," he said recently, referring to the postgraduate years he spent studying and teaching at the university's Environmental Design Center. "Everything was about freeing up the body, designing away constraints."
It was there where Stumpf, working with specialists in orthopedic and vascular medicine, conducted extensive research into ways people sit -- and the ways they should sit. In 1974, Herman Miller commissioned him to apply his research to office seating. Two years later, the Ergon chair was introduced.
During his lifetime Stumpf -- a key figure in Herman Miller's transformation into a research-based, problem-solving innovator -- received numerous awards for this work. Most recently, he was named the winner of the 2006 National Design Award in Product Design, an award presented by the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.
ASID Award for Ergon seating, 1976
ID magazine "Designer of the 70s," 1979
IBD Gold Award for Equa chair, 1984
IBD Gold Award for Ethospace interiors, 1985
Time magazine, Design: Best of the Decade for Equa chair, 1990
Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards, Product Design winner, 2006
- from Herman Miller.comView other products by Bill Stumpf