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Living office settings

Herman Miller will set up 10 diverse office spaces at this year’s NeoCon.

June 5, 2015
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Herman Miller Exclave
Herman Miller’s Metaform portfolio can be easily configured and re-configured by people who use the pieces. Courtesy Herman Miller

Herman Miller knows every company is different in terms of its workspace environment and needs, which is why the company will be showing off 10 “purposefully diverse” living office spaces at NeoCon this year, along with several new products that capture the unique needs of its multitude of clients, most of them focused on collaboration and choice.

Visitors to the company’s showroom at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago June 15-17 can see firsthand the functionality of Herman Miller’s products and how they meet differing needs in each setting.

The company once again has partnered with top designers on its newest products, including Tokyo-based designer Naoto Fukasawa’s first product for a North American company.

Fukasawa designed the company’s Saiba chair, which is described as “subtly elevating the atmosphere around it while providing an effortless sense of comfort to the person sitting in it.”

The chair follows Fukasawa’s “super-normal” philosophy — instantly familiar (normal) and yet better than what’s come before (super).

According to Herman Miller, the result is “executive and lounge seating that is intuitively beautiful and useful.”

Saiba features a mid- or high-back and is available as a fixed-height lounge chair with four-star base and glides, or as an adjustable-height executive chair with five-star base and casters.

All Saiba chairs feature a tilt mechanism to accommodate natural movement while seated.

New York designer Todd Bracher created the Distil product for Herman Miller. It is a streamlined desk or table that can be used in the home or office. Distil has solid wood legs, “eased” edges and a molded plywood top.

The company describes the product as “approachable, physically and aesthetically.”

“I study very carefully how people interact with objects, and I try to capture what’s meaningful in that exchange,” Bracher said of his design process.

In working on the design for Distil, Bracher studied a cardboard box.

Bracher asked, “Why does the edge have to be sharp?” which led to folded edges that are easy on the arms. He asked, “How can we make it beautiful and strong?” which led to using molded plywood. And he asked, “Where would a carpenter hide the wires?” which led to cutouts in the cross-stretchers.

“Constraints drove creativity,” Herman Miller explains in its information about the product’s design.

The table can be purchased with or without storage.

“Without storage, Distil is an elegant table. With it, in vertical or horizontal orientation, Distil is a desk,” the product’s description reads. “Cleverly designed to keep devices and chargers close at hand but out of sight, Distil’s laminate- lined storage units mount on the left or the right.”

A removable internal drawer can double as a desktop “inbox”; a velvet bottom ensures items won’t mar the interior.

At NeoCon, Herman Miller also will introduce Exclave, the Metaform portfolio, Parsons Occasional Tables and Renew Link.

Exclave was created in partnership with Gianfranco Zaccai, cofounder of design firm Continuum, a global innovation and design consultancy.

Exclave is Herman Miller’s answer to all those unused conference rooms scattered throughout office buildings. Through work with numerous global customers, the company said it found that conference spaces are often avoided because the surroundings, furnishings and tools are at odds with people and their work.

It incorporates a suite of performance products for team spaces that are designed to remove obstacles. Its rail-based wall system fosters idea creation with whiteboards, tackboards and a media support for dual monitors and video conferencing.

The unique Exclave table shapes, with two heights and various sizes, allow people to see technology content and each other clearly, improving team engagement.

Rounding out the Exclave product line, mobile easels delineate open space, and storage elements and accessories house personal items and essential tools.

Adaptability is at the heart of the Metaform portfolio, which was designed for Herman Miller by Berlin-based Studio 7.5.

The product is a series of lightweight and intuitive modular blocks that can be easily configured and reconfigured — in the moment — by the people using them. The blocks fit together, come apart and rearrange to create customizable settings.

“In the new landscape of work, people expect everything they encounter in their workday to be as flexible and intuitive as their personal technology devices,” the product’s description reads.

Another customizable product, Parsons Occasional Tables, presents a variety of side tables with many configuration options for optimal use in different spaces.

Herman Miller says Renew Link is “building on the success of its Renew Sit-to-Stand Tables.” The tables were introduced at last year’s NeoCon.

Renew Link is meant for high-density workspaces, with the goal of balancing employee needs with company needs. Height adjustability provides workers with choice, while maintaining efficiency and scalability.

Features include unobstructed access to technology, intuitive controls and integrated cable management. A centrally located trough routes power and data for multiple work surfaces to create an adaptable and highly effective system.

The company is also reissuing a product it first launched in 1974: Chadwick Modular Seating by California designer Don Chadwick.

Chadwick Modular Seating remains one of the most versatile and enduring lounge furniture options available, according to Herman Miller.

The reissued product differs in its seat height and its ability to carry power.

Five simple units allow the system to take on a multitude of forms — from an individual seat, to several modules forming a small sofa, or multiple pieces that create a large-scale seating solution for a public space or hotel lobby.

Arrangement options are endless: long straight lines to fill a hallway; circles around obstacles to transform otherwise unused space; snaking structures that add character along with utility.

Each layout is also easy to change. Units link together securely with simple connectors but can be unlocked for quick rearrangement.

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