For those of us who are thinking about the complex relationship between art and design....
Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller
November 21, 2009 — January 17, 2010
The Goldstein Museum of Design (GMD) will be the first venue on the national tour of Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller, exploring the collaborative problem-solving design process employed at the world-renowned furniture company, Herman Miller, Inc. Organized and toured by the Muskegon Museum of Art, the exhibition drew from the vast Herman Miller Design Collection, a comprehensive archive of the company’s innovative processes and products held by The Henry Ford Dearborn, Michigan THF’s. This extraordinary partnership revealed the fascinating story of Herman Miller’s success through historical documents, most of which have never before been on public view.
The exhibition is based on Herman Miller: The Purpose of Design by design scholar John R. Berry, first published by Rizzoli International in 2004 and reissued to coincide with the exhibition’s national tour. Berry also served as the exhibition’s guest curator. Berry observed, “Many people are confused by the difference between art and design. Design is a noun, a verb, and a problem-solving process. It is art with a purpose. Good design requires a clear understanding of the particular need, conditions, constraints, and opportunities. Good design does not happen in a vacuum.”
“At Herman Miller, design is the means and the end,” said Berry. “It is the starting point and the destination. Since 1931, not long after its founding, Herman Miller had embraced design as a way to improve people’s lives, and through that goal, they created new industries and some of the most iconic objects of the last century. Charles and Ray Eames’ molded plywood Lounge Chair, George Nelson’s Marshmallow Sofa, and Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick’s Aeron Chair which populates so many offices today, are all products of Herman Miller, Inc.”
The exhibition will present viewers four case studies that embody active characteristics of good design revealing the problem solving ethos of Herman Miller, Inc:
Case Study #1: Ergonomics (Seating) Good Design Explores
Case Study #2: White Collar Work (Action Office) Good Design Inquires
Case Study #3: Graphic Communications Good Design Engages
Case Study #4: Mid-Century Classics Good Design Endures
Berry explained the exhibition’s organization: “Each object grouping started with identifying a need—to furnish a new type of living space, for healthier seating, to effectively communicate a message, or to support new kinds of work.” The exhibition uses drawings, models, prototypes, photographs, oral histories, and original designed objects to showcase the creation and evolution of many masterpieces of 20th and 21st century design by such artists as Gilbert Rohde, Ray & Charles Eames, George Nelson, Alexander Girard, Robert Probst, Steve Frykholm, Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick, and others.
Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller was organized for national tour by the Muskegon Museum of Art, Michigan, founded in 1912 as a division of the Muskegon Public Schools. The exhibition was created in collaboration with The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, through the generous support of Herman Miller, Inc. The exhibition was curated by John Berry, Holland; coordinated by Timothy Chester, Grand Rapids; designed by Judy Hillman and Barb Loveland, Hillman Associates, Saugatuck; and fabricated by Vincent Faust, Kalamazoo.
December 3rd, 6:30- 8:30pm Panel discussion; Good Design Stories; 32 McNeal Hall
Join College of Design Dean Tom Fisher and three top design theorists/practitioners as they discuss questions related to design process and the ability of design to address the social problems of today’s consumers. Panelists:
-John Berry, author and exhibition curator
-Jeff Scherer, principal of Myer, Scherer, and Rockcastle Ltd. , designer of the Herman Miller Design Yard and Front Door
-Jeff Weber, principal of Studio Weber + Associates, designer of the Embody Chair.
Organized by the Friends of GMD
For more information please visit: The Goldstein Museum of Design