Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller Posted August 21, 2009 by Daniel Ostroff
Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller
The traveling design exhibition, “Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller,” has begun its 15-city tour. Premiering at the Muskegon Museum of Art, the exhibit will visit cities across the United States over the next two years.
You can download a biography of the exhibition curator John R. Berry here:
Here are some upcoming dates and locations:
Goldstein Museum of Design St. Paul, MN, November 23, 2009 – January 17, 2010
You can download the Goldstein Museum of Design’s newsletter about this show here:
Henry Ford Museum Dearborn, MI, February 6, 2010 – April 24, 2010
Everson Museum of Art Syracuse, NY, August 15, 2010 – October 17, 2010
San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts San Angelo, TX, November 7, 2010 – January 2, 2011
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum Wausau, WI, January 29, 2011 – April 3, 2011
Hunter Museum of American Art Chattanooga, TN, January 2, 2012 – February 26, 2012
San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design San Francisco, CA, June 17, 2012 – August 12, 2012
“Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller” explores the collaborative problem-solving design process employed at Herman Miller.
Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller
August 21 – November 8, 2009
Top to bottom:
2000 Marshmallow Sofa, Herman Miller for the Home/Nelson Office
2003 Posture Fit Pellicle Tuxedo Aeron Chair by Bill Stumpf/Don Chadwick
The Muskegon Museum of Art announces its creation of the traveling design exhibition
Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller. The exhibition opens in Muskegon on August 20, 2009, and will subsequently tour as many as 15 American cities into 2013. The exhibition explores the collaborative problem-solving design process employed at the world-renowned and West Michigan-based furniture company, Herman Miller, Inc. The interpretive exhibition is organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art (MMA) in collaboration with The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan, drawing upon that institution’s Herman Miller Design Collection – a comprehensive archive of the company’s innovative processes and products.
MMA Executive Director Judith A. Hayner’s long-standing interest in modern design sparked a dream of showcasing original designed artifacts along with their drawings and prototypes. This exhibition is the fruition of her goal. “With Herman Miller operating in our back yard, it is important for the Museum to hold up and examine the process of design as its been practiced in West Michigan for nearly eight decades. We decided to focus on case studies that explore design problems and solutions created by some of the talented artists who have created masterpieces of modern design for the company, and continue to do so today.”
Commenting on the idea behind the exhibition, Mr. 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’s 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 displays will be arranged to present viewers with four case studies—“stories”—chosen to embody four different active characteristics of “good design,” as a result of 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
Mr. Berry explained the organization of the exhibition: “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 Propst, Steve Frykholm, Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick, and others.
Good Design: Stories from Herman Miller has been organized for national tour by the Muskegon Museum of Art, Michigan, which was founded in 1912 as a division of the Muskegon Public Schools. The Museum is renowned for its fine permanent collections of American and European Art, including works by Curry, Hopper, Homer, Chase, Whistler, Van Cleve, Cranach, Pissarro, Rodin, Sisley, and Bonnard. It uses these resources to present exhibitions and public programs designed to foster life-long study and appreciation of the visual arts.
The exhibition has been created in collaboration with The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, through the generous support of Herman Miller, Inc. The exhibition is 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.