Why Design? Herman Miller Calls on the Industry’s Brain Trust For Answers

“I have never met a designer who was retained to keep things the same as they were.” – George Nelson

Herman Miller, manufacturer of some of America’s most iconic pieces of modernist furniture (think the Equa Chair, Aeron chair, Noguchi table, Marshmallow sofa and- all hailthe Eames Lounger) has a new video series posing the simplest of questions: why?

It’s the sort of question that trips up many a creative type, more preoccupied with the what’s and how’s as opposed to actual why’s of doing what they do. But as design is a discipline charged with finding solutions to the everyday conundrums of living, it is a question of some import.

Why design? It’s more than a matter of why not? It’s a question designers must ask themselves at every turn – before birthing a new chair into the world, manufacturing an additional iGadget, and especially prior to producing more waste for the planet in the quest of gaining consumer dollars.

Now, more than ever, it’s a mighty big question mark blinking in the faces of mainstream suppliers and indie creators alike. As Forbes noted in an article earlier this year, titled Welcome to the Era of Design (the appreciation of newer and better design is, indeed, more than a fleeting consumer trend):

Expecting great design is no longer the preserve of a picky design-obsessed urban elite—that aesthetically sensitive clique who’d never dare leave the house without their Philippe Starck eyewear and turtleneck sweaters and buy only the right kind of Scandinavian furniture. Instead, there’s a new, mass expectation of good design.

In other words, it has become democratized. And every democracy worth its grain actively and demonstrably engages in the dialogue of why. Hats off to Herman Miller for taking it to the industry’s brain trust in their new series Why Design.

Every Monday morning from now until October 29th, designers including Don Chadwick, Ayse Birsel, Irving Harper, Gianfranco Zaccai and more will share their perspectives.

Here one take from Yves Béhar of Fuse Project. For more, pop by the storefront of Herman Miller.

K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in southern Spain, reporting on trends in art, design, sustainable living and lifestyle.