Q &A with Adam Call,

Vice Pres­i­dent of Her­man Miller Col­lec­tion

Atomic Ranch - - Atomickitchens -

Why do the pieces pro­duced by Her­man Miller en­dure?

I be­lieve they en­dure be­cause they are truly orig­i­nal de­signs, not de­rived from mar­ket trends. Her­man Miller’s early de­sign­ers, like Charles and Ray Eames, Ge­orge Nel­son, and many oth­ers, fo­cused their de­signs on solv­ing ev­ery­day prob­lems they ob­served in homes and of­fices.

This re­sulted in sleek and so­phis­ti­cated prod­ucts that were both play­ful and func­tional. When you fo­cus on solv­ing the prob­lem not fit­ting into a trend, the de­sign should stand the test of time be­cause fun­da­men­tal hu­man needs don’t re­ally change that quickly.

What do these iconic pieces say about the mid­cen­tury?

These pieces speak to the over­all op­ti­mism of the time. There was a sense that new pro­cesses, ma­te­ri­als, and op­por­tu­ni­ties were pos­si­ble, and many de­sign­ers re­sponded to these in­no­va­tions with de­signs that took advantage of that spirit.

Dur­ing this time, there was a big em­pha­sis on buy­ing prod­ucts that would dis­tinctly dif­fer­en­ti­ate peo­ple from the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion. Peo­ple sought mod­ern prod­ucts that could be pur­chased at a fair price, and live within the fam­ily for gen­er­a­tions. As a cul­ture, we tran­si­tioned from that men­tal­ity to more “dis­pos­able goods” in the late 60s and 70s. It’s ex­cit­ing to see that in re­cent years peo­ple are again car­ing more and more about sus­tain­able con­sump­tion and buy­ing qual­ity goods that can be cher­ished for gen­er­a­tions—not sent to a land­fill.

What drew you to work with Her­man Miller?

It sounds hokey, but I re­ally feel like great fur­ni­ture can im­prove the way peo­ple work and live in their daily lives. When I was look­ing around early in my ca­reer it felt like Her­man Miller was still will­ing to take risks to in­tro­duce truly break­through de­signs, and I have en­joyed be­ing a very small part of all the work we’ve done over the last 15 years.

What is your fa­vorite piece?

The piece that has been with me the long­est (through many moves and dif­fer­ent apart­ments) is an Eames Alu­minum Group Lounge chair. It is com­fort­able, very light weight, durable, and has a beau­ti­ful sil­hou­ette that I just never get sick of look­ing at and us­ing daily.

ALEXAN­DER GIRARD, 1961

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