Thursday, December 18, 2008

Herman Miller Announces The Embody Chair

Herman Miller, Inc., the global office furniture manufacturer that has continuously set new standards for seating comfort, ergonomics, and performance, introduces the next groundbreaking innovation in work chairs: the Embody chair, designed by internationally renowned designers Jeff Weber and the late Bill Stumpf.

"Our drive at Herman Miller to make the human experience better has yielded many innovations," says Don Goeman, Herman Miller's Executive Vice President--Research, Design and Development. "Over the last 30 years, each of our seating products has built the foundation of research and knowledge for the next. Embody once again reinvents the reference for ergonomics by providing a chair designed to actually enhance your health."

Embody recognizes that almost all knowledge-based, creative work processes have become tethered to the electronic realm. We are bound to our computers for longer periods of time throughout the day. This has contributed to more unhealthy working conditions, because prolonged sitting is bad for you. Chairs hinder movement, yet movement is critical to physical health and mental performance. Extended sitting also stresses tissues and muscles, pressures the spine, and restricts blood flow. The results are physical and mental fatigue, discomfort, distraction, and even costly injury.

"The sitter side of the computer-and-sitter interface has never been adequately addressed," Weber says. "In fact, accommodating technology at the expense of people has become the priority in creating work environments."

These are serious issues in today's idea economy, where people are paid to produce ideas, and companies are seeking tools that help people perform at their best.

Stumpf and Weber decided to solve the problem. Stumpf, designer or co-designer of Herman Miller's Aeron, Ergon, and Equa work chairs, came to Herman Miller in 2002 and said, "I think I have one more in me." Bill Stumpf passed away in 2006, but his partner Jeff Weber, principal of Studio Weber + Associates (formerly Stumpf, Weber + Associates), carried on, giving the chair its final function and form.

Working closely with a cross-functional team from Herman Miller, and in consultation with leading figures in academia, healthcare, and ergonomics, Weber and Stumpf invented a chair that restores balance to the human/computer relationship by supporting both your mind and your body.

Embody Chair back view

"Embody is a health-positive seating experience," says Weber, "because it enhances both your intake of oxygen and the cellular exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, improving your health, and ultimately fueling your brain." A set of important innovations makes this possible.

Instinctive back: Inspired by the human spine, Embody's back adapts to your unique spinal curvature. It lets you move freely and naturally to improve blood flow and eliminate discomfort and distraction. The back is narrow, allowing your arms to move back and forth naturally. This opens up the chest cavity, letting your lungs take in more air and send more oxygen to the brain.

Pixelated seat: When you move, the seat moves with you. Using a matrix of pixels, the seat's unique, three layered construction of materials and technology conforms to micro-movements and distributes weight evenly.

Zoned Support: The chair removes stresses on your body at every contact point, accommodating a diverse population. Reduced pressure improves circulation and facilitates the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide within cells. You stay mentally fresh and comfortable.

Working Recline: Embody's unique tilt mechanism encourages working recline, the most healthful working position. The chair automatically stabilizes your pelvis in the seat pocket in every position and supports your thoracic back while correctly aligning your eyes with the computer screen. With no uncomfortable and distracting physical constraints on the body, the mind is freed to focus on ideas and the tasks at hand.

Inclusive Sizing: Embody accommodates nearly everyone's abilities, dimensions, and preferences within one chair size. The seat surface length can expand or contract to reduce pressure on the thighs without disrupting the user's fully-engaged position in the seat pocket. The seat width accommodates the greatest population of hip-breadth dimension. The chair's arms adjust in height and width to support a full range of work activities and postures.
Embody's form is defined by these health-positive features. The technology of the chair is not hidden. Instead, it's a purposeful part of the aesthetic, giving the chair its intriguing look--a "visual feast," said Stumpf.

Like all Herman Miller products, Embody's design is based in extensive research, including studies of biomechanics, seating behaviors and postures, anthropometric data, metabolic measures, and tissue perfusion (the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in body tissue).

Research also confirms Embody's health-positive advantage. For example, research shows that Embody does better than any chair at maintaining oxygen levels in tissue, allowing people to stay focused and engaged. Research also demonstrates that the Embody backrest provides greater support to users' backs compared to other chairs.

Embody supports Herman Miller's commitment to the environment as well, helping Herman Miller reach its environmental sustainability goals of zero landfill, zero hazardous waste generation, and zero VOC emissions by 2020. Embody is MBDC Silver certified and GREENGUARD certified. It has 42 percent recycled content, is 95 percent recyclable, and is PVC-free.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Herman Miller wins top NeoCon award

Herman Miller Inc. took home the top award Monday at NeoCon for its new storage and filing system.

Herman Miller's Teneo system won Best of Competition at NeoCon, which began Monday at the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago. NeoCon, an annual display of new product innovations for the contract office furniture industry, runs through Wednesday.

Teneo, which also won a Gold award in its category, is designed to have a more open, fresh look and for flexibility, making it a system that's usable in a variety of settings -- from an individual office to an open environment and even in the home.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Herman Miller's Space Utilization Service Eliminates the Guesswork in Assessing and Maximizing Facility Performance

Herman Miller, Inc. has created a new method for measuring and analyzing the performance of working interiors with its Space Utilization Service, a patent-pending, wireless technology developed to accurately audit the needs of individual, group, and community spaces. The company will display the system at its National Design Center in Chicago during the NeoCon World's Trade Fair, June 9-11, 2008.

herman miller space toolReal estate is the second largest area of expense for most businesses. And as space occupancy costs continue to increase, facility managers are seeking methods to lower these expenses through improved workplace productivity and overall real estate reductions. But reliable, actionable information has been notoriously difficult to gather.

"Companies traditionally have relied on manual audits, security badge data, PC keystrokes, or phone monitoring to determine workplace occupancy, which are often incomplete or unreliable methods" says Len Pilon, director of Workplace Strategy and Facilities at Herman Miller. "Our goals for the Space Utilization Service include working with facility managers to optimize their real estate through the design of spaces that are appropriate in scale, location, and accessibility. Ultimately we can help improve employee productivity and also establish a baseline for future studies."

Developed internally by Herman Miller, the Space Utilization Service data collection hardware includes remote sensors (or "motes") and receivers that fit seamlessly into the building environment. The motes temporarily and inconspicuously attach to chairs or the underside of work surfaces and continuously capture movement data, uploading to the receivers every 10 minutes, 24-hours a day. Receivers then forward movement data to a Herman Miller database. Herman Miller then works with its customers to interpret the information and develop cost effective strategies that may help them shed unnecessary real estate, better utilize space, lower operating costs, and reduce environmental impact.

The new technology and service is already a proven winner. In an early pilot application at Hewlett Packard, the service demonstrated a dramatic difference in the quality and reliability of data when compared with traditional manual surveys of occupancy. Chris Hood, Program Manager, The HP Workplace, noted that, "HP received compelling data that highlighted the inaccuracy of 'bed checks.' The Space Utilization Service replaced inaccurate management perceptions of office use with facts to drive informed decisions." At the Corporate Real Estate Executive Network (CoreNet) summit in May 2008, using the HP experience as an illustration of its efficacy, the Space Utilization Service received the Industry Excellence Award. The inaugural award highlights corporate real estate industry performance and innovation. It also qualifies the company for the distinguished H. Bruce Russell Global Innovator's Award, which will be announced at the CoreNet Global North American Fall Summit in November.

Kris Manos, Herman Miller's vice president of North American Office and Learning Environments, notes the Space Utilization Service is a result of the company's dedication to problem-solving design. "Herman Miller's commitment to creating best-in-class solutions for its customers begins with exploring their needs, which may include better utilization of real estate. The Space Utilization Service will enable our customers to create customized environments that benefit employees and the bottom line."

Space Utilization Service studies are led by the Herman Miller Workplace Services team and typically last three weeks. Study costs are comparable to traditional data collection methods and calculated according to the size and scope of a project.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Introducing Teneo Storage Furniture by Herman Miller

Herman Miller recently launched two new filing and storage lines as part of its holistic approach toward this market category.

Teneo™ storage furniture represents a new paradigm in storage, providing a broad selection of adaptable products ideal for group space, as well as individual and community spaces. Designed by Ayse Birsel and Bibi Seck, the collection features islands, carts, presentation units, shelf units, cabinets, surfaces, and within-the-workstation choices. A wide range of Materials choices--colors, veneers, unique cladding options, and customizable finishes--is available.

Tu™ filing and storage replaces today’s Quadrant® filing and storage line. Enhancements include storages cases, overfiles, bookcases and a side-facing bookcase configuration on the storage tower. Two new pull styles are being introduced: a full-width integral pull (W-pull), which matches the Meridian® standard pull in its appearance; and an anodized aluminum Teneo compatible pull (T-pull), which allows compatibility within a building.

Contact a bfi representative for more information.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Herman Miller's Creative Network

Herman Miller CEO Brian Walker talks about tapping the furniture company's creative network for insights and breakthrough ideas. Read this very insightful article on

You Are Only As Green As Your Supply Chain

HBR Green

Years ago Herman Miller decided to become an advocate for the environment, both because we believed it was the right thing to do and because we saw the potential for a clear business benefit. Ever since, we've been refining our processes to put our aspirations into practice.

Our Perfect Vision campaign, launched in 2003, includes green goals such as no landfill waste, no hazardous waste, no air or water emissions from manufacturing, and the use of 100% green energy, all by the year 2020. These are stringent targets our company cannot reach without engaging over 200 materials and components suppliers in the ongoing task of greening our global supply chain.

As we've examined every aspect of our worldwide supply chain, we've learned one key lesson: A business, and the products it sells, can only be environmentally sustainable through a holistic approach to design, raw materials, production methods, packaging, shipping, recycling, and even marketing--across the entire value chain. It's far too large and complex a undertaking for any organization to go it alone and be truly effective. You know the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." Well, it takes an entire supply chain to green a company.

Here are three things we recommend to companies working with their suppliers on the long-term goal of going green.

1. Design your products with sustainability as a core principal. At Herman Miller, we have a problem-solving, design-driven culture, so we spend a lot of time thinking about how to create our products. HBRGreen_topic2_image2.jpgIn 2001, when we were creating our Mirra chair, we had been working with architect Bill McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart, both leading-edge environmentalist thinkers, toward their vision of a "cradle-to-cradle" design that embraces sustainable materials in a closed-loop life cycle. As a result, we eliminated the use of a chemical called polyvinyl chloride in that chair. Now, PVC has advantages, including the fact that it is inexpensive and durable. However, PVC releases toxins during manufacturing and when it is burned. We decided not to use it and implemented that decision with the help of our suppliers. We embedded those cradle-to-cradle principals in our product development process for all new designs, beginning with Mirra.

2. Refine your goals and put them to paper. We aim to be fully sustainable by 2020, but we're holding ourselves accountable to interim goals along the way. For example, by 2010, 50% of our sales will come from products that conform to our own rigorous Design for the Environment standards, and we aim to reduce our environmental footprint by 80%. Achieving these goals requires paying attention not only to materials, including their chemical ingredients, but also to our sources of energy, to our manufacturing processes, and to our packaging. We don't want to reduce our impact in one area while ignoring it in another. Nor do we want to move our environmental impact upstream into our supply chain.

3. Embrace transparency and meaningful metrics. Our company, our customers, and our industry in general are moving inexorably toward more transparent reporting when it comes to the environment. And, like any other management issue, what gets measured gets managed. When it comes to our supply chain, several measures apply. We award points through our Supplier Quantification Process for formal environmental programs and active waste-reduction programs. We rate our suppliers according to how effectively they are working to help us reach our goals--from researching alternative materials to incorporating our measurable targets into their flow charts. And this is the crux of the issue: We're not only looking at our suppliers, but at our suppliers' suppliers.

We have 12 years and a long way to go before reaching our self-imposed deadline for our Perfect Vision mission. By looking--and forcing change--outside our company as well as inside, we believe we can achieve this goal. By following the three steps above, we believe other companies can reach their green goals as well.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review Launches, a Six-Part Online Discussion About Leadership and the Environment

Featured Leaders Include Herman Miller, Inc., CEO Brian Walker, Writing on the Necessity and Steps of Greening the Supply Chain

Harvard Business Review has launched, a 12-week, six-part series of online commentary and discussion that will explore best practices and new thinking in green business strategy. Contributors to the site will include Brian Walker, CEO of Herman Miller, Sir Stuart Rose, CEO of Marks & Spencer, and numerous other business and environmental thought leaders.

HBRGreen will examine how environmental issues are affecting six key business disciplines, including marketing, supply chain management, and finance. Each of the six topic discussions will lead with an essay by a green business strategy expert and include response commentary from featured contributors and from visitors to the site.

In the first discussion of the series, "Don't Bother with the Green Consumer," Steve Bishop, a global lead of Design for Sustainability of IDEO, advises marketers, "Instead of focusing on a green niche, focus on green behaviors that everyone can aspire to."

"Environmental issues aren't a fad. Climate change isn't just an emergency. Like globalization, it is a force that will shape and reshape the business landscape for decades to come," said Harvard Business Review Editor Thomas A. Stewart. "By bringing together the expertise of business leaders, HBR editors, and our community of readers, HBRGreen aims to explore new ideas and best practices so that managers are better positioned to embrace the opportunities and manage the risks of a carbon-constrained world."

On February 6, Brian Walker, CEO of Herman Miller, will lead the second conversation on "Three Steps to a Greener Supply Chain." Future lead contributors will include: Sir Stuart Rose, CEO of Marks & Spencer, Judith Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute's Business and Society Program, Andrew Hoffman, the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, Nitin Nohria, the Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Rakesh Khurana, associate professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

About Harvard Business Review
Harvard Business Review ( is the leading monthly magazine of management thought and practice, with a worldwide circulation of 246,000. The magazine has 11 international editions, including editions in China, Taiwan, and an English-language South Asian edition published in India. In 2004 and 2006, the magazine was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for General Excellence.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Herman Miller C2 Climate Control Heater/Cooler Now Available for Order

C2TM Climate Control

Effective immediately, the C2 climate control device from Herman Miller is now available for order. Contact a bfi representative today.

product description

(download .pdf product sheet.)

Be warm. Be cool. C2 climate control lets you choose. This easy-to-use device lets you control the temperature in your immediate workspace. No more arguments over the thermostat. Just plug C2 into a 110-volt outlet and choose a setting that is comfortable for you. Easy to use, easy to move, and easy to adjust. How cool.

Thermal electric technology. Proven in the automotive industry, this advanced technology allows for both heating and cooling in a single unit.

Energy-efficient design. C2 uses uses less than 1.5 amps of AC current, which is approximately 90% less energy than a typical space heater, to affect the 12- to 18-inch space between the device and the user.

Heats, cools, and filters. C2 not only heats and cools, but also cleans the air. Its air filtration system is significantly better than that of a typical home furnace. The filter is GREENGUARD certified and reusable after cleaning. It will remove air pollutants as small as five microns, such as pollen, dust, pet dander, and household airborne particles.

Safe. C2 is not a space heater. There are no exposed heating coils, chemicals, or harmful emissions. Safe to run continuously, C2 has a timer that shuts the unit off after four hours. C2’s power supply is UL approved and plugs into 110v AC.

Human-centered design. Its friendly design encourages user control: C2 is easy to use, easy to move, and easy to adjust.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Herman Miller, Inc., Tops Four Categories in Contract Magazine Survey

Herman Miller is the number one choice for computer support, ergonomic seating, furniture systems, and healthcare furniture, according to Contract magazine's readers. The company's ergonomic seating and healthcare furniture make a second consecutive appearance as top pick.

The selection is based on 1,000 interviews with 700 architects and designers who subscribe to Contract, as well as 300 facility professionals from a pre-qualified list provided by Aspen Media and Market Research.

Respondents were asked to provide the brand name of the three top manufacturers they consider when purchasing or recommending products in a number of categories. Brand name preferences were asked on an unaided basis.

According to the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association (BIFMA), seating and furniture systems represent the two largest product categories for the industry.

The 2007 Brand Report appears in the publication's December issue.

bfi (Business Furniture, Inc.) is a New Jersey authorized Herman Miller office furniture dealer, providing office furniture and other related services in the NJ/NY area. More Info »

Monday, January 07, 2008

Herman Miller's C2 Climate Control keeps it fresh at CES

Veronica Belmont from Engadget reviews the Herman Miller C2 Climate Control System at the International CES 2008 show in Las Vegas. CES is the world's largest annual Consumer Electronics Show that highlights new and upcoming electronic products.