Monday, June 08, 2009

Herman Miller Introduces Intent Furniture

Simple, Affordable Choices that Extend from Private Office to Workstations in the Open Plan

With the introduction of Intent furniture, Herman Miller offers a new furniture solution that extends from the private office to systems workstations in the open plan. Intent furniture has a crisp, clean appearance and was designed to integrate physically and aesthetically with Vivo interiors. As a result, you can achieve a unified aesthetic from private offices to systems workstations in the open plan.

"Intent furniture lets designers connect the look and function of the private office to other spaces in a building," explains John Lubbinge, Director of Product Management. "It blends well with Vivo interiors and our other systems furniture. And, just as important, Intent furniture does this while delivering performance at a price that's right in any economic climate."

Intent furniture's concise set of parts combines in many ways to make it easy to match furniture layouts to the way people work. Intent can be configured into everything from a basic single- or double-pedestal desk to a full casegoods solution with desks, returns, credenzas, and storage. A variety of material choices as well as multiple leg options add other ways to change appearance and cost. Advances in design and production make Intent very affordable.

"We wanted Intent furniture to be easy to own, install, and use," says Lubbinge. "So we worked with industrial designer Joey Ruiter to limit the set of parts to those that can be combined in the greatest number of ways. We married that with a wide selection of materials to give another layer of versatility to the line."

The need to give Intent furniture a unifying ability at an affordable price presented obvious constraints. But Ruiter, founder and principal designer of JRuiter + Studio in Grand Rapids, MI, thrives on constraints. "Without them you can't be creative," he says. "That's the reality of design. I take complex problems and make the solution
as simple as possible. And I like the people to stand out more than the furniture."

In designing Intent furniture, Ruiter made sure it integrates physically, functionally, and aesthetically with Vivo interiors—and other systems, too. For example, work surface shapes and dimensions correlate, so surfaces can be used to make a desk or hung from a Vivo wall. The About Face work surface is also part of Intent furniture. This orientation lets people face outward as they work. It gives them better privacy and more awareness of teammates and the surrounding environment.

Intent furniture addresses new demands, as well. Ruiter applied his experience in tooling to design a way to manufacture Intent furniture's clean, simple legs with minimal investment—while still offering a variety of styles and sizes.

Intent furniture also introduces some new concepts in versatile storage. In addition to mounting on walls or panels, storage elements can reside on a low, footed deck. A single track accepts a variety of bookcases, cabinets, and cubes. These pieces can be located anywhere along the track and secured in place, and be moved or added to easily. The feet on the deck give storage elements a lighter appearance and a subtle residential reference.

Intent furniture's overhead storage adds more residential appeal. Ruiter designed primary doors that don't require pulls, giving them a crisp, clean aesthetic. Secondary doors on overheads can be easily switched out using different colors or materials, providing a quick and inexpensive way to refresh the look of a space with new accent colors.

Intent furniture meets Herman Miller's Design for the Environment (DfE) protocol. This ensures that it is made of safe materials and recycled content, and recycles easily at the end of its useful life. It contains 35 percent recycled content, both post-industrial and post-consumer. Wood content in work surface substrates is composed of more than 90 percent reclaimed wood, and all veneers used are purchased from suppliers practicing sustainable forestry techniques. Intent furniture may contribute to LEED credits, and it carries a full 12-year, 3-shift warranty.

Intent furniture will be introduced in Herman Miller's third floor showroom during the NeoCon World's Trade Fair at Chicago's Merchandise Mart, June 15-17, 2009.

About Herman Miller
Herman Miller works for a better world around you—with inventive designs, technologies, and related services that improve the human experience wherever people work, heal, learn, and live. Its curiosity, ingenuity, and design excellence create award-winning products and services, resulting in more than $2 billion in revenue in fiscal 2008. Innovative business practices and a commitment to social responsibility have also established Herman Miller as a recognized global company. In 2009, Herman Miller was again cited by FORTUNE as both the "Most Admired" in its industry and among the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America, while Fast Company named Herman Miller among the innovative "Companies to Watch." Herman Miller trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol MLHR.

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