On June 2, 2016 Herman Miller and Creative Office Pavilion hosted the 2016 Herman Miller Design Challenge. Architecture and Design firms from across Boston, Cambridge, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire were invited to participate in the third year of the challenge. The task was to use an Eames molded plastic side chair with a wire base to express the inspiration of a designer, similar to the creators of the Eames chair, Charles and Ray Eames.
Harriman’s concept for the design was Reflection.
Good design is a reflection of the environment from which it is derived. People, places, histories and aspirations…all combine within the designer to result in a singular gesture. Though the influential elements may at first glance be fragmented and disparate, it is with the design process that the ideas become one.
To communicate Reflection, Harriman designed the Eames chair with tile mirror pieces lining the entire backside and bottom of the chair. The chair had no ornamentation on the front and was placed on a mirror so that the viewer at first glance saw an unadorned chair. However, looking down on the chair the viewer is treated with the reflection of the dazzling backside while light fragments play off the chair and into the room. This design secured Harriman a well-deserved second place out of the fourteen participants.
The event took place at Creative Office Pavilion where all the participating teams presented their designs to guests and four judges. The Harriman Portland office had a wonderful night filled with creativity, inspiration, and a second place victory.
Charles and Ray Eames were a dynamic-duo, husband-and-wife design team, and designers for Herman Miller who created the world-renowned Eames lounge chair and molded plywood chairs in the late 1940s. Charles and Ray looked at design through a unique lens and were always creating with the need of others in mind.
Charles Eames himself once said, “Here is more than a prediction – but a sincere hope that tomorrow’s design will see less and less of the designer himself reflected in it.” Harriman used this very inspiration to come up with their concept for the Herman Miller Design Challenge.