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Building success and shaping an icon

Join us for a Herman Miller series that looks at how architects and designers use their most iconic designs to create beautiful and functional office spaces

In an industry driven by the temporal, longevity can be elusive. While many strive to create designs that will be specified and appreciated for years to come, creating a classic that spans trends, evolutions and generations is a far more complex undertaking.

Herman Miller has been creating legacy products since 1923, with its range of human-centred designs having been specified in workplaces ever since. This video series looks at the stories behind the specifications, capturing Australian designers at work to understand how these functionally- and aesthetically-superior products work for them.

Melbourne-based Chamberlain Architects & Interiors have been operating for over 20 years, making a name for themselves with a design ethos that is playfully curious and deeply intuitive. Their founder, Glen Chamberlain, begun the practice as a solo endeavor, hoping to produce work that would stand the test of time. It is only appropriate then, that when he hired his first staff member, Ella Leoncio (now Principal of the practice) in 2004, Glen’s growing office space needed furnishings that would match his ambitions for his company.

Enter Herman Miller, who first featured in the offices of Chamberlain Architects & Interiors via some second hand Equa chairs. Over time the team has collected more and more Herman Miller chairs, most notably a range of Mirra 2’s, which line the desks of the firm’s newly opened Fitzroy studio.

“When I think of the Herman Miller brand I think of really iconic design that has a lot of longevity,” says Leonicio. “I think of a brand that is also really practical and thinks about what it’s like to sit in a chair all day. Herman Miller really research how to support the most comfortable seating position.”

From the Equa – the first chair ever to flex in response to size, weight, shape and movement – to the Mirra 2 – a high-performance chair that supports people who work in a constant state of motion – the Herman Miller range has supported the Chamberlain studio over its years in the design space, with seating that is as thoughtful and considered as the designers using them. 

“The Mirra 2 is a really comfortable and supportive chair. We discovered that over lockdown, when we all went home and had to sit on not-so-supportive chairs, that’s when we really realised these chairs have silently supported our daily lives for a long time,” reflects Leoncio, “they’ve become really important to our way of working.”

More often than not, icons are made from quiet achievers, from people and companies who are dedicated to their craft and committed to the pursuit of perpetual improvement. For Chamberlain Architects & Interiors and Herman Miller, their legacy is in their continued relevance, for the way their designs “silently support” people’s daily lives, whether they are houses to live in or chairs to sit in.


Herman Miller

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