Citation

What Grows in the Greenhouse? Herman Miller and Design for the Environment, 1942-2017

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Abstract:

"Eighty percent of a product's environmental impact is determined in the design phase."

This oft-quoted statistic promoted by the European Commission's EcoDesign initiative in the 1990s, is used to underscore the importance of sustainable design strategies in the production of furniture, clothing, packaging, and a variety of other mass-produced products. In the twenty-first century, it has inspired life-cycle assessments, upcycling, and the expansion of cradle-to-cradle (C2C) certification for thousands of products worldwide. Advocates of sustainable design, notably the architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart, argue for technical solutions to environmental problems, reflecting Braun designer Dieter Rams's 1976 statement that design that does not take into account the “increasing and irreversible shortage of natural resources” is “thoughtless design,” and environmental factors shape his widely quoted ten principles of good design.

If sustainable design is a popular concept in the twenty-first century, it has a history that allows us to evaluate the claims and actual effects of these strategies. This paper seeks to explore the history of sustainable design since World War II through the work of the Herman Miller company. Herman Miller has a reputation for producing sustainably designed furniture in its William McDonough-designed Greenhouse facility in Zeeland, Michigan. Its present activities build on decades of claims about the relationship between design and the environment. I will evaluate Herman Miller’s history of environmental design strategies since the beginning of World War II, investigating the intended and unintended consequences of industrial design strategies on supply chains, resource extraction, waste streams, and consumption habits.
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Name: ASEH Annual Conference
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http://aseh.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1170776_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Zimring, Carl. "What Grows in the Greenhouse? Herman Miller and Design for the Environment, 1942-2017" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1170776_index.html>

APA Citation:

Zimring, C. A. "What Grows in the Greenhouse? Herman Miller and Design for the Environment, 1942-2017" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1170776_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: "Eighty percent of a product's environmental impact is determined in the design phase."

This oft-quoted statistic promoted by the European Commission's EcoDesign initiative in the 1990s, is used to underscore the importance of sustainable design strategies in the production of furniture, clothing, packaging, and a variety of other mass-produced products. In the twenty-first century, it has inspired life-cycle assessments, upcycling, and the expansion of cradle-to-cradle (C2C) certification for thousands of products worldwide. Advocates of sustainable design, notably the architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart, argue for technical solutions to environmental problems, reflecting Braun designer Dieter Rams's 1976 statement that design that does not take into account the “increasing and irreversible shortage of natural resources” is “thoughtless design,” and environmental factors shape his widely quoted ten principles of good design.

If sustainable design is a popular concept in the twenty-first century, it has a history that allows us to evaluate the claims and actual effects of these strategies. This paper seeks to explore the history of sustainable design since World War II through the work of the Herman Miller company. Herman Miller has a reputation for producing sustainably designed furniture in its William McDonough-designed Greenhouse facility in Zeeland, Michigan. Its present activities build on decades of claims about the relationship between design and the environment. I will evaluate Herman Miller’s history of environmental design strategies since the beginning of World War II, investigating the intended and unintended consequences of industrial design strategies on supply chains, resource extraction, waste streams, and consumption habits.


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