Florida State University Interior Design students recently completed a research and design project in collaboration with Herman Miller, Inc., a major leader in office, education, and healthcare design. Students conducted a three-week study of Strozier library’s first floor, presented research to Herman Miller representatives, and then spent five more weeks proposing a new design for the space.
During the research phase, students spent fifteen hours observing library use patterns with special attention to the spaces chosen for collaborative work versus spaces chosen for solitary work. Students also took note of the materials and equipment students bring with them to support their work and how the space accommodates those items.
Final presentation were made to Herman Miller executives, with awards for research going to Jamie Klein, Marissa Lambert, and Amy Schuster and awards for design going to Gabe L’Heureux, Sarah Rhodes, and Sarah Wallstedt. The department thanks Herman Miller lead researcher Susan Whitmer for her support on this project. Professors for the classes included Amy Huber, Lisa Waxman, and Yelena McLane.
Herman Miller is notable as one of the first companies to produce modern furniture and is likely the most prolific and influential producer of furniture of the modernist style. The architecture and design community has become increasingly aware that there is a niche market for learning space design. In addition, research also indicates that there is potential for cross-pollination between the work modes of students on a university campus and employees within a corporate campus. In other words, what can be learned from students on campuses, can be often transferred to the corporate office environment and this knowledge can aid workplace designers as they prepare for a new generation in the workplace.