Birsel + Seck for Herman Miller: Teneo


The classic filing cabinet has the admirable function of safely storing documents, but leaves something to be desired when it comes to form. (Think square, metal, heavy and bulky.) Addressing the problem, Herman Miller wisely brought in designers Birsel + Seck to conceive their Teneo line. The storage system recently received the Best of Competition award at Neocon for Best of Filing and Storage, beating out 400 other entrants.


To achieve a new approach, the New York-based designers deconstructed the office space by analyzing the box. They developed a metaphor between the box and the human body. The box should have a skeleton, organs and skin, they asserted. Soft edges were essential, which they achieved using aluminum bent in four sections that are removable, lightweight pieces.


The eye-catching aspect of Teneo comes alive in bright hues and tactile surfaces. Design choices include vivid color contrasts, muted hues and modern metals. Metallic finish, sand texture and wood veneer options make office furniture selection akin to the interior design of a new luxury car. Each design is customizable to a business' needs, resulting in everything from a wall of furniture to simple storage system for the sole proprietor. Customers choose from variations on the equipment cabinet, open tower, credenza island and a pedestal with casters.


Recycling was a key mandate from Herman Miller. Teneo is 86-99% recyclable, because each piece can be separated and no glues or other adhesives are used. The warranty on the product is 12 years, a reasonable shelf life for office furniture.